Last time we looked at some recent research that claimed one in five people work in jobs that they are poorly suited to. Despite having the skills and knowledge to do the job, the fact remains that people can find themselves working in positions that they have no passion for, but endure 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, and any job at one level, is better than no job at all, even if it brings no challenge or personal satisfaction. Certainly there is a time and place for unfulfilling jobs. They can be a means to an end – short term pain as it were, while working toward a 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 cheque. 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 move a storeroom full of boxes to another location within the warehouse, only to be instructed the following day to move them back again. They worked hard, achieved their daily objectives, and earned their wages, yet had in no way contributed to anything. Other than the workers who received their wages, no one benefited from their efforts. They produced nothing of substance or value.

Being productive brings a sense of self satisfaction and achievement because we see either a tangible or intangible outcome for our effort. Whether our contribution is direct or indirect doesn’t really matter as long as we are part of something bigger, which at the end of the day makes a difference 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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