When you think of the term fast-paced you might have an association that other people don’t. Fast-paced can relate to different aspects of a job or the work environment itself. A job can indeed be fast-paced, for example when a delivery person has to stick to a tight schedule. Fast-paced could also refer to the variety of tasks to be performed, possibly in a fast changing corporate environment. Whatever the case may be, not everybody can handle fast-paced jobs equally well because they demand high levels of flexibility and perseverance.
The Meaning of Fast-Paced in Job Descriptions
When you read about a fast-paced job in your job search, you should consider that recruiters might seek to embellish certain job characteristics that most people would rather not deal with. While fast-paced can refer to an exciting work environment with challenges, it can also designate a busy job with long hours, an unstable job, or a job with a start-up company that wants to hire someone who can handle a variety of unrelated tasks.
You can probably imagine some of the negative consequences of a fast-paced job. According to study results published in the Harvard Business Review, unpredictable flow of work, responsibility for more than one job and tight deadlines can often be found in jobs of high earners. Authors of the study also reported that fast-paced job holders said they find it difficult to have a strong relationship with their children or their partner and spouse, respectively.
Age Plays a Role
Whether you perceive your job as fast-paced or not could simply depend on your age. Age plays a major role, particularly because of the changing nature of work as economies develop. According to researchers at the Urban Institute, jobs that come with constant time pressures and require fast-paced work may be considered undesirable by older adults because they evaluate them as too stressful. Nowadays, young people in urban centers tend to follow a fast-paced lifestyle and might therefore consider fast-paced jobs as normal.
Handling Fast-Paced Jobs
Before accepting a fast-paced job, you should take an honest look at yourself and evaluate whether you can sustain the job. Some people may love it, others may hate it, and it’s not clear how you would react to a fast-paced job unless you had one. If you find yourself unable to handle the demands, simply quitting because you’re frustrated isn’t the right way to go. Use your common sense and evaluate whether the demands are inherent to the job or whether things have gotten out of hand because of a particular reason. In the latter case, ask your boss about it and drive the conversation toward a solution. Most importantly, don’t quit without asking for a reference from your employer.
Dr. Andrea S. Dauber has been writing since 2008. Her areas of expertise are personal and career development. She has published everything from scholarly articles to book chapters. She holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Mainz, Germany. As a certified professional and career coach, she coaches clients and conducts workshops at universities.