If you are employed, you spend approximately eight hours per day - one half of your waking life excluding holidays, weekends and vacations - at your job. For your sense of well being, its important that you like what you do.
What makes for job satisfaction? There's been considerable research aimed at this question but no clear answers found yet. Job satisfaction is too complex a phenomenon to be reduced to simple causal factors.
In his book, Understanding Job Satisfaction (John Wiley & Sons, 1979), Michael M. Gruneberg, a British psychologist, presents the results of the research on job satisfaction. People are unique and have different needs, he states, and so differ in what satisfies them in their work. ome like security and structure; others like flexibility and the opportunity to be creative. Some like boring jobs that don't involve or tax them; others want to be challenged and committed. Nevertheless, there are some common factors that contribute to job satisfaction for many people.
Pay. People obviously need an adequate income if they are to be satisfied with their jobs. Money not only enables them to support their families sign of recognition and worth.
It's usually not actual levels of pay that account for job satisfaction, however, but relative levels. People judge how well or poorly they're paid by comparison with their peers. If they feel they're underpaid compared to their colleagues, they'll probably be dissatisfied with their income no matter what it is.
One study of high school- and college-educated managers found that the high school graduates were satisfied with their pay because they were doing well compared to other high school graduates. By contrast, the college graduates were dissatisfied because they weren't doing as well as other college graduates. In this study, the pay was the same but the levels of satisfaction were quite different for the two groups.
Security is one of those factors that doesn't necessarily contribute to job satisfaction when it's present, but contributes strongly to job dissatisfaction when it's absent. A secure job is not automatically a satisfying job but an insecure job can contribute to many restless nights.
Relationships with others. One of the non-economic benefits of work is the opportunity to meet and work with other people with similar interests and backgrounds. Some of the strongest, longest lasting friendships are formed at work. In general, the better people relate with others at work, the more satisfied they will be with their jobs. The most dissatisfied people are those who feel isolated at work.
Supervision. Most people prefer supervisors who are friendly, pleasant and supportive, although a few authoritarian individuals like authoritarian bosses. What is also important in satisfaction with supervision is supervisor competence. No one likes to work for a boss who is incompetent. The best supervisors are those who know what they're doing and are committed to getting a job done, yet are friendly and pleasant to work for.
Organizational climate. Gruneberg distinguishes between authoritarian and democratic organizations and concludes that some people like to work for one type of organization, while others prefer to work for the other type. Those who are more creative and have a greater need for autonomy and flexibility prefer democratic organizations.
There are many other factors that contribute to job satisfaction which I will discuss future articles.
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