There a six common factors that are said to provide you with improved job satisfaction. I both agree and disagree with these being important. Let me explain what I’m getting at; I’ll go through each factor explaining what it means and why its important but then I’ll issue you a warning about how each factor can be abused.
Money; do you earn $100k? Apparently that’s the point where we can meet our modest needs and have a bit left over for rainy days. Its the tipping point for happiness returns (after $100k you don’t get much happier). The key here is how much is enough? $72k a year is my enough and I’m reducing my needs more and more; the result… MUCH more satisfaction because I’m not chasing more all the time; I’m un-gearing my life. Take the time to calculate out your ‘enough’ and agree to stop equating more with better.
Be in FLOW. Flow is defined as the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energised focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. WOW I want some of that! Being in flow on the job is as close to professional nirvana as you can get My take on this is that people take the idea too far and start to expect flow in all tasks; they want flow. Problem is, flow just comes and cannot be contrived. Sure you can set yourself up to do interesting and appropriately challenging work but longing after flow is just another manifestation of the ego wanting to be in pleasure and sets you up for disappointment when everyday isn’t ‘awesome’! I suggest you try on a beginners mind instead. Can you remember back to when you were a beginner at something; that strange mix of awe and interest in the unknown. Any tasks can be rewarding if you approach it with beginners mind. Approaching every task as if you are doing it for the first time is something I practice a lot, try it.. then look to balance the new with old enjoying both as a beginner.
Flexible work arrangements; what use is more free time, what are you going to do with it? Think of this in terms of your role and what you’re currently signed up for in life (dad, partner, provider). People want to have it all but some things are less compatible if you try to do them concurrently. I’m a dad which (for me) means I don’t spend weekends working. A single professional keen on working at Partner level in a big 4 consulting firm will need to consider the amount of “free” time they will have whilst on this track. For me being a partner is mutually exclusive to my current role as a dad; but that’s my take on it, others will make different choices.
Recognition; what are we seeking when we ask for recognition. For me personally I don’t look to others to pat me on the back; be careful of needing too much of this, seek to find intrinsic satisfaction of the curious beginner.
Stability; change is the only constant but most people mistakenly assume (and sub-consciously seek) a stable work environment; !!NEWS FLASH!! there are no more jobs for life. Accept and expect change as part of every role you ever take, don’t be rigid in your thinking and attitude, it will always been seen as a negative by managers looking to shape their business in response to market pressures.
Advancement; your ego always wants more, because more is better, right? What about an “ambition-less” career? Being assertive is great, plan-do-check is a great motto to actively progress how you add value in the workplace BUT the politics and gaming that some people get involved in I think is where it gets ugly, wasteful and directly works against the job satisfaction of those around you. If you are a deft politician and add value by navigating through all the noise of a complex situation too assist resolution of issues, then great. BUT if you playing games with people’s psyche please don’t.
The sure fire way to boost job satisfaction
My takeaway monologue … have your internal self and ego under control, look at the role you play in life and then be realistic about your capability as you experiment your way through life, pivoting and/or persevering to find work that allows your interests and abilities to meet the task at hand. Hold what YOU want more lightly than how important other’s needs are to you. Be more self-less and less greedy, lower your have-to-haves and find satisfaction in the little things. Set goals but do not obsess, be career assertive over the long term. We always overestimate what we can do in the short term and underestimate what we can do in the long term. Learn to delay your needs and work on a longer time frame enjoying the journey and ride that work life provides.
Please forward this to people in need of a job satisfaction boost