Is There a Key to Being Happy with Your Job?

consumer survey with questionnaire checkbox to improve salesA recent survey by the Women’s Empowerment Initiative revealed that job satisfaction tends to be greater for women over the age of 30 compared to that of women between 18 and 29. It also found that moms working full-time were happier with their professional life than part-timers. This could mean that we tend to get clearer about what we want to accomplish as professionals as we grow older or this higher level of job satisfaction could be the direct result of experience, trying out different things until you find the best job for you. Few of us are lucky enough to land their dream job straight out of college, so the lower level of satisfaction among younger women seems fairly understandable.

And what about the higher job satisfaction among full-timer as opposed to part-timers? One possible reason for the difference could be the bigger paycheck that mothers who work full-time bring home. A bigger income gives us a certain degree of material comfort and a feeling of security, all the more important when there are kids to take care of. Also, full-time work provides more opportunities for career growth than part-time work. At the same time, however, the lower level of satisfaction among part-timer moms could be due to the nature of the work they’re doing. Part-time work in a desired field could bring with it a number of benefits, combining, in a sense, the best of both worlds, work and family. It allows a woman to keep in shape professionally while giving her enough time for her children. But, once again, that’s an opportunity that’s not all too common. Often, part-time work is an economic necessity and as such tends to be less rewarding than full-time work.

These are just suggestions, but is there any way we could be happier with our jobs without changing them? Well, it depends. People are different and this includes the tendency to be satisfied or dissatisfied with a job. Some people have a more positive outlook on life as a whole and are more likely to find something that they like about their work, something which would help them be happy with it. Then there are those who tend to exaggerate problems and are much harder to please. The thing is that there is no universal recipe for job satisfaction that’s valid across jobs and for all people. Jobs, just like the people that do them, vary greatly. Perhaps the only universal statement that could be made in this respect is that the better suited a person is to a job, the happier they will be doing it. It’s common sense and it has also been statistically proven that happier workers are more productive, more willing to make an extra effort when it’s needed. What this amounts to, basically, is being satisfied with their job.

If you’re considering changing your job for one that would make you happier, here’s a number of things that you may or may not be aware of but that psychologists have found to influence the degree of our job satisfaction, so bear them in mind when making that career change decision. One of the factors that has a role to play is the amount of daily hassle. The smaller, the better. The more little things there are that annoy us every day, the less happy we would be with what we’re doing. Another thing is whether we perceive our salary as fair and whether we get the feeling that we are achieving something. Achievement is not always obvious, which makes the role of another factor, feedback, important. One other thing that makes us satisfied with our job is the variety of tasks because most of us prefer doing different things to being stuck in one single rut. And, finally, control over what we’re doing is essential. In fact, it is how we’re doing things that is important. Tasks can be assigned to us by someone else, but how we complete them should be left to us. The feeling of control enhances happiness, and it gives us a certain sense of freedom to do things the way we believe is best.