We spend the majority of our waking day at work. In fact, it’s estimated we spend over a third of our lives working. It’s no surprise then that finding a job we are satisfied with is high on the agenda for most of us. Unfortunately, the reality is at some point in your life you’re likely to be in a job you hate. The type of job that makes you want to stay in bed, call in sick or just walk out in the middle of the day.
While the majority of employers understand the value in cultivating work satisfaction in their businesses, the reality is you could be in one of the best places to work and still hate your job if it doesn’t align with what you expect or want from your work life.
The good news is, it’s not all up to our employers to create job satisfaction. With some reflection, discussion and strategic decision making you can create work satisfaction so you can start each day feeling inspired and jumping out of bed ready for your day.
Understand the difference between the kind of work you do and work conditions.
Do you hate your job because you don’t get along with your boss, or disagree with your way your company operates? Or do you intrinsically dislike the type of day-to-day tasks you do in your role?
Understanding the distinction between the two is essential in knowing what steps you need to take to create satisfaction and fulfilment. Consider what is causing dissatisfaction in your current or previous roles and whether it’s something that is cultural or something that is role specific. Common causes include:
- Feeling undervalued and/or unrecognised
- Feeling underpaid
- Lack of career progression
- Poor management and work culture
Work you do:
- Not enjoying the tasks you do
- Feeling unfulfilled creatively
- Feeling bored or understimulated
Know what ‘work’ means to you and what you expect from it.
Once you have an idea of what hasn’t worked for you in the past you can build on these to get a clear vision and understanding of what ‘work’ means for you. While job satisfaction usually arises from a combination of factors, everyone has different priorities and understanding of what they want from ‘work’.
- Is creating wealth and financial security your main priority when looking for work? If so look for roles and a career path that has clear salary pathways as you progress and gain experience. If you’re currently feeling underpaid take steps to address this with your employer.
- Request a salary review
- Have an open discussion about your employers pay rise policy and map out your milestones.
Having an understanding of when you can expect a pay rise and what the process is will help keep you motivated and clear on how you are progressing financially.
Ask for career path transparency or create your own plan.
You don’t need to be aggressively ambitious to want to know you can grow and progress in your career. Feeling stuck in your job with nowhere to go can cause no end of frustration and dissatisfaction.
- If you can, discuss your goals and aspirations with your managers and HR team, and create a transparent plan for how you can progress in the company.
- If you don’t have HR, are working in a small business with limited opportunities, or simply have disengaged or unhelpful management, figure out what your next step is after this role so you have a clear idea of what your next career step is. Need help? Follow our 5 step plan for your next career move.
Even if you don’t act on it straight away, knowing you have a plan is enough to stop you feeling stuck and create more work satisfaction in your existing role.
Look for roles with a company you align with
We all have bad days at work. It’s inevitable and human. And when those days come you want to be working for a business you align with. Whether it’s their purpose, their values, their goals or their target market, having alignment will help you feel purposeful in your work and create more satisfaction in your job.
Build rapport with your colleagues
We spend more time with them than family so try to build good, respectful relationships with your colleagues. No, you don’t need to be going to each other’s family bbq’s, but having a good rapport with your colleagues creates a sense of community and belonging, two key contributors to work satisfaction.
So ditch the politics and gossip in favour of professional, friendly banter and you’ll find much more happiness in going to work every day.
Focus on work-life balance
It may seem obvious but if you’re happy in your life, you’re generally more likely to be happy at work. Work-life balance and flexible work conditions now rank amongst the top priorities for job seekers.
Put energy into creating interests and social activities that sit outside of work. Prioritising health and wellness is also key to creating work satisfaction by helping to reduce stress, anxiety and depression.
Want to create more work satisfaction in a new job but need certification? Recognised prior learning can help you get your existing skills and experience qualified without further education.