Satisfying work

I’ve got only a few minutes to highlight a topic that has filled many books, so I’ll try to write succinctly.

Here is what I have discovered for myself. You may have reached different conclusions. Starting at the top, here are some fundamental factors affecting your perception of work as pleasure or pain:

Almost any work is satisfying if you can do it at your own pace.

The most interesting work in the world can be made unbearable, if you are forced to do it in a sequence and at a pace that is not of your own choosing.

Job satisfaction is actually more important than the money you take home. That is why acknowledgement from your peers and managers can easily make up for a lower salary.

Any job that requires you to lie for others will eat you out from the inside until you are no longer able to look at yourself in the mirror.

People will work unbelievable hours for little or no pay if they know they are helping to make the world a better place.

People will perform miracles working for a manager they trust.

You might want to look at your current work scene and see if you can make some adjustments that will let you take advantage of these factors. I will discuss how you might do that in future posts, if there is any interest. šŸ™‚

This entry was posted in Basic Business Concepts, Doing What You Love, Working For Others. Bookmark the permalink.

0 Responses to Satisfying work

  1. andy says:

    My personal variant on your first two points has more to do with people than pace:

    Almost any work can be satisfying if you can do it amongst people who trust and actively support each other.

    And any work can become unbearable if you’re forced to work with people for whom trust, respect, support and companionship have no value.

  2. Karen says:

    I second andy’s points. Being in a so-so job with people you like being around, trust and support sometimes makes it all worthwhile.

    You could be in the best job in the world, but if you’re surrounded by ‘toxic’ people, get out while you can.

  3. Richard says:

    You succeeded in being succinct. I would be interested in your further discussion on this blog. Also, I would add to the fourth point:

    Any job that requires you to < > will eat you out from the inside until you are no longer able to look at yourself in the mirror.

  4. TimChuma says:

    Almost everything I do in my spare time is to make up for what I feel that I am not getting from work.

    I regularly take time off work (I wouldn’t use it otherwise) to go see bands that have concerts during the week and have used my entire holidays for one year to go to the major film festival in the city I live in.


  5. We obviously were on the same wavelength Tuesday but you put it much more succintly. We all need to realize that job satisfaction is so much more important than salary, position or power. I didn’t realize that for so much of my professional life and it was my failure. When I started doing what I wanted I coined the following motto for my business:

    “Determine what sucks…Don’t do it.”

    From time to time, I run across a potential client who is offended by the motto. That’s fine. Tells me up front that this is probably somebody I shouldn’t work with anyway. We both go away happy.

  6. Carrie says:

    I love this post and all the great comments. All valuable, all true, and should be taught in high school and post-secondary institutions.

  7. Jeremy says:

    I agree with all the points, and have direct experience with 1 and 2 as a student of mechanical design.

    The question then becomes, “How do you set up your life such that you get to work at your own pace?”

    And again we face the situation where the most pertinent questions to solve in life are also those that require the greatest insight. And insight I suppose is only gained through keen observation, unbounded curiosity, and the unflagging will to find answers. Experience (but not age) helps.

    I suspect a generic answer will be somewhere along the lines of doing something without direct, head-on competition. And where, once you get going, the market’s yours to take at your own pace.

    One can only have a chance of doing that when one is self-employed. Employees are squeezed like lemons till the pips pop out.

    And that pace needn’t necessarily be slower. Some people are very, very internally driven and can’t deal with all those people shuffling their feet and not recognizing the pertinent issues.

  8. Richard brings up a point I’d like to expand —

    It is a rare job that satisfies all of one’s needs. A job that allows the time and energy to address the needs it does not address is bearable. A job that requires sustained privations in any area of life is unbearable.

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