My earlier post on the ideal job was more indirect than usual because I was working it all out as I wrote. I felt good about the insights I gained and was pleased by your responses, but I'd left some essential bits out.
The Wiz Speak blog gave the post an enthusiastic review, for which I am really thankful, but his comments made me realize I needed to provide more detail on what makes an ideal job. Let's see if this helps.
The overarching purpose: Every job you take should be part of a plan to equip you for full self-employment at some later point in life.
Definition: The ideal jobs are those that prepare you for long-term job security as your own boss.
Now, what kind of job actually does that?
The ideal job is one that pushes you to become more competent, because that is the way that you will eventually achieve independence. A great boss, a desk with a view, or killer stock options do not make an ideal job. The ideal job will challenge you and force you to extend the envelope of what you can do.
Sure, You should make money, scads of it, but the experience you take with you is the real gold you seek. Your competence and experience is your only security.
Employers will come and go. Technologies will come and go. Even your networking contacts have limited long term value in many professions.
Your networking connections are the the key to your career progress, because 85% of all positions are filled by personal referrals, but these vital connections are increasingly perishable because of high turnover, so you have to keep working on developing new ones.
The only real security is competence. (and a willingness to embrace change)
Take jobs that make you more competent in ways that will provide long term opportunities for you. A low paying job in a brand new field is far more valuable to you than a high paying job maintaining legacy hardware or software.
There is more that can be said, but this should give you some ideas. Good luck in finding those ideal jobs.
Remember also that jobs are not permanent. Your ideal job may only last for two years, maybe even less. Be prepared to find the next one as soon as things begin to slow down.