Many years ago I worked in consultancy and training, so I know a bit about what makes people tick, at work and at home.
Job Satisfaction and Motivation
Few people would argue with the fact that workers who enjoy job satisfaction are likely to be the most productive. Most people would love to do something they like and get paid for it. Time and time again, when successful people are interviewed, we hear them say that they are so fortunate to get paid for doing something they enjoy. And that, in itself, is the reason they are successful. They are motivated and work hard because they know what job satisfaction feels like and success follows.
But, for many of us, it's not quite like that. Various life choices we have made in the past, family circumstances beyond our control or job changes forced upon us by business closures may mean that we find ourselves working in an organisation doing something that we may not be best suited to. But one of the problems is that there is not often time to stop and think about what we do and if it is right for us. There is the relentless pressure to earn money to pay the bills and sometimes there is social pressure to stick at it because we are perceived to have "a good job" and it's not the done thing to admit we've made some wrong choices and need to do something different. But there may come a time when we need to sit down and analyse where we are and what we are doing, so here is a list of 10 questions that can help us analyse if we're in the right job, or not. You could think of it as a job satisfaction questionnaire.
When you've read through these points, go to the poll at the bottom of the page and let us all know how much job satisfaction you have.
Ten Questions About Job Satisfaction
1. Do you begin to feel anxious in the evening about work the next day?
There can be few things as unsettling as anxiety about going to work. Especially when it interferes with time set aside for relaxation with family and friends. By and large, evenings are meant to be for unwinding, whether it is simply a night's TV or enjoying some sport or a hobby, and to have one's mind on work the next day is not a good sign that you're in the right job. Of course, there will be days when there is some anxiety because of key meetings or a presentation but this should not be the norm.
2. Do you talk obsessively about work to any body who will listen?
Enthusiasm for your work is to be admired and wanting to share it with others can be a good sign. But talking repetitively and obsessively about what you do, and trying to unload problems onto others whenever you meet them is not healthy, and you may well lose your friends. After all who wants be bored on a regular basis by somebody moaning about their work when we often have enough problems and challenges of our own.
3. Do you have to work late regularly?
There are times when you may have to work late to finish something to meet a deadline but if you are regularly working late to impress your boss, or just to cope with the work load then it will eventually result in "burn out." I don't accept that anybody can regularly work excessive hours and be truly effective in what they do, even if it seems to be company culture to start early and stay late. And if you are having to do this just to cope or to keep your job then it will become very stressful, so it may be best to consider a job change before it gets to that stage.
4. Are you short tempered at work?
If you are not in the right job and find every day stressful, sooner or later it will start to show. You may start each day trusting that it will be better than the last but sooner or later something will happen that will frustrate or irritate you and the built up stress will explode in an angry outburst. I know this from personal experience. I was in the wrong job and found myself developing a shorter and shorter fuse. Both at work and at home I was becoming less tolerant and thoroughly bad tempered—it was time for a change! Watch the video to see how stress eventually boils over! Frightening!
5. Do you feel your boss is incompetent?
It's very difficult to work hard for, and co-operate with somebody for whom you have little or no respect so if you think your boss is incompetent sooner or later you will have to find something else to do. Unless they leave first, of course. Businesses that thrive are almost guaranteed to have good communication between staff and their respective departments and this will not happen if you and you boss don't get along because you challenge their skills and abilities.
6. Do you envy other peoples jobs?
If you spend too much time thinking about other people's jobs and wishing you could change places with them, then it may be time for a change. It's important to ask yourself what is it about their jobs that you envy. Is it the travel? The freedom or the responsibility perhaps? By turning your envy into a positive analysis of what you want to do, you may be able to work out what direction you would like your career to progress in. It may be a good idea to talk to one of your friends about what they actually do because it may just be that your perceptions about their work are false. That said, if you do envy other people's jobs with good reason, then if it is realistic, start working towards a career change.
7. Are you sick of being delegated to?
When we first go to work we naturally accept that we know little or nothing about the business and willingly accept being told what to do. But as we grow in experience many of us want to take more control of our working day. When it gets to the stage that you really want to take responsibility for your work and that of others, then you have almost certainly outgrown the job you are in. If there is no way forward for you, frustration will start to build up and the only option may well to be change jobs
8. Do you feel stressed?
This links in to the short temper and anxiety mentioned above. These emotional traits will cause stress as you try to hold it altogether, and combine this with tiredness caused by working late or lack of sleep, and it's a recipe for serious problems. Excessive stress can eventually result in the total inability to cope with work and needs to be avoided. It's a sign that something needs to change.
9. Have you had to give up interests because of work?
A balanced life is a healthy life and maintaining the balance between work and leisure is important, although it can be difficult. In fact, it gets more difficult as work intrudes into the home as so many of us now have the ability to "just check a few emails" or "prepare for a meeting tomorrow" any time of night or day. It wasn't like that not so many years ago. Generally, work stayed at work. But now it extends into the home and it can push out hobbies and interests that we enjoy. Resentment can set in if we don't get a chance to do the things that help us relax so it may be best to consider a job change if that's an option.
10. Does your job offer progression?
We have to be realistic and recognise that some jobs are just that—jobs. They are not the first step on a career ladder, they are just jobs that need to be done. And, thankfully, there are people who want to do simple, straightforward tasks which involve no decision making or stress. Without such individuals many industries would grind to a halt. But if you need ongoing challenges and progression, you will not be happy doing such a job for very long and will need to consider a change.
Consider Your Answers
This list is in no particular order, and you may or may not recognise some of the situations outlined in the questions above. But if you do find you're asking yourself these questions and the answers are not positive, then you may well need to consider a change of job.
If you don't do anything about your frustrations, you could end up behaving like the guy in this video!
Job Satisfaction Poll
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
a.b on December 08, 2010:
thanks for suggestion
bigmikeh (author) from UK on November 01, 2010:
Thanks for spotting the typo! Written ages ago and I never noticed it.
Niiyke from Lagos, Nigeria on October 30, 2010:
Very Interesting. You missed out the 't' in satisfaction, in your heading Job Satisfaction and motivation.
bigmikeh (author) from UK on January 19, 2010:
Thanks for your suggestion, Roger.
Roger on January 18, 2010:
Those are great questions to ask yourself about your job. Probably another one to ask is if you could run the business for a day, how would you help reduce the stress and anxiety people in your position have. Maybe the answer to that question could be something that you could suggest to your management and possibly get some positive change in the works.