You happiness and satisfaction at work is a balancing scale. It always has been, and it always will be. I’ve listened to hundreds of people “complain” about their job – everything from the light bulb above their head to an abusive boss, and complaints that should never be repeated! The thing is, no one is ever 100% satisfied/happy/engaged with their job. There’s usually something about the job that they loathe – perhaps it’s the accounting for a solopreneur, or taking attendance for a teacher, or annoying conference calls. My point is, work is still, well, work.
Determine What Motivates YOU at Work – The Balance Scale
I had a difficult time at various stages throughout my career, to determine WHY I was not happy at work. I pointed to different things about the company or my boss or the commute or anything. It took me years and a lot of trial and error, to finally figure out that happiness with your job can mostly be measured on a balance scale, by two things – for me, the balance has been interesting work versus salary. I’ve never needed an equal balance and I think that striving for one may be impossible, but I have needed one of these two things to rise above the other in order for me to stay at a job. Since this realization, every time I evaluate a position, opportunity, promotion, project, etc. – I figure out what that balance is going to be. There have several times in my career where I’ve taken a lateral move, or a step back in pay, only to be rewarded with an amazing challenge. For instance, when the work is no longer interesting enough, I need to be making a lot more money for the same job, in order to keep myself engaged and employed there.
Understanding that there is a tipping scale or balance, is a critical KEY in figuring out what your dream job is. You need to be aware of what two things drive YOU the most. Here are some drivers that have come up most often in my HR life:
- Company Prestige
- Learning from a Boss
- Long-term Goals
There is going to be a handful of things or drivers that you identify with either from the list above, or innately in your gut. Write them down and whittle your list down to two. If you’re struggling, think of what you contemplated when you accepted your last job; or things you looked for when you searched for a job. The most important thing here is to give yourself permission to BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF. This is your balance scale and will help you change your current job into the job of your dreams.
I’d love to hear from you about what makes up your balance scale – leave a comment or send me a note.