Zoe Keane of Recruit Ireland interviewed me on the topic of Job Satisfaction and how to achieve it.
These are some of the uncut highlights of our conversation. You may find some of my answers surprising.
What is job satisfaction?
The core of job satisfaction is to be fulfilled in your employment. You must enjoy your job for it to be a source of happiness in your life. Exciting work is enjoyable, and being at work brings a circle of co-workers, friends and social connections. Workplace goals bring opportunities to achieve and rise to exciting challenges—people who are happy in their life experience a source of wellbeing from their jobs. Job satisfaction is about liking your job and it making you happy.
How can people ensure they are satisfied in work?
It is critical to be satisfied with our jobs, and we should not accept anything less. We spend too much of our lives working for it to be nothing other than a source of fulfilment. The ideal job for people is the intersection of three elements, something that you can make money doing, something at which you are good and something you enjoy. Finding a job that meets these three elements will ensure satisfaction at work.
What are your top tips?
Satisfaction in the work environment is closely linked to the same factors which give satisfaction in other relationships, such as family ties. My three top tips for achieving work satisfaction are
- Seek connectivity with your colleagues. Endeavour to have meaningful relationships with your boss, colleagues and people in the wider organisation. Network, network, network.
- Strive for autonomy and personal independence, the capacity to make your own decisions and act upon them.
- Look for opportunities to do what you are best at. At your performance appraisal, set goals that involve opportunities that you enjoy and are good at. Through time you can craft your job to match your interests and skills.
Does work satisfaction depend on just work?
Life factors are important, but adopting a philosophy to life that is receptive and mindful will decrease stress and increase work satisfaction. A belief that you can control events in your life and be enthusiastic about following your goals has a significant impact on increasing work satisfaction.
Are there other factors that come into play?
It is essential to have goals both at work and in your personal life, the things you are striving to achieve. You should also have a set of goals for things that give you enjoyment both in and out of work; these are activities you want to spend more time doing, as they are a source of enjoyment. It is crucial to balance your life goals, what you want to achieve in and out of work, and what you want to spend more time doing in and out of work. A lack of balance in life goals can lead to feelings of dissatisfaction.
For example, what you do with your time off?
I spilt my time into the periods of the key areas in my life. My time is spent either working, fostering relationships or time for myself. If I am not working, I am spending time nurturing my relationships with my family, mainly my wife and three young children. I read, write, meditate, follow soccer, and do some light exercise in my self-time. I make sure that my time is distributed across the three domains of work, relationships and self.
Does someone have to hate their job to feel unsatisfied or can it happen to anyone at any time?
No. Dissatisfaction often comes from either having no goals or an unbalanced set of goals in life.
With no goals, we have no compass in life. If the goals are unbalanced, we focus too much on one aspect of our life. We need goals on what we want to achieve in life at home and work, and we need to have goals on spending more time doing things that make us happy at home and work.
Excessive distractions are often a source of dissatisfaction; a distraction is any activity that does not move us towards our life goals. It is the opposite of traction.
Evolution prefers dissatisfaction over contentment. Evolution makes sure we are never satisfied for long. It drives us constantly to seek something better. Feeling dissatisfied is what evolution intends; it is normal, and it drives us towards great achievement.
What are the symptoms/signs of becoming unsatisfied in work?
A constant need to escape from what has become the discomfort of work. We find ourselves constantly drawn to distractions rather than focusing on our work.
Last Question. Could work dissatisfaction be amplified during the pandemic with people working from home?
A core to work satisfaction is having good connectivity with your work colleagues. The COVID-19 pandemic has made connectivity and social interaction with work colleagues much more complex, increasing work dissatisfaction. To combat this, find ways of interacting with your colleagues by having a morning team meeting to check in with everyone and see if anyone needs help. Think of ways of interacting with your colleagues through the workday. Keep your network active.