“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs
What we do for a living is a huge part of our lives and our image. Just think about it: we spend an entire third of our entire time on Earth at work. Thus, it becomes obvious that job satisfaction and making the right career choice is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
To add weight to the importance of this decision, consider the fact that the average person will spend 40 years of their life working. If you start work at 25 and retire at 65, you will spend up to 2.880.000 hours at work, with approximately 199.000 of those being logged during weekends.
Taking these facts into account, it becomes obvious that factors such as doing meaningful work, being in a healthy professional environment, with growth opportunities, all make for important aspects to consider when making a career choice.
If you find yourself dreading Mondays to the point that you spend your weekend in a state of anxiety, or if you’re feeling like what you do for a living is a soul-crushing routine with no way up or out, now is the time to rethink your career choice.
There are a lot of elements that will influence our job satisfaction. The two most important are whether we are spending our time doing what we love and whether our job position and work environment fit our internal system of values.
So how do we go from dreaming about an ideal job to actually making this dream into reality?
Asking ourselves the right questions will determine our course of action in improving the overall quality of our professional lives. The first question we need to consider is whether we love what we do. If the answer comes down to no, then a career change should be our next step towards job satisfaction.
The number one reason people feel like what they’re doing on a daily basis has no greater importance or goal is because their career choice is based on the wrong parameters. Often, we are pressured into thinking that jobs with higher pay, or those that come with higher social status are the way to go. This is especially true for those of us conditioned into seeking acceptance from our peers, families or surroundings.
The main problem with such career choices is that they do not line up with our own set of personal values. Regardless of whether we are told that something is important if it doesn’t ring true to us, it’s the wrong value.
Ask yourself this: What is it that drives me?
Some people will find that what makes them happy is a line of work that is full of challenges and obstacles that need to be overcome. Others find satisfaction from solving complex problems. Then, there are those whose ideal career choice allows them to have a lot of free time to spend with their family, friends, or simply doing things they love. Some will want to dedicate themselves to a cause they deem important, such as cleaning up the environment, saving people’s lives, or making sure that their community is functioning in an efficient and ordered way.
More often than not, the people who are most happy with their careers aren’t the ones making the biggest amount of money, or being world-famous in their field. It’s actually those who managed to question their own values and priorities and adjust their vocation to them.
What are the key steps to maximizing your job satisfaction?
- Allow yourself to rethink your key values and priorities, making sure that you’re not giving in to outside pressure or expectations.
- Create your own definition of success. This can be anything – from dedicating yourself to a goal you’re passionate about, to having a great work-life balance, to achieving something that has never been done before. There are absolutely no limitations to what success can mean.
- Think outside the box. Maybe you have a set of skills, a hobby, or a great deal of knowledge about a topic that can jump-start your road to success.
- Think about your main attributes. What are your transferable skills? What are the situations people seek you out in, and how do you help them? What does this say about you?
- Give yourself time. You don’t have to make your decision right now, and you don’t have to act on it immediately. Quitting your job or urgently transferring to another place of work are not your only options. Instead, stop and think about the key questions we mentioned above. Do you love what you do? Does your job match your set of values? Once you know your priorities, you will know where you’re supposed to be, and how to go about achieving your goals.
- Don’t be afraid to take a risk. Starting from nothing can be scary and even difficult, but these are obstacles all of us have to face at some point in our lives. If you’ve decided to leave your current place of work, make sure you have an effective exit strategy that will allow you to handle the things that may not go according to plan.
Once you’ve gone through all of these steps, you may even find that you are exactly where you should be, and what you’re lacking is a bit more motivation and fulfillment. If that’s the case, ask yourself this: What can I do to make my position and professional environment suit me a bit more, thus increasing my job satisfaction?
BONUS TIP: Look for expert advice and guidance. Having a person to talk to about your professional path is crucial in helping determine realistic, attainable goals you can set out to accomplish today. You can talk to a friend you trust, an experienced family member, or hire a career coach who will lead you on your journey to a successful, accomplished life.
You can also sign up for a career coaching session with me. Remember, the first session is completely FREE. All you have to do to book an appointment is click here.