The Science Behind Job Satisfaction


Do you love your job? Like do you really love your job? Only a very small percentage of people can honestly say that they love what they do. But have you ever wondered what sets these people apart? There’s actually an entire science behind loving your job. Let’s take a look.

Job Satisfaction

Why We Feel Like Our Job Defines Us

Children are frequently asked questions like, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” While we all understand the intention behind this question, have you ever paused long enough to think about what it’s asking? The question insinuates that your job is who you are. Who you want to be is directly tied to the career you choose.

Over the years, society has told us that personal self-worth and identity is found in work. “This is known as ‘work-role centrality,’” psychologist Robert Leahy explains. “It means that work is central to your sense of who you are.”

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While we know deep down inside that our job doesn’t define us, it’s hard to separate our identity from our career. It’s the structure of the world we live in and something we must deal with.

Loving Your Job Shouldn’t be a Dream

We’ve all had a job or two that we absolutely hated. Maybe you’re in one of those jobs right now. There’s arguably nothing worse than a job you hate. According to a survey from the Household, Income and Labor Dynamics in Australia, even being unemployed is better.

“Unemployment is stressful, but it still leaves room for possibilities,” journalist John Haltiwanger suggests. “When you’re unemployed, you focus all of your efforts on finding a fulfilling position. Yet, when you’re working a dead-end job, you’re so depleted at the end of the day it’s difficult to begin thinking about the future.”

How to Find a Job You Love

Whether you’re in a job you hate, unemployed, or looking to launch a new career, it’s important that you find a job that’s intrinsically satisfying. If you struggle with work-role centrality, then you should definitely see a psychologist or therapist to work through underlying problems, but you’re ultimately going to be better off finding a job you love (even if it means more money).

Here are a few tips to think about:

1. Combine Multiple Interests

As people, we are unique from other species in that we’re multi-dimensional. We can enjoy a variety of things and don’t always fit into a neat little box. When looking for a job you’ll love, try to find a role that combines two or more of your interests.

For example, Park West Gallery, one of the world’s largest art dealers, regularly hires traveling fine art auctioneers. The auctioneers not only get the chance to be around art and engage people, but they also get to travel the world. That satisfies not one, but two interests. Therefore, the auctioneers are twice as likely to be satisfied with their job.

2. Consider the People

It’s not always about the actual job you have. Employees can be totally happy doing something as mundane and rigorous as cutting grass for 60 hours a week during the blazing hot summer weather if they’re with the right people.

People can make or break a job. If you like spending time with your co-workers and they build you up and make you laugh, then you’re much more likely to be satisfied with your job. Keep this in mind.

You Can be Happy With Your Job

It’s not always easy to find a job that makes you happy, but you can do it. It’ll take time and effort but the long-term benefits will be tremendous.

Article by Larry Alton