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Old 05-14-2019, 09:04 PM
 
1,300 posts, read 1,417,636 times
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Sorry about the weird sentence structure in the title of the thread. I accidentally deleted a part of the title without realizing it. Its meant to be "How MUCH importance do you place on job autonomy"


Back in my early 20's "job autonomy" was a term that I had never heard of. Nor did I have much autonomy at that time. Now that I have almost full autonomy over my work, I can't imagine working any other way. In fact, if I ever left my job I wouldn't even consider working somewhere unless I have a high degree of work autonomy.

I researched the subject extensively 3 years back. Many studies have found that autonomy is so important to people that workers would prefer to have more autonomy over higher pay at their current job if given the choice. Also, every study has found that autonomy leads to more work satisfaction.

So whats your experience with this all important job aspect? Do you have a high degree of autonomy? And if so what field of work are you in? Also, how important is job autonomy to your own personal happiness?

Personally, its the most important aspect of a job for me provided the job meets a minimum level of income. Its important enough to where I think I would be clinically depressed if I didn't have it. I work in the public sector, county level government job.
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Old 05-14-2019, 09:22 PM
 
Location: Nescopeck, Penna. (birthplace)
12,351 posts, read 7,508,813 times
Reputation: 15950
How much importance (sic) do you place on job autonomy?

A good deal -- The beat jobs I held during my 45-year career always involved dealing (usually alone) with a variety of spontaneous issues; and I wanted feedback, so could learn if I'd made a right, or wrong decision.

I never could muster much empathy for an employer or supervisor who concerned him/herself more with how I was dressed, than with my ability to "deliver the goods".
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Old 05-14-2019, 10:47 PM
 
Location: Tempe, AZ
4,552 posts, read 3,642,493 times
Reputation: 3625
My job is completely self-managed and directed. If I miss a deadline, it's all on me. I have a list of places that need inspections (I'm a health inspector in a county government), I get them done by X date, and X many inspections a year overall and per restaurant. I have zero teamwork in my job. I only go into the office once a week, so I rarely see my coworkers. Since I manage my own projects, I can take my vacation basically any time I want, and for the most part, have very flexible schedules. I'm having a bad day, I can visit easier places, or if I'm working up towards a vacation, I can work faster. As long as they get done by the deadline.

This is my first job out of college. This is important to what I'm about to say.

I find that having this self-directed job makes it difficult to learn tips and techniques. I get my work done, in fact I exceed in my work expectations of getting things done, but sometimes I wonder if I can improve on the "quality" aspect, over the quantity. Sometimes I go into a restaurant and I see something that is wrong (trust your gut as they say) but I'm not quite sure the appropriate corrective action and what code violation it is on the spot. This is fairly often as the FDA food code is fairly lengthy and there are so many grey areas in the industry, some things can fall under two or more violations, but personally I never choose to double dip in violations. Trying to figure out the best corrective action and sometimes the chef gets very angry with me (we are the most hated people in the food industry, after all) can shirk my confidence. Dealing with angry operators and the lack of confidence I can have out there as I am constantly questioning my knowledge is easily my biggest problem with my job. And I would love to spend more time with my co-workers, some with over 15 years of experience, so I can learn more things and get a better handle on my self-esteem. I get good reviews from my supervisor, but I don't feel like I'm in it quite like everyone else and even people hired after me.

As someone entry-level, I would prefer a little less autonomy, just to get put on the right tracks. Know that I'm doing things right and paying attention and learning the right things. Sometimes when I'm really unsure I can call a co-worker or two, but it would be nice to have them there with me to see their interpretation, as it sometimes is a lot more nuanced than I can describe over the phone.

I feel like most people in this forum are very experienced and with that being said, when I eventually reach that level in my career, I would definitely want autonomy instead of being babied and micromanaged all day. It would not only hurt my ego but make me question if my supervisors think I'm stupid.

In this way, I would argue the autonomy is hurting my happiness, as lacking the confidence and feeling like I'm not doing a good job is not a good feeling to go home with. But it could be I just have a big personality clash with being in a "cop" like job, which is probably it. Talking to people as regulator for 10 hours a day definitely wears me down. I may prefer or enjoy the autonomy in a field that is better suited for me.
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Old 05-14-2019, 10:49 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
23,581 posts, read 17,567,761 times
Reputation: 27672
At 33 and with nearly a decade in IT, there comes a point where I don't need a PM checking up on me regarding a technical matter. I can do it. I will alert you when something is done or if I have questions. I don't need multiple emails an hour asking for a status update by someone who is so technically inept that they don't understand the update that I give them.
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Old 05-15-2019, 01:05 AM
 
Location: League City
3,379 posts, read 6,597,549 times
Reputation: 3985
I place a lot of importance on autonomy now that I have finally experienced it. I work as a programmer at a state run entity. I do not make quite as much as the average person working with the same things that I do. But I have an office. And I have a lot of autonomy. I can do whatever I want when it comes to software decisions (just not purchasing or hardware although I have a say in that too). I can tell people no. I often have no deadlines, and I can push back if things get stressful. I get solicitations from recruiters, but then I think about the intangible stability and autonomy that I would be giving up.

