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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.

12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job How to Make Going Back to School at 30 Possible 13 Ways to Be a Great Team Player At Work How to Decline a Job Offer Gracefully (With Email Examples) Why You Are Never Too Old for College (And How To Make It Work)

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

How to Improve Memory: 7 Natural (and Highly Effective) Ways

How to Improve Memory: 7 Natural (and Highly Effective) Ways

Memory plays an integral role in our lives, both in the short and long term. If you’re wondering how to improve memory, I’m here to tell you that there are natural and effective ways to do so.

Despite what you might think, improving your ability to recall information is certainly possible. You just need to know the right ways to do it.

Let’s dive straight into the first of seven easy ways to improve memory efficiently and reduce the risk of memory loss.

1. Meditate

We live in a world of non-stop, 24/7 information. It’s like a waterfall that’s endlessly pouring news, data, facts, and figures into our conscious minds.

Unfortunately, our brains are not designed to absorb this tremendous amount of information. It’s no wonder, then, that most people struggle to remember information and recall things.

Even if you believe you have a good memory and are comfortable with multi-tasking, you’ll also be aware that there’s only so much information your brain can process at one time. Research suggests that the more information and distractions you receive, the harder it is for you to transfer information to your long-term memory[1].

Fortunately, meditation can help.

Even if you just meditate for 10 minutes per day, you’ll boost your ability to focus, which, in turn, will make it easier for you to remember important facts.

While any amount of meditation will do something to help your memory, one study pointed out that “8 but not 4 weeks of brief, daily meditation decreased negative mood state and enhanced attention, working memory, and recognition memory as well as decreased state anxiety scores”[2].

Therefore, if you’re looking for the most benefits, try sticking with a meditation practice for at least 8 weeks.

However, meditation doesn’t just have to be closing your eyes and sitting in a lotus position. Some people prefer to simply take a short walk in nature. This clears and calms their mind, and still provides the all-important boost to their focus.

2. Get Plenty of Sleep

If you’re sleep deprived or have not been sleeping well, then it’s likely that you’re not able to remember well either. This is because sleep and memory are intimately connected.

If you have a busy life and regularly find yourself not getting enough sleep, then this will negatively impact your cognitive abilities, including your memory.

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If you want to learn how to improve memory, how much sleep should you be getting?

Well, according to the National Sleep Foundation[3], you need a minimum of seven to nine hours of sleep per night. If you get this amount of sleep regularly, then within just a few days, you’ll see a tangible improvement to your ability to remember and recall things[4].

If you want to improve memory, get plenty of sleep.

    Maintaining a proper sleep cycle is not always easy (especially when the latest Netflix series has just been released!), but if you care about improving your long and short term memory, then it’s critical that you try to get at least the recommended amount of sleep every night.

    Try these three things to naturally improve your sleep cycle:

    • Have a fixed bedtime (preferably before 10pm)
    • Don’t eat too late
    • Make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible

    Sleeping is a precious activity. It regenerates your body, clears your mind, and helps with the storing and retrieval of information.

    However, don’t sleep just yet, as I want to tell you about another great way to increase memory.

    3. Challenge Your Brain

    When was the last time you challenged your brain?

    I don’t mean challenged in the sense of overeating or under-sleeping. I’m referring to stretching your mental capabilities through things like crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and memory games.

    To expand your memory bank, and to make your recall razor-sharp, you need to continually challenge your brain.

    Feedback from Lifehack readers such as yourself has suggested that brain training apps are a super-effective way of doing this. Used regularly, these apps can enhance your focus, attention span, problem-solving ability, and memory.

    There are hundreds of these apps available (most of them for free), but I recommend starting out with one of the big three:

    • Peak (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
    • Lumosity (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
    • Elevate (Android/iOS, free, 5 million+ downloads)

    If you normally spend a chunk of your week playing computer games, then instead of shooting and killing your enemies, why not let some of them live while you put your attention into boosting your brain power!

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    Challenging your brain will strengthen your neural pathways and enhance your mental abilities. But don’t just take my word for it; try one of the apps above and see the positive benefits for yourself.

    4. Take More Breaks

    When I think back to my days as a budding entrepreneur, I distinctly remember working all the hours under the sun—and many under the moon, too!

    At that time, I believed that breaks were for the weak, and to become wealthy and successful, I needed to shed blood, sweat, and tears.

    However, if you want to know how to improve memory, taking regular breaks is the best way to keep yourself productive, creative, and alive to opportunities. It’s also the best way to learn new information.

    Typically, when studying lots of new information, most people will spend hours reading it in an attempt to learn and remember the content as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, they’ve overlooked something.

