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Thursday, June 30, 2011

What is the level of your job satisfaction?

In my coaching experience, 5 out of 10 coachees at a 5 minus experience leave jobs because of 'not enough job satisfaction'. Job satisfaction is too big a concept. If we can bifurcate it to three levels, based on what psychologist Daniel Nettle did with the concept of 'happiness', it will help us understand how to negotiate job dissatisfaction better.

The basic level, or the first level of job satisfaction, comprises of momentary feelings, like the satisfaction of having a nice friend group at the office, or even having a understanding boss who allows you to come late. The second, or intermediate level of job satisfaction, is a state of mind. This level involves judgement about feelings, not feelings alone. The third and highest level of job satisfaction is more permanent and results from having a job that satisfies a deeper meaning or having a job with significance, like a job done to propagate a social cause like pollution.

What is your level of job satisfaction? If it is the first level, you are in a tricky waters. At this level, even though the 'presence' of momentary feelings is not enough to help you stay in the current job, 'absence' of these feelings can act ( and often do act) as a trigger to look for a different job.

Second level of Job satisfaction is about the judgement of those momentary feelings. Everyone has a different way of getting job satisfaction. Some find satisfaction in a job that provides constant novelty ( often a big reason for software programmers), some find it in a job that helps them constantly learn new areas, some find it in a job where lot of people-meeting is involved. Some like jobs that have low action>feedback delay, such as in customer service or sales. In these jobs, you get feedback on your action almost immediately. There are endless ways of beheading the multi-headed monster of job-satisfaction, as they say.

Third level of job satisfaction comes from a job that has deeper significance to you. I helped a coachee two years back to shift from a high-paying corporate job to well-paying job in education segment because the coachee wanted 'meaning' in his job. As he said, 'i want to have some purpose in my life'. Today i meet many youngsters, even with just 2 years experience, who look for 'meaningful' jobs, because money does not motivate them due to their well-to-do background.

In my experience, 3 out of 10 coachees face challenges of job-satisfaction at the first level. It arises, i think, because of mistaken belief that 'job dissatisfaction is an aggregate of unsatisfactory moments". If parents had these belief, they would have disliked 'parenting', because parenting is full of 'frustrating' moments. Instead, parents enjoy the process of parenting thorougly. In the same way, a job has both positive and negative moments, and it would be wrong to judge the level of dissatisfaction only by negative moments. But that is how it happens with some.

4 out of 10 coachees face challenges of job satisfaction at the second level. Professionals find it difficult to negotiate this because they seek solution to job-satisfaction with a mindset of solving Sudoko puzzle. Sudoko puzzle has one clear objective, no possibility of changing the objective midway although the goals may change, and one clear solution. On the other hand the puzzle of job satisfaction has multiple objectives which can change midway, can be reached through different goals and actions, and worse still, can have more than one solution. This puzzle of job satisfaction requires a different mindset.

What is your level of job satisfaction or dissatisfaction? If you have a problem of job satisfaction in your current job, you will be able to overcome the hurdles of job satisfaction if you can identify it's level. If, instead, you are satisfied in your current job, your level of job satisfaction will 'instruct' you about the next course of action for you.

Surprisingly, even entrepreneurs also face this challenge; except with one difference. While the cost of job satisfaction is paid by the employer of corporate professional, in the case of entrepreneur, he pays it through his own pocket.

1 comment:

pierre grima said...

If you are satisfied with your job you can get up in the mornings and go to work with a smile on your face and come home with the same one.
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