Creating Job Satisfaction

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Getting the Most From Your Job – The key to job satisfaction is your attitude. Skills and Knowledge ensure that you do an excellent or outstanding job. They determine what you give to your job, what you do on the job. They embellish your tasks, actions and influence their outcome significantly. But they have no influence on what you derive from your job – Job satisfaction. Attitude is our way of looking at situations, people and environment around us. It is the filter we use to give a meaning to all that is happening around us at work and in life. It determines our expectations, responses and reactions.

For many of us the idea of having a job that is truly satisfying – the kind of work which doesn’t feel like work anymore – is pure fantasy. Surely, most in the field of fine arts and sports have found a way of doing what they love and getting paid for it. They are living the famous quote “Find a job you like, and you add five days to every week”.

Career dreams are one thing; practical reality is often another. Most adolescents reaching adulthood have gone through these pangs within the first few years of working. It is good to know that it is possible to get job satisfaction from a practical career choice. You can work at job satisfaction and find it in the most unexpected places. As mentioned earlier, the heart of Job Satisfaction is in your attitude. It is more about how you approach your job than the actual duties and task you perform on the job. The secret is to understand the key ingredients of your unique recipe for job satisfaction.

Identify Your Satisfaction Triggers – We approach work in three different ways: Is it a Job, or a Career or a Passion? Depending on which type of work you are in right now, the things that give you satisfaction will vary. A caution here is that this classification applies irrespective of whether you are a salaried person, self employed or even running a NGO.

If you work for a JOB, the compensation aspects of the position might have a greater influence whether you stay or go.

If you work at a CAREER, promotions and career development takes priority over money. Your satisfaction has strong linkage to your status, prestige or control.

If you work at a PASSION, the work itself is the factor that determines you satisfaction. Money, Prestige or Control become a non issue.

The reality is we get satisfaction from more than one of the above types of work. Being aware of which type of work you are doing and which type gives you the maximum satisfaction enables calibrate your satisfaction expectations and being realistic.

Building Job Satisfaction – Once you have identified the blend of status, power or intrinsic enjoyment that you need to have in your work for you to be satisfied, you can work on the seven ingredients to create a satisfying job. The key here to understand is not ‘finding’ a job that suits your blend, but ‘creating’ job satisfaction in the job you have, thereby ‘discovering’ what is the best for you.

1. Self Awareness. The first step in the search for job satisfaction is knowing yourself. You need to understand your strengths and weakness. You also should have a good understanding of your personality traits and your preferred style of working. These are matters of the heart and need intuitive thinking to realise what is that you value and what motivates you when you work and conversely what is that you do not value and what demotivates you. A word of caution here is to do this exercise with a neutral disposition without overanalysing the findings. We should love and respect ourselves for what we are and not bemoan for what we are not. A self awareness exercise with this disposition will enable you to work towards an ideal blend of compensation, status and intrinsic reward that suits you and that you can realistically achieve. Being truthful with yourself is extremely rewarding in the long run. Setting appropriate goals which leverage your strengths, do not expose your weakness areas, utilise your personality traits and which supports your style of work is a sure recipe for Job satisfaction. In fact expectation management is the key ingredient which enables a greater match between your preferences and the requirements of the job. This increases the potential for job satisfaction you can have. The balance 6 ingredients determine how much of that potential you can actually achieve.

2. Challenge. All of us thrive on interesting challenges. Different things challenge different people at different times. Even if the job itself may not be challenging, you can make it a challenge by a. Aim to beat your previous record for performance standards you yourself have set b. Have a friendly competition with co-workers c. Ask for new responsibilities which will give you opportunities to stretch yourself. When we ask for responsibilities, people will be more kind with shortcomings. Also you get to learn on the job. d. Start on taking on a project which will use your skills you like to use or you want to improve. e. Commit to professional development – take online courses, distance learning, read books, magazines and attend seminars. Do not rely on your employer to do this for you.In the world of web all these are a click away. It is important to keep our knowledge and skills fresh, current and relevant.

3. Variety. The one single culprit for job dissatisfaction is Boredom. Boredom results in losing interest and enthusiasm even with a well matched job. You have to take initiative by realising that you are getting bored. Most of us take comfort from the fact that the job is boring and wait for HR department to take cognizance. Initiative can be taken by learning new skills, asking to be moved to a new assignment or department, asking for a new shift, volunteer to take on new tasks or simply go on leave or a sabbatical. Boredom is the single largest killers of promising careers especially when we do not take charge of the situation. Introduce variety to your repetitive tasks by changing your routine of doing it. Add variety by changing location or simply doing something different during breaks etc. Also do not focus on the boring aspects or elements of your job. Do these efficiently. However make sure to do plenty of interesting work in the balance time to offset this boredom.

4. Positive Attitude. This ingredient mostly determines how you perceive your job and your life in general. The quality of internal dialogue which we have with ourselves decides our outlook towards anything include our job. With strong commitment we can change this to positive attitude by

a. Stop negative thoughts from entering our mind. Distract yourself to some positive aspect of whatever has happened. Every bad news has a good element in it, which we choose to ignore purposely.

b. Reframe your thoughts to the positive. Setbacks can be seen where some learning has been achieved and we may actually silently thank the setback, once we realise.

c. Put daily events in this right perspective

d. Don’t dwell on Setbacks.

e. Become an optimist.

5. Know 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, instead of being forced to stay, there is more appeal. Proactively preparing for change always helps.

a. Keep a list of your accomplishments

b. Update your resume on a regular basic.

c. Research other jobs that interest you.

d. Adopt an ‘ I am keeping my options open’ approach

6. Maintain a Balanced Lifestyle. Balanced Lifestyle can be critical to knowing your options. We must be sensitive to any imbalance in our work – life equation. Changing jobs, profession to retain this can be most fruitful changes at any stage in your career. Focussing too much on either of them at the expense of the other can create a lot of problems. Too many a rewarding career can come at the cost of poor quality of life which is not fulfilling in the long run.

7. Find a sense of purpose. This should be something we should be doing irrespective of the nature of job we do and our inclination to it. Identify the real benefit your job is giving and also find out who is really beneficiary. Even most mundane jobs have a much deeper purpose which needs to be discovered with a lot of conviction. Once we get this perspective, our outlook to our job can change dramatically. Being goal driven is very good for efficiency. However being focussed on purpose can do more good for effectiveness – how well we do whatever we do. No one besides you can get you this perspective. Expecting this to come from your employer, customer or boss is basically giving up control you have on your job satisfaction.

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Categories: jobs