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Published on July 15, 2019

9 Things the Most Satisfying Jobs Have in Common

9 Things the Most Satisfying Jobs Have in Common

Do you find your job satisfying? Take the elevator test. When you bump into your boss on the elevator, are you excited to see him/her because you feel pride in your accomplishments? Or do you mumble “hello,” and anxiously watch the floors tick by because you can’t wait to escape?

The most satisfying jobs — no matter the profession — share many things in common, from bosses whom you respect, to colleagues whom you enjoy working with, to an underlying feeling of autonomy.

A second diagnostic is the “five-year test.” Can you see yourself five years from now still working at this company? If so, chances are you have snagged one of the most satisfying jobs. Conversely, if you can’t muster the energy or enthusiasm for the work, and cannot see yourself staying at your company for more than a year, it’s time to start looking for a better place to apply your talents.

Here’re some qualities to look for as you seek out the most satisfying jobs:

1. A Boss Whom You Admire

Bosses set the tone of an organization. If your boss is someone who inspires you, count yourself lucky. Job satisfaction soars when bosses live their values, act with integrity, and have a transparent and honest communication style. You will rally behind them and give your best effort.

On the other hand, putting up with a bad boss can make work miserable and is the primary reason why one in two people leave their jobs.[1]

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2. A Boss Who Supports Your Growth

When your boss acts more like a coach than a taskmaster, it lets you stretch. You feel like your boss is grooming you for new roles and responsibilities, and it’s motivating! They bring you exciting projects and allows you to run with them without micro-managing. They check in to see how you’re faring, of course — but not all the time. Even better, once you complete your project, they give you full credit.

When your boss wants you to succeed, you’ll revel in job satisfaction.

Savvy businesses realize that, even beyond financial security, job happiness equates with opportunities for their employees.[2] AT&T, for example, offers workers a fast-track for earning certificates in company growth areas like artificial intelligence and data analytics.[3]

3. You Feel like an Entrepreneur Within Your Organization

On day one, your boss asks you how you think you can best contribute to the organization, and after hearing your ideas, gives you the leeway to go off and pursue them. Better still, no one watches when you clock in and out, which doesn’t matter anyway because you can’t wait to arrive to work on Mondays and are reluctant to walk out on Friday afternoons.

You have never felt more productive.

4. Your Boss, Your Boss’s Boss, and the Company Keep Their Promises

When you first interviewed, perhaps you didn’t receive the salary you wanted, but your boss promised you a performance review in six months. At that time, they gave you a raise. Or perhaps after your first year on the job, you asked for a promotion. You were told it was too soon, but that you’d receive a promotion after another year. And then you did!

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When you work for someone who keeps their promises, you will experience enduring job satisfaction. Hopefully whenever your boss makes you a promise, they informs their higher-ups so that their promises can be fulfilled.

5. Your Boss Has an Open Door Policy

When you need to reach your boss, you can because they are accessible. Their door is always open. They don’t wave you away or make you feel silly for asking questions. You believe that they are happy to offer you guidance.

When you ask for informal feedback, they make time in their schedule for you. Even in this age of disappearing mentors, you feel you have found a wonderful career sherpa: your boss.

6. Colleagues Whom You Enjoy Working With

When you work well with your colleagues, you are happy to pitch in and help when needed. You genuinely feel a part of a cohesive team rather than a cluster of ruthless coworkers vying for the next plum assignment.

Working with friendly, caring people removes the strife of workplace politics. It fosters a sense of trust and congeniality among team members that translates into incredible job satisfaction.

At Zappos, the online shoe retailer, the company culture has a team-first emphasis that underscores a fun, family-type atmosphere.[4] Employees are friends, and they regularly get together outside of work.

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While socializing at the office may be perceived as time wasted in certain company cultures, research shows that an atmosphere of camaraderie often gives companies a competitive edge.[5]

7. A Company Mission You Agree with and Find Important

You’ll find true job satisfaction when your company’s values align with your own. And you are not alone. A recent survey found that nearly three-quarters of employees are more engaged in their work when their organization is “purpose-driven.”

The outdoor clothing retailer, Patagonia, for example, is an outspoken advocate for the environment. Its mission statement says succinctly: “We’re in business to save our home planet.” Patagonia employees share in the company’s philosophy of providing durable outdoor clothing while also investing in protecting the environment.[6]

8. You Feel Appreciated

Hearing a heartfelt “thank you” goes a long way toward feeling appreciated. Feeling like you are an essential part of a thriving team also boosts your job satisfaction. If you’re lucky enough to have a boss that offers praise for your accomplishments, preferably publicly to the rest of the organization, chances are you feel deeply invested in your work.

Beyond receiving kudos for individual feats, team outings can also help morale. Celebratory lunches or good weather excursions — such as closing shop for the afternoon and going en masse to a baseball game — will do wonders for encouraging your positive attitude toward the work environment.

