As I was driving to my parents house on Saturday I was listening to Radio 2 – my favourite station on a weekend morning!
Dermot O’Leary had the Reverend Matt Woodcock as a guest and his “Pause for Thought” basically was that we should try and find wonder and joy in the ordinary and humdrum sometimes rather than continuously looking for that next “pulse raising” experience.
That got me thinking about careers and the strive for “getting on” at work and that a lot of people do find job satisfaction in the same job for many years.
Job satisfaction refers to the positive attitudes or emotional dispositions people may gain from work or through aspects of work and is the most widely researched job attitude. Job satisfaction is usually linked to productivity, motivation, health and general life satisfaction. It has emotional, cognitive, and behavioural parts. The emotional side refers to feelings such as boredom, anxiety, motivation and excitement. The cognitive component covers aspects such as “is this role” mentally demanding am I being challenged and rewarded. The behavioural component includes people's actions in relation to their work such as working late or perhaps faking illness in order to avoid going to work.
Job satisfaction is of course specific to each person. It depends on career plans, assuming you have any and whether you feel you get the right amount of challenge and flexibility in your role; but not just that, there are several aspects and job satisfaction factors and so firstly you need to understand what gives you satisfaction. Once you have figured that out, you will find a role you enjoy for all the right reasons.
If you are working as part of a team and have a team manager or supervisor, then having a good working relationship with them is essential. A boss that you trust is important as is being at ease and friendly with the people you work.
Ask your manager to give you regular feedback, whether it is good or not. When it comes to job satisfaction, no news is bad news and getting feedback, even the negative variety, enables you to make the changes that you need to get the satisfaction you are looking for. Positive feedback gives you a sense of achievement of course and can give you more ideas of how to adapt or change other elements of your role to ensure a good end result.
Staying in the same role doesn’t mean that you can’t take on extra responsibility, and be paid accordingly. What's important is to always keep an open attitude to change and a continuous learning approach. Cross-function working and working on special projects can be ways of facing a new challenge and enhancing the skills you need in your current role. You may be the person that always welcomes a new person to the team and acts as their mentor during their first few weeks.
It may be a mistake to stay in a job too long if you do it for the wrong reasons but if you’re enjoying it and you are happy then don’t feel you have to make a change. The salary question comes down to personal priorities and weighing money against other elements of job satisfaction is an eternal dilemma. Rather than thinking too far in the future it might be more useful to “review” regularly, say once a year. If you start to feel you’re being paid less than you are worth your workplace happiness will start to suffer and then perhaps it’s time to start looking at other options.