How Much do you Value Workplace Autonomy?

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Finding the right job is the ultimate goal for job seekers. Often this entails balancing out a number of factors such as what’s your skill set and education, what’s available and what you can see yourself doing. You’re bound to go right in the workplace if you can reconcile all of these elements. However, there is one factor that often is overlooked by job seeking hopefuls. That factor is the degree of autonomy you can expect in the workplace.

Each job varies on the level of autonomy granted to its employees. If you’re a truck driver, you pretty much have free reign while you’re on the clock. Standing on an assembly line is a different story. Now, those two examples are pretty uncommon jobs for college graduates to hold but they are still accurate examples. Some jobs allow you room to breathe with minimal oversight. Other positions are closely monitored by authority figures. Your preference depends on your work style.

No one likes a manager breathing down their neck. It’s overbearing, annoying and offensive. However, some workers actually perform better with the structure closely involved management provides. Yeah, structure. Scary word for young people because it implies all sorts of boundaries and limits. Nevertheless, there is some value in a structured work environment. You get stuff done on time. You work harder when you have expectations placed on you. And, if you mess up, retribution is close at hand to put you back on track.

All of this may sound like a buzz kill. Who wouldn’t want the open freedom of an unstructured workplace? You get to do what you want, when you want, as long as you turn in your work when it’s due. You could slack off all month and just churn everything out the day before it’s due. It’s just like college but you’re getting paid instead.

Still, a lot of people sink in these situations. Remember late night cram sessions? Did you ever feel confident when you pulled those off? Your professors may have let you slide by on shoddy work but an employer isn’t going to be so forgiving. Results are expected and mistakes are often not tolerated.

Therefore, you need to be serious with yourself. Can you really handle an unstructured, autonomous workplace? It may be a more attractive option but it can lead you to the unemployment line if you’re not careful.

Where do you fall on this spectrum? Can you handle a more open workplace or do you need structure to function? Sound off below.

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