Perks, such as gym memberships and transit passes, can add to the sense that your company appreciates you. Apple, the tech giant, has perfected the art of offering amazing perks, including an on-site gym and regular beer bashes complete with celebrity guests.[7]

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9. The Company Is Poised for Growth

Whether you work at a dot com start-up or a company that has existed for a century, it’s always more fun — and more career enhancing — to be at an organization that’s doing well. There will be less cutthroat competition and more room for professional growth.

Knowing that your company leadership is competently steering the organization on an upward trajectory does much to buoy your job satisfaction.

Bonus Qualities

You won’t want to overlook some other important qualities that, when you can add them to the list above, will give you claim to the most satisfying job. Your company:

  1. Meets your logistical needs, such as working remotely/
  2. Meets your lifestyle goals, such as bike storage and showers if you prefer to bike to work.
  3. Gives you the freedom and flexibility to achieve the perfect work-life balance.
  4. Playtime spills over into your work time because your coworkers are all part of your friend group.
  5. Your boss and coworkers are all evolved human beings and emotional intelligence flourishes in the office.

The Bottom Line

Right now, we are in a job-hunters’ market. Many companies are actively looking for employees. That fact gives you a little more leverage when you are seeking employment. Figure out the one or two qualities in a job that would really boost your quality of life, and see if you can obtain them.

On the other hand, if you are not satisfied with your current situation, you can try to see if you might improve on it from the inside. Maybe your company can help you go to graduate school at night or enhance your title so you will have an easier time attracting new clients to the firm.

Today there’s no need to waste years in a sub-par situation. You deserve to work where you can do what you love among people whom you respect. Your company will thrive, and so will you.

More About a Fulfilling Career

Featured photo credit: Studio Republic via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Vicky Oliver

Author of 6 best-selling books on job-hunting and job interview questions, business etiquette, frugalista style, advertising, and office politics.

How to Get Promoted Fast (A Step-by-Step Guide) 20 Critical Skills to Add to Resume (For All Types of Jobs) How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work How to Write an Effective Meeting Agenda (With Templates) How to Make Going Back to School at 30 Possible

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Published on January 20, 2020

What are Goals? Achieve More By Changing Your Perspectives

What are Goals? Achieve More By Changing Your Perspectives

As simple as it sounds, the question, what are goals, is a very important question to answer if making the best out of our daily lives is something of great concern.

Anyone will assume they already know what goals are, they’ve probably been setting goals all their lives. However, when we get too familiar with certain concepts, we tend to forget their real meaning and essence. Hence, it is not surprising that people set many goals but achieve too little.

When you don’t understand what goals are or what they are meant to be, you might scribble anything on paper and call them goals and then get frustrated when you fail to achieve them.

There are different perspectives on goals and what they represent. However, this article looks into the real meaning of goals and provides clarity on some misconceptions about goals. It also suggests better ways to look at goals; in a way to use them as progress markers rather than yardsticks for measuring success or failure.

What Are Goals?

There are different definitions of goal(s) out there, however, let’s look at this one from the early pioneers in goal-setting theory:[1]

A goal is an idea of the future or desired result that a person or a group of people envision, plan and commit to achieve.

Goals represent the decisions we make and the commitments we take in order to reach attainment, break some bad habits, adopt useful habits or achieve more in different areas of life.

Goals enable us to achieve focus in life by helping us to determine what we want. They keep us motivated and propelled, constantly putting us in state of action.

Goals, when properly conceived and pursued can help us to maximize the one and only life we have to live.

Goals can be applied to different areas of our lives and they can also be based on a time range. For example, life-based goals can be personal development goals, career goals, educational goals, health goals, family and relationship goals, spiritual goals, social goals, etc.

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Moreso, goals can be set based on time and duration such as life-time goals, long term goals, short term goals and even stepping stone goals which are small unit goals that we undertake in order to achieve the short, long and lifetime goals.

Common Confusions About Goals

In order to put goals in their proper perspectives and make the most of them, certain clarifications are required between goals and its related concepts.

The following are often confused with goals, although they have their own relevance on goals and goal setting:

Goal vs Dream

Dreams are aspirations fuelled by desires. They exist in the realm of imagination and often give us inspiration.

However, goals are action-based. Goals stretch us and help us to achieve results. Our dreams can only be actualized by setting realistic goals and working diligently to achieve them.

Goal vs Vision

Visions are important in life but they are not the same as goals. Your vision represents where you want to go or be in life, a destination you aim to arrive at. However, the paths that will get you to that destination are often undefined until you break them down into goals.

Goals help you to understand and quantify the steps you will have to take in order to actualize your vision. Having a broader life vision will help you to achieve more goals.

