Looking for a Perfect Job? Expert Suggests Looking for a ‘Three and a Half Day Job’ Instead

Ah, the American dream. Make a ton of money and retire young, right? Or in other instances, it’s about having a job you absolutely love.

Well, a Harvard Business Review blog post reminds us about the notion of a perfect job. In other words, keep dreaming. Okay, we shouldn’t be that bleak. There are fantastic jobs out there but the point is to alter your expectations and perceptions to accept reality that even the most stellar opportunity will come with a few drawbacks.

In fact, the all or nothing philosophy doesn’t have to apply. If you’re constantly searching for the absolute best opportunity, you may discover jobs out there are falling short. So, it’s important to adjust your expectations.

In the piece, John Lees writes:

“Every job is a compromise between what you want to get out of life and what an employer wants to get out of you. Keeping this reality in mind will help you challenge perfection-focused thinking and increase your options.

Remember, all roles — the great and the not-so-great alike — include some uninspiring tasks. While jobs that are a poor match often provide fewer opportunities for autonomy and growth, even they usually reveal some positives. Work is rarely as monochrome as we like to make it.”

Plus, if a perfect job actually existed searching for it could be futile. The author of How to Get a Job You’ll Love explains in the post you don’t need a job you absolutely love five days each week. Actually, he adds: “Three and a half days out of five seem to do the trick.” Here’s why: Lees contends those few days provide enough opportunities to “thrive, learn and feel you’re making a contribution.”

If the remainder of the week seems mundane, you can probably live with that, right? It’s something to keep in mind as you scope out your next role.

Will it check off all of the boxes of what you want? Probably not but it can certainly fulfill your top priorities. “Take a job that only meets half your wish list, perhaps, but make sure it’s a stepping stone towards seven out of 10. Which is enough for anyone.”