By Robert Stitt
Why do some people love their jobs and some people dread going to work every day? If you think it’s because of the pay, you will be surprised. Not only is pay not the main factor in workplace satisfaction, it is not even one of the top five reasons people are happy in their jobs according to a recent survey by JobDig. So, if it isn’t money that makes people happy in their jobs, what is it? Would you believe that the secret is “lifestyle?” When your job is in alignment with who you are, there is happiness. When your job conflicts with the things you find important, the result is stress and workplace displeasure.
Below are 4 things you should consider when selecting a job to ensure your work aligns with your lifestyle.
- Look beyond the salary. You may be offered a lot of money, but companies are typically savvy. They are going to make you work for that money. A six-figure salary at 40 hours per week is a nice chunk of change. But it you’re putting in 60 hours at the office and another 20 at home, you are now effectively only making 50 grand a year. Plus, you don’t have much time left in your day for anything else you might want to do. This can have a severe impact on your family life, friendships, and health.
- Look beyond the job title. Job titles can be changed with the ease of writing a memo. What is an Executive Vice President of Information, Director of Vision, or Chief Inspiration Officer (CIO)? Fancy titles don’t necessarily mean more pay, and they certainly don’t guarantee happiness? Even things that you know about such as a movie star or a surgeon can sound good on paper, but if you don’t really understand what the job entails you can find yourself in a depressing situation. After all, if you don’t really like doing the job, it doesn’t matter how great the title is. Being a movie star sounds fun, but have you ever actually been on a movie set? Have you tried memorizing the lines and then performing the same scene 20, 30, or 40 times in a row? Do you know how much time the job takes to perform? Will it take you out of the area for long periods of time? There are so many important questions that often do not get asked because the title sounds so amazing.
- Understand what motivates you. Consider the tasks and the work environment you are stepping into. Do you love supervising people or does the thought of standing up front in a staff meeting give you the willies? Are you a detail-oriented person, are you incredibly accurate in all that you do, is creativity more or less important that strict adherence to policy? Beyond the work environment, think about the job progression. Are you going to be happy doing the same thing for the next 20 years or are you promotion-focused and want plenty of career progression. Choosing the wrong mix of these elements is a recipe for sorrow.
- Think laterally. Sometimes you love the job, but you don’t love the company; sometimes you love the company, but can’t stand the job. You don’t have to throw the baby out with the bathwater and start all over. If it’s the job you don’t like, talk with HR and let them know you would like to consider a job in another area. If you are a valued asset, then cross-training may be something they would consider for you. If not, there’s always the competitor across town.