    One 2011 study from the University of Illinois concluded that “the brain is built to detect and respond to change…and prolonged attention to a single task actually hinders performance”[5].

    This is based on something called the “vigilance decrement.” This can be applied to many things. For example, we often don’t notice the feeling of clothing touch our bodies because our brain becomes accustomed to the sensation. However, if you change clothes, you’ll likely notice the difference in texture and temperature for a few minutes.

    When you take a break from memorizing information, it refocuses your attention and energy, leading to increased focus overall.

    It’s similar to physical exercise. You wouldn’t attempt to train vigorously for four hours in a row. Instead, you’d take regular breaks to give your lungs, heart, and muscles adequate time to recover. Failing to do this will result in muscle cramps and overexertion.

    Basically, make sure you take regular breaks when learning new information. I recommend at least a 10-minute break every hour. (You may also want to take a look at the Pomodoro Method.)

    5. Learn a New Skill

    I love this quote, as it’s 100% true but frequently overlooked:

    “Learning never exhausts the mind.” -Leonardo da Vinci

    From my experience of helping to develop the careers of dozens of Lifehack employees, I can definitively say that participating in meaningful and purposeful activities stimulates the mind. It also reduces stress and enhances health and well-being.

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    Let me give you an example of this:

    Imagine you work for a global financial institution in one of their call centers. You take over 100 calls a day, many of them complaints. When you started the job a few months back, you were excited to be in full-time employment and working for a household name.

    Unfortunately, your initial enthusiasm quickly turned into frustration.

    The endless complaint calls began to take their toll on you. And the supervisors irritated you too, as they were far too interested in micro-managing you rather than letting you work in your own way.

    Now, in the story above, the ending could be that you put up with a job you didn’t like and led a dull and frustrated working life for years and years. However, an alternative ending is this: you channeled your dissatisfaction into learning a new skill (computer coding).

    It took you a year or two to get up to speed, but it allowed you to successfully upgrade your career, and the ongoing learning made the call center job much more bearable.

    Clearly, learning new skills gives you impetus, focus, and something to aim for. Your brain loves to learn, and you should tap into this by always seeking out new information. When learning becomes a habit, you’ll find your ability to remember and recall things effortlessly becomes a habit, too.

    If you want to know how to learn something new every day, check out this article.

    6. Start Working out

    If you’re not already working out regularly, then here’s another reason to do so:

    Exercising for 20-30 minutes three times a week will improve your long-term memory[6].

    Regular physical activities increase blood flow in your body and supplies the brain with extra oxygen and nutrients. A well-nourished brain is a well-functioning brain!

    Even if you don’t have much time, research has shown that a daily burst of 60 seconds of high-intensity exercise offered many of the benefits of the longer exercise routines[7].

    Interested in getting started?

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    Here are five different ways that will help you work out:

    • Join a gym
    • Join a sports team
    • Buy a bike
    • Take up hiking
    • Dance to your favorite music

    7. Eat Healthier Foods

    I’m sure you’ve heard the expression: “You are what you eat.”

    This applies to your brain, too.

    The food that you eat helps determine your brain’s capacity to store and recall information. A poor diet (think junk food + soda!) harms not just your physical health, but your mental health, as well.

    Fortunately, there are several foods that are especially good for your brain and your memory. These include: blueberries, celery, and dark chocolate. But any fruits, vegetables, or foods high in antioxidants will have a positive effect on your brain and memory. Here’re some ideas: 15 Brain Foods That Will Super Boost Your Brain Power

    Conversely, highly-processed foods and those loaded with sugar will have a negative impact on your memory. This is due to them providing insufficient nutrients for your brain, leading you to easily suffer from mental fatigue.

    If you want to improve your mental health, eat and drink an abundance of these for brain health:

    • Turmeric – Helps new brain cells grown
    • Broccoli – Protects the brain against damage
    • Nuts – Improves memory
    • Green tea – Enhances brain performance, memory and focus[8]
    • Fish oilFish oil supplements can increase your brain power

    Here’re more brain food options that improve memory!

    Also, remember that your brain is about 75% water, so dehydration can have a huge effect on the way your brain functions. Stay hydrated if you really want to improve memory!

    Final Thoughts

    I sincerely hope these seven memory boosting ways that I’ve covered in this article will be helpful for you.

    You don’t need to implement them all, but you can try out the ones that appeal to you.

    But, if you’re serious about dramatically improving your memory and avoiding cognitive decline, then make a start right now on adopting one or more of the ways I’ve suggested.

    More on How to Improve Memory

    Featured photo credit: Eric Ward via unsplash.com

    Reference

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