Friday, January 23, 2009

Criteria for a Dream Job

Over the last several weeks, I've been thinking about Dream Jobs and how to correctly define them. A number of my readers have sent me ideas on dream jobs, and I think it is time to lay down some criteria for defining what a dream job is.

The first company that got me thinking about a dream job, was when I saw an opening for Controller / CFO at S&S Cycle in La Crosse, Wisconsin. For those of you that do not know, S&S Cycle makes motorcycle engines and other components for custom bike builders, like Orange County Choppers, West Coast Choppers, Arlen Ness, etc. The company is 3rd generation family owned, founded by George and Marjorie Smith back in 1958. So what makes me think this a "dream job"?

1. I have been a motorcycle enthusiast since my early teens. I love just about every type of motorcycle every made. I love to look at, ride, and dream about bikes.

2. I am passionate about manufacturing; particularly U.S. manufacturing. I wish we had more products that could be made "cost effectively" in the U.S. And the situation with the U.S. automakers troubles me quite a bit.

3. Obviously, a company like S&S Cycle, will have a lot of machining going on. Machining is one of my favorite types of manufacturing. One of the best jobs I ever had was running the machining division of a major company.

4. I am certain that I have the skills to jump into a role like this and help the company grow and make more money. This is very important to me: I cannot be happy in a job unless I feel that I can make a full contribution. I have often said, that I would rather have an 80 hour a week job than a 20 hour a week job.

5. The fact that the company is privately held is also a good thing. That suggests that the company is far less bureaucratic that most corporations have to be. When I have worked with family-owned business in the past - the objective often were something like "how do we ensure that our grandchildren can come to work and make money here". That simplifies things a lot when you compare it to the thinking at many corporations which often is "what will we tell the board and stockholders this quarter?" Speaking of family owned the picture to the right here is artist Stefanie Azier-Sattler's impression of the founder George Smith. The picture was commissioned by S&S to commemorate their 50th anniversary in 2008. How cool is that? Click here to see more of her work.

6. The one last thing I would need to know to qualify this position at S&S Cycle as a dream job would be to meet the management team. With every job and every company it is important that you can feel a part of the team. Getting the "right chemistry" is critical to making a great contribution on a dream job.

So let me try and sum it up. To me a dream job needs to be
  • making products or providing services that you are passionate about,
  • in an industry that you love,
  • with processes you know and understand.
  • a position that enables you to make a significant contribution to the organization,
  • working with a team of like minded individuals to create the best company imaginable.

Will I ever work for S&S Cycle? Who knows? I am sure there are a lot of capable professionals, just like me, who would crawl on broken glass from Milwaukee to La Crosse for the opportunity. So the competition should be really tough. That is as it should be, when you have a great company like S&S - you have to be able to get great people to keep it great. Will I ever work for S&S Cycle? I don't know, but I'm going to give it my best shot.

And if I don't make the team at S&S Cycle, I am going to keep trying till I find something with all of the qualities of S&S.

All the best,



  1. Great Blog Mike. Good luck to you and yours. Kent Huddleston had a stroke recently. Didn't know if you knew that or not. Bad one i think. He was perfect health running 3 miles a day. Thats what I've said all along about all that damn excercising. you just never know. God be with you Mike. Just enrolled in Paris Junior College in pursuit of Ass. deg. in Elect./Mechanical. Wish this old man luck in re-entering the college force. If you know any single wealthy ladies I am available!

  2. Dang it, Rick. Kent is about the most decent guy I have ever known. And by my / our standards he is young - very young. I will pray for Kent and his family.

  3. And one more thing, I am glad to hear that Rick is going back to school, because so am I. The competition is tough out here, and we need to do everything we can to keep up with the young cats. A little moe schooling can't hurt us; nothing else ever did.

    All the best,

  4. Hi Mike,
    Thank you for visiting my blog. It is greatly appreciated. Thanks again and keep the great work on your blog. Rick

  5. Uncle Mike,
    Thanks for checking out our blog and keeping up with the kids. It has been really great keeping up with you!!
    I do hope that you and Nan know, you are a Texan at heart and will make your way back home someday!
    We miss you too. Please visit soon. Lots of love,
    The Buss Family

  6. I still believe your dream job is owning an apartment in Manhattan that your nephew has a room in. Keep me up to date with how this is working out...

    Also, I was done reading the blog for today but i couldn't change the website till Stevie stopped playing. It was one of the first times I went to your site with my speakers on.