Let’s face it. Even with the unemployment rate jumping above a whopping 10 percent, as reported today, job dissatisfaction is still running rampant and folks are looking for a way out of their existing 9-to-5s.
If unhappiness and disgruntlement are getting the best of you. I’ll offer some tips and probing questions that will hopefully help you assess where your allegiance really lies, and that will hopefully help you see your current gig and the future a little more positively.
But first it’s important to note that there are different kinds of job dissatisfaction. And overall job satisfaction is actually a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic factors:
- Intrinsic job satisfaction is the type of work you do. In other words, the tasks that make up the job.
- While, extrinsic job satisfaction is based on the conditions of work, such as pay, coworker interaction, and supervisor qualities.
These two types of satisfaction are different, but it always helps to look at jobs from both points of view. It’s important to ask yourself: “To what extent is my current dissatisfaction due to the kind of work that I am doing?” or “To what extent is it due to the conditions of my work?”
Recognize that at the end of the day, how much you love a job will depend on your job expectations — what you look to gain from that job, such as job security, pay, prestige, or independence. Some folks have higher expectations from others. Everyone places value in different aspects of our careers. For example, while I may value independence and flexibility to work from home, someone else may place greater value on interaction with co-workers and having a traditional office to work from.
Now, what about you?
I’ve done a little research and dug up some recommendations from professional and career specialists. Take a moment to examine the advice carefully, and consider ways in which you can revamp your current situation so that it works for you.
- Know yourself. Know what is important to you and what isn’t. What kinds of tasks or activities attract you? What do you enjoy doing most? And what type of work do you find meaningful? Also, be clear about what you expect from or require of a job, and then you will know what to look for when choosing your next move.
- Learn about jobs that are most likely to meet your expectations. Identify occupations that fit your personality and preferred work conditions and tasks.
- Consider consulting a professional career counselor. Similar to consulting a doctor, find someone whom you feel comfortable with and who you believe will help you dig deep into who you are to help you find the best career match. If they’re not meeting your needs, don’t be afraid to let them know and/or seek help elsewhere.
- Don’t let job dissatisfaction fester. It’s been said that job satisfaction or lack thereof is a barometer of how seamlessly you can adjustment to work and how long you will live. If your dissatisfaction goes unresolved for too long, it may lead to something worse, like depression, anxiety, worry, tension, and issues arising among co-workers. If you’re unhappy, be quick to find another solution to your current work situation. In the meantime, try your best to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
- Have realistic expectations for work. Like many things in life, overall job satisfaction is often a trade-off. Don’t expect to be 100 percent satisfied with work. Even the seemingly best jobs have their hang-ups.
- Look ahead at your long-term career goals. Present dissatisfaction might be worth bearing if you see your career progressing toward a life-long dream. Hang in there!
- Examine your values to determine what is most important to you. How important is your job, your career to you? Answer this question honestly. I know some men and women who endure a grueling job because they go to work each day with their family in mind. They see work as work, and that it puts food on the table. On the other hand, there are those who simply dread, even physically suffer, with the thought of just working to get a paycheck. For them, they must do what they absolutely love. It’s important to put your job satisfaction or dissatisfaction in proper perspective.
Keep the Discussion Going
What can you do today to maximize your job satisfaction?
About the Author
Emily Brown is the key contributor and creator of TheCareerPioneer.com, a blog that delivers articles and posts about job industry trends; plus motivational, retrospective stories about career exploration and discovering one’s passion. A journalist and former business reporter at Bloomberg News, her work has also appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and others. Emily lives and works in Washington, DC. She can easily be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to drop her a line to say “hello,” seek advice, suggest an opportunity or story idea, or provide news of your own.
Her work, including an article on personal branding, will be featured in the upcoming edition of PG Suite Magazine, a Washington, DC area lifestyle magazine.