Job satisfaction is often fleeting.
I noticed this for the first time when my job satisfaction was at its peak. I rolled into my annual review feeling like I’d nailed it. The boss acknowledged my performance but quickly followed with a comment that immediately cut my job satisfaction in half…
“It’s not about what you’ve done, it’s about what have you done for me lately”.
They weren’t satisfied, so I wouldn’t be satisfied. This haunted me for months.
Ever been there?
Because the Company “Can’t Get No Satisfaction”
The system most of us work in is based on a cycle of “Can’t Get No Satisfaction”.
They want more. You deliver more. They want more again.
While this might sound like a downer, it isn’t necessarily bad. In fact it’s pushed me to work harder, move beyond my comfort zone, and reach goals that I previously thought were unattainable.
You can see how this has motivated years of company production and innovation. Consider the iPhone and Windows. What would have happen if Steve Jobs and Bill Gates declared “mission accomplished”?
Think we’d ever get the touch screen?
While this approach yields company results it doesn’t help your personal job satisfaction very much. In fact it makes it a lot harder.
If your customers, boss, and coworker will never be completely satisfied, how can you be?
Own Your Job Satisfaction
There’s only one way to consistently experience job satisfaction….own it yourself.
Owning your job satisfaction puts you in control of your peace of mind, helps you sleep better at night, and prevents burnout.
Here are three steps for owning your own job satisfaction:
- Define your personal condition of satisfaction. Establish what “satisfaction” looks like. How do you know a good job when you’ve done one? You can define this by filling in the following…“I will be satisfied when _________”. Are you waiting around from someone else to tell you? No need for that anymore 🙂
- Stretch. Make your condition of satisfaction something you stretch to achieve. Take what you wrote in the template above and turn it up just a notch. This ensures your own personal growth as well as makes progress towards your employer’s goals.
- Declare satisfaction when you get there. If you don’t acknowledge it, you’re waiting around on someone else to — totally unpredictable. Fill out the following…“I will celebrate by________”.
Here are two scenario’s where you can apply these steps…
Scenario #1 – Being Worked to Death
(aka working for someone with no clear condition of satisfaction)
This is when your boss wants more, and you find yourself thinking about work 24 hours a day without an off switch.
- Set your own condition of satisfaction – Give yourself a shortened time frame (3 to 5 days). Select a project milestone or an assignment you’re working on. Ask yourself “What could I realistically complete in that time frame and be satisfied with”?
- Stretch – To make it more of stretch, think how it would be if you stretched that condition of satisfaction 5% farther than you thought was possible. Note this is just to push you a tiny bit outside of your comfort zone, not stress you out.
- Declare satisfaction – Set a reminder on your calender 3-5 days out to check-in if you’ve met your condition of satisfaction. If you have, declare it complete and have a mini-celebration. If not, just tweak (not judge) your approach and revisit step #1.
Amp this up: Try having a conversation with your boss to clarify their condition of satisfaction for the job you’re doing.
Scenario #2 -Working Yourself to Death
(aka working without clarity of your own condition of satisfaction.)
This is when you’re starting to question why you’re working so much. You’d like to start leaving the office a little earlier so you could hit the gym and have more time with your friends and family. BUT there’s just so much work to do.
- Set your own condition of satisfaction – Work isn’t going anywhere. What does “enough for today” look like? How many days in a week could you leave a bit early?
- Stretch – If you felt satisfied with the work you’d done for today, consider what other parts of life could you improve your satisfaction.
- Declare satisfaction – Some people might interpret leaving early as “slacking off” but you and I know that it takes a lot of effort, intention, and even courage. If you can get out of the office early twice in a week, then time to celebrate, right?
Amp this up: Discuss your condition of satisfaction to leave early from work with your boss and coworkers. Ask for their support in helping you fulfill it.
Time to Own Your Job Satisfaction
Now take these 3 steps and try them in your work day. Notice how you have the power to boost your own job satisfaction.
PS: Found this motivating? Please open your email and send this to two of your coworkers.
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