Working over 40 hours a week to earn a living means that your job becomes an essential part of your mental health. Job satisfaction is critical to a healthy and productive career, but many workers take a “trial and error” approach to their career path, which can result in unhappiness, burnout, and a general lack of purpose. Learning to be successful in your career involves a long process of self-discovery and self-awareness, so how do you begin such a process?
Job satisfaction means different things for different people, but the first step is to determine what it means for you.
Depending on age, educational background, ambition, and personality traits such as your level of introversion or extroversion, job satisfaction is a multi-faceted obstacle that can only be overcome with the knowledge you have about yourself. You must identify what you are passionate about before proceeding further in your career. This is because being engaged in your work is critical to your satisfaction – staying focused, present, and productive directly correlates with how happy you are at your job.
There is more to this story though. Job satisfaction also depends on your boss.
If you’re doing things that you’re excited and passionate about, you’re on your way to creating a perfect career for yourself, but a bad boss can take your satisfaction down to a new low. Feeling respected and recognized is critical to the work you do. Nothing worthwhile can happen in a vacuum – the people you work with and report to become just as important as the work you’re doing.
Compensation is part of the job satisfaction equation as well. Many workers would choose recognition from their supervisor or CEO over a bonus, but that depends on the person and the level of importance that they place on financial compensation.
So how do you figure out what is most important to you? Ask yourself these questions.
You don’t need to know the answer right away, but working out to these critical questions over time will get you started on a satisfying career path.
- What motives me?
- Why did I take my current job in the first place?
- What inspires me?
- What sort of people do I want to work with?
These questions and their answers will give you the perspective you need to succeed. Your job will have meaning only to the extent that you give it meaning, and you can’t give much without knowing your values and beliefs.
Working 40 hours a week doesn’t need to be a life sentence. Nurturing your mental health by knowing yourself, working in an environment that offers praise and recognition is a healthy start. Even in your current job today, you can work towards the ideal job that will give you the satisfaction necessary to break your bonds and feel completely satisfied with the work you do. It’s possible – now go for it!