2009-01-07    Creating Job Satisfaction

Find a job you like, and you add five days to every week.
/ H. Jackson Brown, Jr. /

There are three basic approaches to work: is it a job, a career, or a passion?

  • If you work at a JOB, the compensation aspects of the position will probably hold more appeal than anything else, and have the greatest impact on whether you stay or go.
  • If you work at a CAREER, you are looking for promotions and career development opportunities. Your overall satisfaction is typically linked with your status, power, or position.
  • If you work at a PASSION, the work itself is the factor that determines your satisfaction, regardless of money, prestige, or control.

Work on seven “ingredients” for a satisfying job:

  • Self-awareness - If you’re to be happy and successful, you need to understand your strengths and weaknesses. It is difficult to feel satisfied with something you aren’t very good at, so rather than spend time beating yourself up about it, take a long hard look at the things at which you excel, and try to find a position that uses some of those skills too. The greater the match between your preferences and the requirements of the job, the more potential for job satisfaction you have.
  • Challenge - Even if the job itself is not all that challenging, you can make it challenging by setting performance standards for yourself, teaching others your skills, asking for new responsibilities, starting or taking on a project that uses skills you would like to use, or want to improve, committing to professional development.
  • Variety - Some common methods to alleviate boredom at work include learning new skills, asking to be moved to a new assignment or department, working a different shift, volunteering to take on new tasks, getting involved with committee work, going on extended leave.
  • Positive attitude - Attitude plays a huge role in how you perceive your job and your life in general. If you are depressed, angry or frustrated, you’re much less likely to be satisfied with anything. You can turn your internal dialogues around and start to see most events in your life as positive and worthwhile by stopping negative thoughts from entering your mind, reframing your thoughts to the positive, putting the events of the day in the correct context, committing to viewing obstacles as challenges, accepting that mistakes are simply opportunities to learn.
  • Knowing your options - Continuously scan your environment for opportunities. When you feel you have options, you have more control. When you make a positive choice to stay with a job, that job has much more appeal than if you feel forced to stay in because you feel you have no alternative. Keep a list of your accomplishments, update your resume on a regular basis, keep up to date on employment trends, research other jobs that interest you, adopt an “I’m keeping my options open” approach.
  • Balanced lifestyle
  • A sense of purpose - Find a sense of purpose in the things you do. Even the most mundane job usually has purpose if you dig deep enough. And if it doesn’t, should you be wasting your life doing it?

/ Mind Tools /