You spent about 8 hours at work per day, so that makes for 40 hours a week. Keeping in mind you are also supposed to sleep 8 hours a day, you only have 8 hours of your day left to relax, which is not enough to fully recover from true stress. Therefore, having a job that you like and that gives you energy, instead of only taking it, is important for your overall happiness. But what should you look for if you are looking at job satisfaction?
1. Job fit
First of all, you have to find out what job characteristics fit with who you are. When looking at the Big 5 personality traits, this can for instance mean if you like to work with people, or do you prefer to have more time alone? Do you like to have set protocols to work by, or do you like exploring new ways to do something? Are you neat, or do you you thrive in chaos?
When you take me as an example, face to face contact is important to me. However, I do like to do things my own way. Therefore, I look for jobs where I work mainly alone, but I have a lot of contact with clients. I love research, but doing research in a university setting would feel too lonely, thus I prefer to work in a consultancy firm. I am also not the most neat person in the world and thus, I prefer to work on one big project opposed to several smaller ones, since that gives me more of an overview of what I am doing.
2. Company fit
Then, there needs to be a fit with the company. You might find your ideal job, but if you hate your colleagues, what good does this do? The company culture is often much harder to find out before actually working there. The most clear picture will probably be given during the job interview. Do you click with the people in front of you? Does it feel like a conversation, instead of an inquisition? If you feel very awkward, this might not be the firm for you. Another way to test this in the interview is when you get to ask questions. How do they respond when you ask about the company culture? Asking this will give you more information and you come across as more interested, which is always a good thing.
You can also go to in-house days or drink coffee with people from the company. This way, you already know before the interview what the culture is like and you get talk to people in a more casual setting. The only downside at in-house days is that most companies see them as promotional events and therefore, they can only show their most positive side. When having coffee or during the interview, they will probably be a little more open and honest about the company. This is what you need, because otherwise, what is the point of asking?
Another way to find this out without them knowing, is by looking at their social media platforms. This keeps you anonymous and is easy and quick to do, which are definite benefits. However, the company will probably only show the best side of the company and at younger companies without a steady marketing team, the social media might not yet be reflective of the company, due to a lack of strategy (positively or negatively). Therefore, social media might provide a glimpse of the information, but there is only a low chance of you getting the full picture. Therefore, this should only be the starting point of your investigation.
3. Job crafting and autonomy
Job crafting has been found to be an important factor in the satisfaction you have in your job. Are you able to help shape the work you do and how you do it, or does the company wants you to work their way? Although some people might find this easier to deal with than others, it is still recommended to find jobs that allow you to shape what and how you do your job, even if this only means planning your own schedule.
This is linked to a certain amount of autonomy. Is your manager a micro-manager, or do you have an influence on the decisions you make in your work? Of course, both of these factors will be less so when you are a starter or when you just started a new job, but in time, there should be options for you to work your own way. I, for instance, used to work for a company that held on to protocols and rules very strictly, unless you started performing well. With experience and results, autonomy and job crafting opportunities came as well.
If this is not the case now, discuss this at work! This can of course be hard, but you can do this with little steps at the time. For instance, ask your manager to try something new within the protocol, since it might fit your personality better. Some daredevils also just do it and ask permission later, which can be smarter for small changes. I would however not recommend it in big things, since it might get you fired if the results do not follow the change you made. You can also ask how open the company is to changes in the protocol during your interview. However, I would be careful with this, since you don’t want to come off as a rebel too much right away. You can also look at their website. Companies that describe themselves as progressive are often more willing to make changes than traditional ones and smaller companies are often more flexible than bigger ones.
When you want a new job, always look for a job that allows you to learn. Of course, it should not be way above your level, since that will give you too much stress. But, it was found that boredom is a huge source of stress as well. In that sense, a job should challenge you and allow you to learn and be engaging, in order to give you happiness. This can be by offering learning opportunities or growth opportunities. Setting challenges and targets that actually challenge you to do better might also work. Training opportunities are often mentioned in vacancies and are a good point for job interviews. In a second or third interview, you might also want to discuss opportunities to progress within the company later on and what reward systems are in place.
In mentioning reward systems, it is important to note that extrinsic motivations like money might decrease your motivation in the long term. Therefore, rewards should not be the only thing you work for. It is also important to look at who you are; are you mostly intrinsically or extrinsically motivated? Reward systems can also be secondary opportunities like holiday days, late starts or being employer of the month.
So in summary, you should fit with the job description, as well as the company. It should challenge you. You should not feel trapped within the walls of your job description, in order to gain some happiness from your work. Do you know of any other important factors? Please, mention them below in the comment sections! Also, please follow me on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter. You can also subscribe on the right and get an email every time I upload! For more related content, you can click here!
Lots of love,
LisaHome » All posts »
Thank you so much for this! I’ve never throught about these factors before, especially the challenging one. The idea of being in a job in which I’m stuck (ie not learning) freaks me out, as I love learning more.
Will definitely be considering all of this when looking for a job
I have the same! I couldn’t imagine one day just going through the motions without anything left to learn. I hope you’ll find your dream job!