You’re not alone if you answered “no”.
In fact, a study showed that New Englanders have the lowest rate of job satisfaction in the country.
While I’m not sure why New England stands out in this way, I do believe there are essential factors that contribute to sustained job satisfaction.
The first factor, and most often overlooked in our culture of busyness, is a work and life harmony that allows for priorites to co exist, not compete, for your attention.
When your work hours or schedule are flexible enough to accommodate important personal or family obligations and commitments, as well as activities that support your health and wellness, you feel less conflicted and less stressed. Additionally important is a work culture that encourages vacations and time to recharge, and discourages sustained patterns of overwork.
The second factor contributing to job satisfaction is that you enjoy using the particular competencies your job requires. While being rewarded and promoted for certain skills can add to job satisfaction, it’s only part of the equation. If certain skills leave you indifferent, you will eventually lose interest and your job satisfaction is likely to decrease.
The third factor is an alignment between your values and the mission of the organization and the job itself. If you are disconnected to or disapprove of your employer’s mission or if you cannot find personal meaning in your job, you are not likely to feel satisfied, no matter how much your employer recognizes your efforts.
The fourth factor is that your work centers around interests and topics that engage you. A measure of this is whether you can be engrossed while reading a professional journal or book, or whether you find work-related conversations with colleagues enlivening and enjoyable, rather than boring and dull.
The last factor is a workplace environment that feels safe and supportive. If you feel emotionally or physically ill at ease in your work setting, or if you experience co-workers or bosses as non-supportive, you are not likely to feel sustained job satisfaction.
Perhaps one or more of these factors explains your lack of job satisfaction and will help you to evaluate any alternative job options you might be considering.