Throughout my life so far I have often thought about my dream job. When I was in elementary school my dream job was being an art teacher, and my classroom would be covered in projects, colors and designs. I dreamed up how the classroom would be set up, what everyone would call me and how happy I would be. When I got into middle school my dream job was to be a history teacher. I thought of certain areas of history I would focus on and class trips that we could take. In high school my dream job was to be a photographer. I would travel all over the world taking photos and selling them to places like National Geographic. When I got into college my dream job was a place where I would have my own office, at a company I loved, that would give me travel opportunities.
My dream job has changed many times throughout my life, and I’m sure that it will change again, but there has been a common theme, or rather something missing from all of these careers. I didn’t notice this until I started interning at Character.org. That’s when it became obvious to me that every time I discovered a new position, I would dream up what my title would be, what I would be doing, where I would do it at and even sometimes, the pay that I would receive. Yet, in all of my different dream jobs, I never once thought through what the workplace environment would be like. After now having interned at Character.org, I know that my dream job, and any job that I get from here on out, needs to have a workplace environment with character woven into everything. Character needs to be the foundation of everything, and it needs to be seen in daily interactions and in the day-to-day job.
A workplace of character is an environment where everyone cares, and you feel safe and happy to walk into work every day. It has core values that are developed by the group and clearly defined. You can ask questions without fear, and everyone shows empathy towards their colleagues and their customers. They emphasize productivity and growth on both an individual and organizational level, and employees enjoy working there so much that employee retention is high. There is a high productivity rate, and employees are empowered and feel like they are contributing to something. The executive(s) makes sure everyone is contributing to workplace character including him/herself, and everyone is constantly working on developing their, as well as the company's, character.
Workplace character was never something that was at the top of my mind until now. After experiencing a workplace that not only preaches character but actively practices character, I now know that character isn’t something that I should just dream of in my dream job. Character should be something that I actively try to put into the job that I have now and future jobs that I may have. Something that I have learned during my time at Character.org is that character isn’t something that is going to happen overnight. I can’t just dream of being a person that has good character or dream of a job that has good character. Character is something that you have to actively work on. In a workplace, character needs to be something that you practice on a daily basis. Over time, by intentionally focusing on character every day, you can create a workplace of character in which employees are fulfilled and productive.
Going forward from experiencing a workplace that boasts character, I’m going to actively work on having character at my job back at home. I’m going to make having a workplace of good character a priority at future jobs, and I’m going to include character in my dream when I continue to brainstorm about my dream job. Going forward, having a workplace with character is going to be my goal, and it will be a goal that I will always work towards. And when I achieve that goal, I’ll keep growing because the character development journey is a never-ending one. We all can always improve on our character. We all can always be better. I can always be better. From here on out, I’m going to work towards turning my dream job of a place that has character into a reality.
Oksanna Wildrick is an intern at Character.org and a Sociology student at Arizona State University.