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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.

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Last Updated on October 22, 2019

How Do You Measure Success? Here’re 10 Better Ways

How Do You Measure Success? Here’re 10 Better Ways

“Larry is a failure at everything except life.”

That was a memorable line from a somewhat forgettable Ted Danson movie in the 1980s. Pithy, it did encapsulate one eternal truth, namely that life is the goal. Making the most of one’s limited time in this world is the core measure of success.

So how do you measure success?

Money is meaningless until you do something good with it. Fame is fleeting and tertiary at best. But life and how you live it – in business, in family, in everyday interactions – is the true measure of accomplishment.

The Inside and Outside of Success

Life occurs within and outside of you. The two – yourself and everyone else – are interconnected. Their lives, and thus their success, are influenced by you and your success which is influenced by them.

It becomes clear that any measure of “success” cannot be one dimensional. There are many metrics, but if a person looks only at those that directly affect them, then they lack a complete measurement. It is good to succeed in business, but it is important to succeed in life. The two are not mutually exclusive, and in some ways positively reinforcing.

10 New Ways of Measuring Success

For a Successful Business

In business, it is not always the bottom line that defines success. I won’t argue against it – profitability is the first rule of business, because unprofitable companies do not survive. Just beyond that are some success measurements that are nearly as important:

1. Hitting Your Goals

If you call “8 ball in the side pocket” and scratch, then you failed to hit your goal. Knowing and achieving your business goals is important.

But goals in business have many manifestations. Aside from profitability, some business goals include growing your market share, disrupting a market, having very high customer satisfaction rates, reducing product defects, and more, and more, and more.

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However, you cannot achieve your business goals unless you know what they are, communicate those goals to your employees, and measure the results. Many people in business are vague about their goals. They are not clear in making everyone in the company embrace the goals or checking on progress.

None of these success-generating steps is difficult, but success will likely not come without them

2. Growing Your Business

“Growth” is quite personal, even to an executive.

In this, a business is a bit like a child. As the business’s parent, you get a certain satisfaction in raising it, helping past the stumbling toddler years, seeing it blossom into adulthood, and ever expanding its horizons. In the process, you grow the lives and fortunes of your employees, your shareholders, your community and your country.

3. Low Turnover

According to an article in Forbes, the turnover rate is the highest it has been in a decade. My company, Micrel, had the lowest employee turnover rate in our industry, as well as having the highest “boomerang employee rate (people who left the company and decided to come back).[1]

This form of success is a reflection of the corporate culture you created. A bad culture creates a high turnover rate, and a good culture a low one.

4. A Well-Balanced Life

All work and no play make Jack a dull boy, and often a jerk. The reason is that life is not work, only a part of it. A wealthy captain of industry that never takes long and relaxing walks holding the hand of a loving spouse is not a success.[2]

Measuring balance in your life is non-productive. But when you lack balance, it is easy to measure. The shortfall of joy, the failing health, the shattered marriages, the estranged children … these are the heavy weights placed on the wrong said of life’s scale, and they are a clear enough measure.[3]

5. Sharing Your Success with Others

Ebenezer Scrooge, and Jacob Marley before him, horded their wealth. It cost Marley everything.

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“But you were always a good man of business, Jacob,” faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself.

“Business!” cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. “Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”

Sharing is perhaps the true measure of all success, be it a wealth of money, time, patience, knowledge, wisdom or good will.

For a Successful Life

Which brings us to the non-business side of the business life. As your business affects your personal life, so too does your personal life affect your business. The two cannot be separated. Some elements that should be on your success scorecard include:

6. Good Health

The enjoyment of life is at best incomplete in poor health. At worst, it is hellish.

Now take poor health outside of your body. How does being sickly affect your company (when you cannot lead fully), your family (their support and their stress over you), your community (when you can no longer serve)?

Good health is a gift unto itself, but also to everyone you touch. Don’t cheat anyone out of your good health. Do what is necessary to keep your machine in good working order as the first imperative toward success.

7. Healthy Family

Family is love and support. Every person’s role is to grow their family, to stay connected, to provide love and support. In that giving to others, you improve their lives while improving yours.

It also lays the groundwork for you receiving love and support when you need it. If you are launching a business and taking the risks that go along with it, you will need that love and support.

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8. Learn to do the Tough Things First

In or out of business, we are all faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles. But we humans have this funny knack of overcoming them.

Indeed, we do it so routinely that out sight miracles that go against nature – flight, the internet, leaving the planet on rocket ships – has become almost blasé.

None of these things were accomplished instantly. They were the result of many small successes. The ones that happened fastest were where a person or a team looked at all the problems, took on the biggest and toughest first, then conquered it. They did the Tough Things First, which made the rest of the project much simpler and more exciting for everyone.

This applies to daily life as well as business. If you are planning to relocate your spouse, several children, pets and all your worldly belongings across country, the task likely looks overwhelming. But the moment you prioritize the list of tasks, and knock the biggest and ugliest off the list, the rest seems like a cakewalk.

9. Being a Teacher

One of the highest compliments I ever received was from an industry analyst who said that I was a “teacher”.

Yet we all are, or can be, teachers. It may be providing basic life lessons to a child on your knee, instructing an employee in complex processes or technologies, or even teaching by example via living a good life.

For me, one joy has been writing a good book on management and leadership, and another about the intersections of people, society and business. It is by teaching, and in my case writing, that you directly benefit others.

Life can be complex, filled with many topics and problems. By sharing knowledge and wisdom, we lead others past difficulties and on toward their own greater success.

10. Dignity and Honor

My marketing director is a proper Southern Gent, which is easily discernible by a well-honed sense of honor. You don’t have to be a southerner to live a life of dignity and honor, but if you are male you do have to be a gentleman.

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Dignity circles around self-respect and honor involves acting with honesty, fairness, and integrity. The latter leads to the former. Indeed, you cannot have self-respect without practicing the basic virtues of honesty, fairness, and integrity.

Why is this a measure of success? Because we humans are social animals, and society exists only because of trust.

Honesty, fairness, and integrity are the cornerstones of trust, and thus the foundation of society. A person is truly successful when they add to society.

Final Thoughts

All this brings us back to the dictionary definition of “success”, which is:

“the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors.”

You may or may not be a businessperson, but you are always a person. Your endeavors are both in and out of the office. Since each sphere affects the other, the true measure of success lies in how you managed your affairs in all facets of existence, for they cannot be viewed in isolation.

More About Success

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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