Besides, vision will bring focus to your goal setting when your goals are directed at getting you to the final destination of your vision. When this happens, you will not only be satisfied with achieving a particular goal, you will view your progress and success in terms of their contribution to your overall vision.

Goal vs Expectation

Goals should not be confused with expectations. Expectations are things that we think we should have or heights we feel we should attain. It is said that expectations can generate frustration when you feel you aren’t performing up to your potential.[2]

Do you notice that when some Olympic teams are being interviewed before a tournament, many of them expect to win a medal? But do all of them win medals?

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When you listen to the real winners after the tournament, they will tell you how their goals helped them to structure their attention and focus, and keep them involved to strive for excellence.

Goals demand more focus and clarity whereas expectations are often not realistic.

Goal vs Desire

We all have desires, they represent the things we want. However, in order to get our desires, we might have to set goals.

While desires are usually pleasant, goals may not be.

For example, slimming down feels good, but exercising does not. But it takes a reasonable amount of exercise to burn fat.

Vacationing on a cruise ship feels good, who doesn’t want it? However, working extra hours to save money for the trip is hard.

Goals are the specific actions we set to accomplish in order to satisfy our desires.

Goal vs Objective

Objectives are the tasks we must accomplish in order to achieve our goals. It will be more useful to differentiate between goal and objective by looking at the differences between a broader term G’SOT which stands for Goals, Strategies, Objectives, and Tactics.[3]

  • A goal is a broad primary outcome
  • A strategy is the approach you take to achieve a goal
  • An objective is a measurable step you take to achieve a strategy
  • A tactic is a tool you use in pursuing an objective associated with a strategy.

The Intel example below is also useful to illustrate the difference:

Goal: Make our Core PC microprocessors a category leader in sales revenue by year X

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Strategy: Persuade buyers that our Core processors are the best one the market by associating with large, well-established PC manufacturers.

Objective: Retain 70 percent or more of the active worldwide PC microprocessor market, according to Passmark’s CPU benchmark report.

Tactic: Through creative that underlies our messaging, leverage hardware partner brand awareness to include key messages about the Intel Inside program.

What Most People Are Wrong About Goals

According to a study, only 8 percent of people get to achieve their goals.[4] When goals are not properly conceived or when we go about goals with the wrong perspectives, we might not be able to achieve our goals and even get frustrated as a result.

Some people have abandoned their goals or given up on setting goals altogether as a result. Others have gotten to the point of staying frustrated for failing to achieve their goals. These are not unconnected to the misconceptions that many have about goals.

Let’s look at the misconceptions about goals:

Goals Are Used as the Only Measure of Success?

When goals become our only measure of success, we might get obsessed with the results we want to achieve that we don’t consider the process that will lead us there.

Process goals and outcome goals come to mind on this. Most people set outcome goals rather than process goals. Outcome goals are only based on results while process goals are based on undertaking the right activities that will eventually lead to a great outcome.

Let’s say I currently make $1000 a week and then I set a goal of making $2000 but only ended up with $1300 after putting in all the work and strategies. If this is an outcome goal, I would probably be unhappy for not attaining my goal. However, if it’s a process goal, I would be happy that I have improved on my earning and would be motivated to do more.

Goals Are Connected with Happiness?

Another myth about goals is that achieving them brings happiness. Of course, it feels good to shed the weight or spend a vacation on a cruise ship. However, there are no guarantees that you will always be able to achieve all your set goals.

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In order not to get frustrated often, choose to always be a happy person rather than letting outcomes determine your happiness.

Redefining Goals

So, what really are goals if you want to succeed with them?

Goals Aren’t Connected with Deep Ambitions

Many people have the wrong motivation to set goals. They might have been genuinely inspired by what they see other people achieve, however, such goals may not connect with their deepest ambition. This might lead to a lack of the required motivation to pursue and achieve the goals.

Genuine goals must connect to a bigger and broader life vision. Goals are not an end in themselves, they are supposed to be stepping stones to achieving something bigger.

Goals Have to Be Achieved to Prove Commitment

If the target is to achieve ten and you are only able to achieve six, it doesn’t mean that you are not committed. It might have been that there are greater obstacles you didn’t think would come up.

This is why your goals must be flexible, adjustable and reflective of current realities.

The Bottom Line

Hopefully, the ideas shared above will help you to set the right goals and put them in the right perspectives.

You have seen that it is more appropriate to set goals that fit into a larger, broader vision of your life. This will help you to begin to see your goals in terms of the progress you are making towards your broader vision rather than on specific outcomes. You will become happier, knowing that you are taking specific steps in the right direction irrespective of what the immediate results look like.

All these will altogether help you to love setting goals again, and enable you to make the most of them in order to make your life count.

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Featured photo credit: Dan DeAlmeida via unsplash.com

Reference

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