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Are You Truly Satisfied With Your Job? How to Find Out

image for Prostock-Studio / Getty Images
Prostock-Studio / Getty Images
  • Both employers and employees are responsible for job satisfaction.
  • There are some simple ways for employees to evaluate job satisfaction.
  • You must be honest with yourself when assessing your level of job satisfaction.

One of the biggest concerns for many employers is trying to keep their employees engaged and satisfied. They're constantly trying to create a positive work environment through company culture initiatives and exciting benefits packages.

"Today's most successful companies create an atmosphere that is positive, genuine and, most important, responsive to the wants of their workers – whether that's work-from-home options, longer parental leave or free lunches," said Chris Cho, global head of digital portfolio at The Adecco Group.

But these perks don't matter if workers aren't actually happy. As an employee, you should periodically evaluate how satisfied you are with your job, even if you think you love it.

"It's important to evaluate your satisfaction on an ongoing basis, because it can change," said Vicki Salemi, a career expert at Monster. She noted that factors such as leadership shifts, not getting a raise when you expected one and additional work responsibilities can all lead to a change in satisfaction.

When an employee is satisfied with their job, they remain more loyal to the organization. If employees become dissatisfied with the job early in their career, they may quickly look for a change in employment.

One simple way to determine if you're truly happy at work is to have regular, honest check-ins with yourself.

"The same way employees typically check in with bosses for a midyear and end-of-the-year review, they should check in with themselves," Salemi told Business News Daily.

Salemi said employees should ask themselves some questions. For example, "Am I satisfied working here? At the end of the day, do I feel like I contribute to the organization? Do my contributions get recognized by both my boss and in my bank account? Do I get excited to come to work on Monday morning?"

"Always know that even if you're somewhat satisfied, you deserve to be fully satisfied; it's always an advantage to look for a new job to see what opportunities exist to boost that satisfaction," Salemi said.

If you work a typical Monday-through-Friday job, a good time for this type of reflection is on Sunday evenings. While it's easy to be sad on Sunday because it's the end of the weekend, it's not common to absolutely dread the idea of waking up the next day to go to work, said Jude Miller Burke, author of The Adversity Advantage: Turn Your Childhood Hardship into Career and Life Success (Wisdom Editions, 2017).

Miller Burke suggested asking yourself what you like and dislike about your job. Make a list and reflect on your feelings, especially when you're at work. If your answer includes words like "energized," "committed," "passionate," "interested" or "curious," you are probably fulfilled in the work you are doing. However, if your answer includes negative words – such as "exhausted," "overwhelmed" or "undervalued" – perhaps you should pursue a new position or career.

Company culture can greatly influence how satisfied you are while at work. Do you feel that you are respected as a person and for the job you do? Do you feel like your company cares about you, or are you just a person pushing out work? Do you think your job is secure? Constantly feeling like your job is in jeopardy adds a lot of stress and can make you feel unhappy at work. The answers to these questions can give you insight into how satisfied you are with your job.

Once you determine how you feel at work, look for trends. Were you happy before work, but once you arrived, you became stressed and overwhelmed? Are you always fulfilled after you work on a certain task? Do you always get upset after talking to a specific co-worker?

Think about what is important to you. As you enter new life stages, you may find that your priorities change, and these shifts may not align with your current job and, in turn, make you feel dissatisfied.

Then, take a look at the positions across your organization to see if there is one that is a better fit for you. You may be able to find another role in the same company that makes you feel more fulfilled.

Do you feel like you are being compensated fairly? Salary is a leading cause of dissatisfaction.  Everyone feels like they should be paid what they deserve, and certainly as much as the person next to them doing the same job. In addition to salary, you should feel like you have opportunity for growth and promotion. When you do not have those things, you may begin to feel unmotivated and less satisfied.

You should have an open and honest conversation with your supervisor about what you think you may enjoy doing within the company. It is also important to note what you do not like to do within the company so that your manager can have a clear understanding of what might be the best assignments for you.

When you gather this valuable information and can recognize what and who makes you feel a specific way, you're ready to determine if it's time for a new position, a new company or a complete career change.

To create a happy workplace, employers should listen to their employees, said Moritz Kothe, CEO of Kununu.

"Every employee is going to be different, so a company needs to be open to hearing the feedback of its entire workforce and implement the realistic benefits and perks that will work best overall," Kothe said.

Business News Daily Editor

Business News Daily was founded in 2010 as a resource for small business owners at all stages of their entrepreneurial journey. Our site is focused exclusively on giving small business advice, tutorials and insider insights. Business News Daily is owned by Business.com.