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Secrets to job satisfaction

It’s fair to say that most people spend more time at work than they do with friends or family, so job satisfaction is high up the list of priorities when it comes to being happy. Sadly though, many people report feeling dissatisfied with work, but here are a few clues as to how you can turn that situation around.

Why job satisfaction is elusive

People often talk about job satisfaction being linked to doing something you love for a living. Unfortunately, it’s not quite that easy. Otherwise we’d all be making money out of walking on the beach!

In my experience, it’s difficult to find that one “thing” that someone will love to do for the rest of their working life, and people often spend years searching for it to no avail.

Tip 1: Get control

Realistically, control has a big role to play in job satisfaction and it’s often an easier target than finding something you “love” to do for a living. Obviously, business owners who have creative direction over where a business is going can find a lot of job satisfaction: certainly, in my case, having grown my business from the ground up, I find that's where my job satisfaction comes into play.

However, people who have autonomy (even some autonomy) in terms of where and how work is performed can create a lot of job satisfaction too: if you’re not a business owner or self-employed, it’s certainly something worth exploring with your boss.

Tip 2: Figure out how to help others

Experience has shown me that this is also a fantastic way to find job satisfaction. There’s a feel-good factor involved in helping other people and providing them with satisfying outcomes, leading to a sense of purpose in your work: it could come from solving a problem for a client or helping your customer base to enrich themselves.

I find this sort of satisfaction in my own job in a number of different ways. For instance, I get it from seeing my brokers build a future for themselves. I also see it in my clients, whether they're on the “sell” side—for instance, because they’re retiring and they need enough money to exit their business and live a satisfying life—or because they're entering self-employment and creating a future for themselves.

Tip 3: Giving others job satisfaction

At a recent dinner with other BRW Fast 100 entrepreneurs the single biggest operational issue discussed amongst the dinner guests was staff retention. It’s no secret that your staff’s satisfaction levels lead to job retention So getting the formula right for your staff is a great way to ensure your business runs smoothly and it will have a knock-on effect to your own happiness within your business.

There is a lot of literature written on this subject. Above we touched on control, which can also be described as autonomy or influence. Next we talked about helping others and the sense of purpose it provides. Feeling respected, appreciated and acknowledged for your achievements is high on the list. Unfortunately, when you are the boss it can be a thankless position, so one must focus on their achievements, yet that doesn’t preclude you from freely delivering the feel good factor to your staff, as long as it comes from a place of sincerity. Other important factors include; complexity and variety of work, growth and development, work/life balance, and relationships with coworkers.

Tip 3: Aim past the job

At the end of the day, another way to find job satisfaction is by keeping things in perspective. Your job is a means to an end. Ideally, if you create enough wealth for yourself, you can then go and do other, and possibly more rewarding, things with your hard-earned cash.

It could be that you build up your finances to a certain level whereby you don't have to work anymore, and then you can go and do charitable things or spend more time with family.

Even before that point, a solid financial base means that you can direct your money towards travel or other outlets that bring you joy and reward.


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Mark Jason
LINK Australia, Managing Director