How can you increase your job satisfaction?
Only 48% of people are satisfied with their jobs. (Conference Board) With worker dissatisfaction so high, how can you avoid it? Or, if you are working and dissatisfied, what can you do about it?
There are different kinds of job satisfaction.
Overall job satisfaction is actually a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic job satisfaction:
- Intrinsic job satisfaction is when workers consider only the kind of work they do, the tasks that make up the job.
- Extrinsic job satisfaction is when workers consider work conditions, such as their pay, coworkers, and supervisor.
It helps to look at jobs from both points of view. For example, if you are dissatisfied with your current job, ask yourself, "Am I dissatisfied because of the kind of work I am doing (intrinsic) or is it related to my work conditions (extrinsic)?"
Job satisfaction is also influenced by job expectations. What do you look for in a job? Security, pay, prestige, independence? For ideas, read these ten most popular job expectations.
1. Know yourself.
Write down what you like and don't like about working. What values are important to you? Write down what you expect from a job. Then, you will know what to look for when choosing among jobs or careers.
Rank the "ten job expectations" most frequently mentioned by workers. Are there others, not mentioned, like autonomy or prestige, that are important to you?
2. Research jobs that meet your expectations.
There are lots of career options out there. To help focus your choices, use Career Key Discovery to find jobs that match your personality and the rewards (intrinsic and extrinsic) they offer.
3. Consult a professional career counselor.
Sometimes you need extra support and an expert's perspective to help you decide what to do next. Learn how to choose a professional career counselor in your area.
4. Don't ignore job dissatisfaction for too long.
Your level of job satisfaction predicts how adjusted you are to work. Dissatisfaction may lead to something worse – job loss, accidents, even mental illness. Depression, anxiety, worry, tension, and interpersonal problems can result from, or be made worse by job dissatisfaction. In fact, job satisfaction was found to be the best predictor of how long you live... better than a doctor's rating of physical functioning, use of tobacco, or genetic inheritance. So, it is important to work out a solution if your job makes you unhappy.
5. Have realistic job expectations.
Like many things in life, overall job satisfaction is a trade-off. People experience dissatisfaction even in the best jobs. And, in today's work world you cannot expect your company to look out for you; you have to take the initiative yourself (see Free Agent Worker).
6. Separate dissatisfaction with the kind of work you do from the conditions of work.
If you are increasingly dissatisfied with the kind of work you are doing, you should consider a career change. If you are dissatisfied with the conditions of work, you may be able to solve the problem by changing employers or negotiating with your current employer to make changes.
7. Is your dissatisfaction temporary?
Look down the road at your possible career progress. Present dissatisfactions might be worth bearing if you see your career progressing.
8. Examine your values.
You have to answer this question honestly: How important is your job, your career to you? Only when this question is answered can you put your job satisfaction or dissatisfaction in proper perspective.
This was adapted and updated from an earlier article by Dr. Rene Dawis, with his permission: Dawis, R. V. (1992). Job satisfaction. In L. K. Jones (Ed.), Encyclopedia of career change and work issues (pp. 142-143). Phoenix: The Oryx Press. Dr. Dawis is the author or coauthor of more than 100 publications, and is an international authority on job satisfaction and work adjustment.