I came from the federal government world where everything is on lock down. Just to install a simple open source tool on your desktop required about 10 approvals and easily took weeks if not more. We were given a flowchart diagram to map the approval process because it wasn't as simple as 'get manager approval.' I could write a page on all the rigid processes and procedures that always stymied progress and development. Also we were about 20 years behind on a lot of the technology we were using. Some of it was even older. And yes, it was amazingly challenging to find a new job with outdated skills. Because of this, I am appreciative of autonomy in spite of less pay.

There are some drawbacks though. Part of the autonomy comes from the fact that I work with things that nobody else wants to touch. So if I run into a roadblock, there is nobody at work to help me out. Also I know I miss a lot of wisdom gleaned from interacting with peers since my actual work peers do different things from what I do. I try to make up for some of that by lots of self directed learning in my off time. I also started a graduate program so I will get to interact with others in that way too.

Last edited by DanielWayne; 05-15-2019 at 01:15 AM..
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Old 05-15-2019, 06:00 AM
 
Location: HoCo, MD
4,348 posts, read 7,990,870 times
Reputation: 4759
Autonomy is probably THE biggest factor in terms of what I look for in a job. Especially at this point of my career. Perhaps it's part of being GenX/Latch key gen.

There needs to be constant communication to ensure expectations are understood and met. But beyond that - I'm perfectly able to manage my own time and responsibilities. If not, I will communicate that.

This is also my desired management style. I leave them alone to do their jobs. And expect them to ask for help or bring concerns to me. I'm not big on babysitting.
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Old 05-15-2019, 10:12 AM
 
Location: Kansas City North
4,049 posts, read 7,323,110 times
Reputation: 5916
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prickly Pear View Post
My job is completely self-managed and directed. If I miss a deadline, it's all on me. I have a list of places that need inspections (I'm a health inspector in a county government), I get them done by X date, and X many inspections a year overall and per restaurant. I have zero teamwork in my job. I only go into the office once a week, so I rarely see my coworkers. Since I manage my own projects, I can take my vacation basically any time I want, and for the most part, have very flexible schedules. I'm having a bad day, I can visit easier places, or if I'm working up towards a vacation, I can work faster. As long as they get done by the deadline.

This is my first job out of college. This is important to what I'm about to say.

I find that having this self-directed job makes it difficult to learn tips and techniques. I get my work done, in fact I exceed in my work expectations of getting things done, but sometimes I wonder if I can improve on the "quality" aspect, over the quantity. Sometimes I go into a restaurant and I see something that is wrong (trust your gut as they say) but I'm not quite sure the appropriate corrective action and what code violation it is on the spot. This is fairly often as the FDA food code is fairly lengthy and there are so many grey areas in the industry, some things can fall under two or more violations, but personally I never choose to double dip in violations. Trying to figure out the best corrective action and sometimes the chef gets very angry with me (we are the most hated people in the food industry, after all) can shirk my confidence. Dealing with angry operators and the lack of confidence I can have out there as I am constantly questioning my knowledge is easily my biggest problem with my job. And I would love to spend more time with my co-workers, some with over 15 years of experience, so I can learn more things and get a better handle on my self-esteem. I get good reviews from my supervisor, but I don't feel like I'm in it quite like everyone else and even people hired after me.

As someone entry-level, I would prefer a little less autonomy, just to get put on the right tracks. Know that I'm doing things right and paying attention and learning the right things. Sometimes when I'm really unsure I can call a co-worker or two, but it would be nice to have them there with me to see their interpretation, as it sometimes is a lot more nuanced than I can describe over the phone.

I feel like most people in this forum are very experienced and with that being said, when I eventually reach that level in my career, I would definitely want autonomy instead of being babied and micromanaged all day. It would not only hurt my ego but make me question if my supervisors think I'm stupid.

In this way, I would argue the autonomy is hurting my happiness, as lacking the confidence and feeling like I'm not doing a good job is not a good feeling to go home with. But it could be I just have a big personality clash with being in a "cop" like job, which is probably it. Talking to people as regulator for 10 hours a day definitely wears me down. I may prefer or enjoy the autonomy in a field that is better suited for me.
Since you have some flexibility in arranging your workday, why not see if they would let you work with someone else for a half day every week, or something like that. ďBoss, I think Iíve got the basics, but Iím sure I could learn a lot more/work smarter not harder by shadowing JoeJoe a little bit.Ē If you did that when you were first hired, say that since youíve been out doing the real job you know thereís more you could learn. Assure them your workload would not suffer. You wouldnít have to shadow just one person. Spread around. Everybody has a slightly different way of doing the exact same thing.
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Old 05-15-2019, 10:47 AM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
8,626 posts, read 3,037,542 times
Reputation: 12878
I've been somewhere between owner, boss and independent for a long time. My active job search is for a production-level, supervised position. So I dunno how I feel about autonomy.
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Old 05-15-2019, 12:34 PM
 
Location: Pac. NW
2,021 posts, read 1,522,565 times
Reputation: 3601
I've given up jobs that paid well to take lower paying ones for no other reason than to be able to work unsupervised. I have zero regrets in all cases.
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Old 05-15-2019, 12:45 PM
 
Location: Mars City
5,091 posts, read 2,143,556 times
Reputation: 7505
It's reasserting itself after a string of lousy jobs with jerk bosses. Yeah, it can make itself important after crappy conditions.
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