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Satisfaction in Your Work vs. Just Working for the Money

“I graduated at the end of 2005 from college. Since then I’ve had four jobs, but they don’t give me satisfaction. I now work as a government policy officer, but this takes a lot of my energy. I realize that I don’t have a job that makes me happy. I’m not a thinker, but I would like to do a solid job. I’d like to make a difference.” Miranda, age 28

Can you relate to this? Are you satisfied with your work or just working for the money?

The story of Miranda is nothing new. It’s not the first time we’ve heard comments like these. A report presented by CNN indicates: “Countless employees are unhappy, reporting that they only work for the money and yet would trade a raise for a better boss and work environment.” Often these sentiments are the reason people choose Life\Work Design™ for career coaching.

Most of us not only work for the money, but we also want to get satisfaction from our work. Satisfaction at work means that we want to be happy with doing our job and also be satisfied with the result.  

How do you find satisfaction in your work?

The answer can be very subjective. However, there are three important factors that everyone must consider:

  • There is a relationship between using your top 5 strengths and the job satisfaction that you get.
  • Your work environment and the conditions that play a part in it are a determining factor in experiencing happiness in your work.
  • A high degree of alignment between your values and goals, and the goals of your organization are essential for experiencing satisfaction.

1.   To what extent does your work suit your skills and your personality?

For example, Miranda says that she is not a thinker. She’d rather be busy with concrete tasks. I bet she’d like to see the results of her work. It may be true that Miranda does her job well as a government policy officer. But apparently, it takes a lot of energy. For example, because she always has to be on her toes or because she is using skills that do not come naturally to her.

Many people think that you should choose work where you perform best. That should not always be the key criteria for determining whether your job is suitable or not.

The mistake is to think that if you are busy with something you are good at, it should give you pleasure, but this is not always the case. For example, you may have excellent Excel skills, but you don’t enjoy working on Excel spreadsheets all day.  

In The Life\Work Design™ program, you will discover what you are good at related to job satisfaction. We come to a weighted ranking of your qualities. In this classification, we not only look at how your strengths stack up, but also how much you like to use your strengths. With this strategy, you will develop your “top five,” the five qualities where you are the strongest, and where you are relatively happy.

If you can use your “top five” in your work, then it works like a dynamo. It will give you energy, and it prevents you from being exhausted at the end of the day like Miranda.

2.   To what extent do you fit in your working environment and what conditions play a role for you?

To experience satisfaction and to feel good at work takes more than using your top five strengths.

You could be employing all your best assets, and doing the things that make you happy, but if you’re in an environment that is not healthy for you, satisfaction at work will remain elusive. A study about what employees care about at work, conducted by Boston Consulting Group which surveyed over 200,000 people around the world, demonstrates that among the top factors influencing employee happiness on the job is “work environment”. A comfortable work environment and conditions are essential. You must feel positive about your physical surroundings and the people you work with. Working all day long even doing what you love, is no joy when the people around you make you unhappy.

So, you’ve got to define, and then find the working environment in which you perform best, and are the happiest.  

3.   To what extent does your work fit your personal goals and values?

What gives you energy? What does work mean for you? And what do you hope to contribute by doing your job?

Your answers to these questions can help you understand your personal motivations, your values, and your personal mission.A mission statement will help people understand who and what you stand for

Finding your mission and defining your purpose is not an easy task. But once you have your mission clear, it gives you considerable power. In Life\Work Design™ courses you will work on defining your mission – the purpose of Me, Inc., the enterprise that is you – through a number of different assignments.

For example as inspiration, here is an excerpt of the mission of one of our clients:

“I contribute to the success of the organization by making it more efficient, through finding new growth opportunities and staying a step ahead of the competition’’.

This client is fortunate because his personal mission is well aligned to the mission of his organization: “Our mission is to help companies of all sizes and industries run better’’.  

The organization’s values also match his values. This particular client finds it important to have “freedom,” and his organization reflects this value: “Since the company’s founding, we have set out to create the kind of corporate culture that gives employees the personal freedom they need to achieve their individual goals while supporting the objectives of the company”.

To experience satisfaction in your job, it is essential that your personal goals and values meet the values and goals of the organization in which you work. Click To Tweet

To experience satisfaction in your job, it is essential that your personal goals and values meet the values and goals of the organization in which you work.

Our client has, after some adjustment of his direction, achieved a lot of satisfaction in his job. By comparison, Miranda doesn’t have this level of satisfaction yet. She wants to “make a difference,” and as a government policy officer, she doesn’t have the feeling she is doing that right now. While it may be a suitable role for someone else, it doesn’t suit her skills, or match her values.

Did you know that shared values and goals also benefit your company?  

They provide a strong corporate culture that leads to high profits.

For example let’s look at Apple: ‘’What makes Apple so financially successful?’’ The answer is because employees all want to contribute to the goal of “Designing insanely great products that people want to use.”

It makes sense that organizations ask you what your intention is to work with them in a job interview or when you are networking with someone. They want to test the extent to which your goals and values fit their business. Because, when there is a good match, both parties will benefit.

Are you searching for more satisfaction in your job, but don’t have a clue where to start? Sign up for our Life\Work Design™ course and begin creating your ideal career.

You will be guaranteed to find the area of work that gives you satisfaction and you will determine:

  • The ‘top-five’ of your qualities.
  • The work environment in which you will grow and flourish
  • Your personal mission and concrete goals that lead to the realization of your personal mission.

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