A lot of conversations around career relate to achieving job satisfaction. People move jobs, change careers, take hiatuses and many times this is driven by lack of fulfillment. This is as a result of longing for job satisfaction. The thinking is that a new job, a new company or a new career path will deliver the longed-for job satisfaction. Importantly, statistics show that more people are ‘satisfied’ with their jobs than anecdotes would make us believe. But the daily experience for many is daily dissatisfaction and holding bated breath ready to jump-ship for the next all-satisfying opportunity. However, whichever side of the divide you belong, there are some ways to achieve or improve your level of job satisfaction today. This article will share some tips on how to achieve job satisfaction.
Job satisfaction or employee satisfaction is a measure of workers’ contentedness with their job, whether they like the job or individual aspects or facets of jobs, such as nature of work or supervision. Job satisfaction can be measured in cognitive, affective, and behavioral components. –Wikipedia
Define What Job Satisfaction Mean To You
A great place to start is taking the time to identify what job satisfaction means to you. This might seem obvious but can be easy to overlook. There are a number of components of job satisfaction. This can include pay, opportunities for advancement, appreciation / recognition, relationship with co-workers, autonomy and meaning / purpose. These differ for different people. As a lover of questions myself I recommend asking a few. Some of the questions you can ask yourself include:
- What matters the most to you?
- Can you identify aspects of your job (current or past) that have brought you the most pleasure or fulfillment?
- Are there specific tasks or engagements that drain you the quickest?
- Which activities energize and motivate you at work?
People have been known to stay in otherwise toxic environments because they really love the co-workers, or due to the fact that the pay is phenomenal. Some people require a huge paycheck and their job satisfaction bucket is full! Someone else may require that their work have a meaning. Another person may value a large degree of autonomy the most. Similarly, the degree of appreciation and recognition is the main source of job satisfaction for others.
Depending on your answers to these questions, you may find out that it is impossible to achieve satisfaction in your current job. On the other hand, you may find that perhaps the current job is not the problem and you need to make adjustments. You are, when all is said and done, the primary determinant of what satisfaction means. Knowing what factors weigh heaviest for you is the starting point.
At the end of the day the primary determinant of what satisfied means and if it is achieved is you.
“I only work at the pleasure of myself.” ― Mohith Agadi
Reorganization of realities
More likely, it may be the case that you need to spend more time on the things that give you a greater sense of joy and accomplishment and try to spend as little time as possible on those that don’t. This assumes that you are able to reorganize your tasks in this way. Consequently, you may consider automating or creating ways to spend as little time as possible on the less desirable tasks while achieving the same results. Another option to consider is setting strict timelines for less desirable tasks.
Other options are delegating or batching such tasks together to achieve economies. The goal is to organize your realities in a way that aligns with your job satisfaction priorities, as much as you are able. Your ability to do this will depend on the nature of your job, your level of seniority and your capacity to exercise autonomy. Consequently, this is another point at which to ask questions. The realities around what you can do to increase your job satisfaction may be a pointer to the next steps. In fact, considering what changes you can make may aid your assessment of whether your current job is the problem.
“On one side of the equation, there are the elements of work that, if not done right, will cause us to be dissatisfied. These are called hygiene factors. Hygiene factors are things like status, compensation, job security, work conditions, company policies, and supervisory practices.” Clayton M. Christensen
If your current job cannot provide your definition of satisfaction, consider alternatives. Yes, you should consider this if you are unable to make changes in a way that will improve your daily work experience. If the alternative is clearly a new job, try to look out for roles that weigh high on your list of ‘love to’ items. Alternatively, consider pitching or volunteering for more of the things you love. This could be at your current job or outside work. An option may be to communicate your preferences to your manager, to have your priorities reorganized formally. Naturally, you need to understand your work ‘capital’ or the strength of your position to explore the latter option.
“A highly paid, highly motivated employee who is not allowed to work with his full potential is like a Ferrari which is not allowed out of the garage.”
― Charbel Tadros
In conclusion, it is your time, effort and skills that are in question. Research shows that the average person spends 90,000 hours or one-third of their entire life, at work. You owe it to yourself to make the most of those hours. Make that time as fulfilling and satisfying as you can.
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