Recent research claims that 1 in 5 people work in jobs that they are poorly suited to. Despite having the skills and knowledge to physically do the job, the fact remains that people find themselves working in positions that they have no passion for. They endure however because they feel they have no other options. But why would anyone do that?
The obvious answer is that there are bills to be paid and a lifestyle to be maintained. After all any job is better than no job isn’t it? Certainly there is a time and place for working in an unfulfilling job. They can of course be a means to an end – short term pain as it were, while working toward a bigger, longer term gain. In previous generations, workers stayed with the one employer for their whole career, but this is now rare. Today’s employees are increasingly looking for job satisfaction, not just a regular pay packet. So why is job satisfaction such a big deal?
There are a number of reasons. Firstly, we want to know that we can make a contribution. I remember hearing about a work crew who were given instructions one particular day to dig a hole, only to be instructed to fill it in again the following day. They worked hard, achieved their daily objectives, and earned their wages. But they had also made no contribution to anything. Other than the workers who received their wages, no one benefited from their efforts. They produced nothing of any substance or value.
Productivity typically brings a sense of self satisfaction and achievement. This is because we can see tangible or intangible outcomes for our effort. Whether our contribution is direct or indirect doesn’t really matter as long as we are part of something bigger, and a difference is made to someone’s life in one way or another. Next time we’ll explore some of the other ways in which job satisfaction can impact our lives and take us to places we could never imagined.
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