Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Hot-Crazy Job Matrix

By now, pretty much everyone has seen the Hot/Crazy Matrix video that came out last year. It posited that the decision to enter into a relationship with someone can largely be determined by a two axis plot of the potential partner’s attractiveness, graphed against their level of crazy.

If you've forgotten or never seen the video, here it is. I'll wait,

In the interest of equal time, here's a solid response matrix from the other perspective:

It was, depending on your viewpoint, hilarious/accurate/sexist/horrible, but the main point, that a relationship determination can, at least in part, be made via a data-driven formula, is not entirely inaccurate. It’s also a useful thing for determining whether to stay or leave one’s current job.

Now, I’m going to admit, this doesn’t apply to everyone. Changing jobs isn’t something to be done lightly, nor is it something that most people can simply up and do. But, let’s say you’ve hit the point in your career where if you were to go looking elsewhere, you’ve got a pretty good chance of landing something. Should you? In large part, you can map this decision to a two axis graph, where one axis is money, and the other is what I call Job Satisfaction.

Money is easy to explain. It’s what you get paid. Factor in your various benefits if you like, but the point is, it’s a lot easier to decide to stay in a job that you’re not thrilled about, but pays you an incredible amount of money, than it is to be dissatisfied in a job that pays you peanuts.

Job Satisfaction (JS) though, is a bit more difficult. I think of it as a combination of ((Coworker Quality + Satisfying Work) – (Management unpredictability + Commute Misery)). It’s the idea that how happy you are in your job is largely a combination of how much you enjoy your work plus how much you enjoy your coworkers, minus how much management potentially aggravates you combined with how much you hate your commute.

In this math, the Holy Grail of jobs would be one where you love your work, have fantastic coworkers, get along great with management (or you’re the CEO and get along great with the board and are universally beloved by your shareholders), and can make your commute in under five minutes while wearing your pajamas. You are also paid millions of dollars, and your company car is a Ferrari.

If anyone knows of a job like this, please let me know.

For the rest of us though, life is all about compromises. And when the JS score dips below the line of what you’re willing to put up with for what you’re getting paid, it’s time to move on. It doesn’t really matter why your JS dropped, just that it did. Start looking. Get out! Just remember to evaluate potential future jobs against the same matrix. You may be surprised and where you end up, and how much happier you’ll be.

Note: This post was not inspired by my current job. It was, however, inspired by a lot of thoughts I’ve had about why I left my previous job, state, and industry, to mostly start over. I’ve written about three different versions of “Why I left Game Development” over the past year, and they’ve been all over the map, from bitter, to angry, to sad. I’m not any of those things anymore, and I don’t really want to get into another deep dive of why I made the decision I did, other than to simply say that my JS had dropped well below the line, and it was time to move on. I now find myself in a much better mental place, with time to write, blog, stream silly things on Twitch, while still seeing my kids, bringing home a decent income, and doing some meaningful work.

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