Digger driver, builder, astronaut –children exactly know their dream job. However, growing up a lot of people find out that this dream job becomes a nightmare. But which job is the ‘right’ one? People often start their search too late, with school leavers finding the wide range of possibilities overwhelming. What about studying a course in the Sorbian languages, pop music or general knowledge (two of these courses actually exist!)? Where to even begin?
During my A-Level year, I went to an employment agency for some career advice. Rather than predicting my dream job, my adviser spent the full hour describing her zig-zag career path at the agency. The point she was trying to make was that there is no need to worry about ending up in the wrong job because there are lots of paths, rather than just one fixed destination. Cynics say that a year after you finished studying you will have forgotten everything and will have to start again from scratch at the workplace anyway.
University studies just a waste of time?
I would not put in such extreme terms, but there is no doubt that you can put your personal skills to good use in a meaningful way and to your own satisfaction in a number of different positions rather than in just one.
As a roving reporter for the MANN+HUMMEL blog, I shadow employees in different plants. Some of my entries have already appeared on the blog and more will follow over the next few weeks. From plant manager to doorman, employees in a wide range of positions have introduced their jobs to me. None of them have told me: “This has always been my dream job.” Nevertheless, the majority of them go about their tasks with passion and believe that they have ended up in exactly the right place.
The magic word is variety
The impressions I have gained from my blogging travels have made me think about the key to happiness in the world of work and I have come to the conclusion that variety is the magic word. And good news all round: variety can be ‘customised’ and often comes in small packages.
Sabrina Rischer is passionate about her job operating forklift trucks in Marklkofen. For her, variety means that her destination constantly changes. “Sometimes they call, sometimes I have to go here or there” she told me in her Bavarian accent. For production area supervisor Daniel Sassman, it is the balancing act between production and management that he finds “good fun”. “You hardly ever see the same thing twice” – that is Thomas Sieber’s definition of variety and the reason that he still enjoys working as a production engineer after 15 years.
Peter Grabow is a doorman for MANN+HUMMEL in Speyer and he enjoys making people laugh. As a doorman, you have to be able to do several things at once without forgetting anything: “It is a varied job which is never boring.” On paper, Ursula Fritz is Head of Training, but she acts as a tour guide, teacher and organiser on a day-to-day basis in Ludwigsburg. In a way, Andreas Fischer plays the role of a private detective. As product range manager, he is constantly scanning the market for new filters. In his job, it is the “diversification” that appeals to him. According to Fischer, “It could never get boring.”
Variety is in the eye of the beholder
These examples show that variety means something different to everyone in the course of their everyday working life. However, for people across the board it is the key to being happy in their jobs. Does this mean that we should look for a ‘varied’ job rather than the ‘right’ job? At any rate, variety is in the eye of the beholder. It would seem that the creed from the well-known Biblical proverb applies here: “Seek, and ye shall find.” As is so often the case, it is likely that success in the search for a ‘varied’ job comes from a careful balance of patience, courage and a little bit of luck.