It's your choice
Q: Is it possible to be successful in a job that you don't like? A business group called the Conference Board got lots of publicity Jan. 5 by claiming worker satisfaction had fallen to its lowest level ever. Their numbers and methodology were questioned by other experts, but the issue of whether there's a link between job satisfaction and success is an interesting one.
We've all met people who are "successful" in their careers, yet are suffering from high blood pressure, chronic migraines or, worse yet, have little or no real friends. Are they satisfied with their jobs? Perhaps. Or they could simply be so focused on work that everything else falls to the side. Is that success?
Motivational speaker "Zig" Ziglar has an awesome way of expressing my thoughts on this idea: "People who have good relationships at home are more effective in the marketplace."
Job satisfaction is an attitude that each person has the choice to make, regardless of title, position, type of work or co-workers. Imagine the difference it would make if each person owned personal responsibility for their job satisfaction, their career and their happiness. Instead of waiting for the right leader, the right company or the right circumstance, we would be asking ourselves the following questions:
"What do I enjoy doing?"
"What am I most passionate about?"
"How can I add the most value to my organization?"
"Who do I need to meet [or get to know] who would benefit both me and my organization?"
"What skills do I want to gain?"
"What job(s) do I strive to attain and why?"
Who knows if the Conference Board (a very reputable organization) is "right" about our country's job satisfaction level. What matters more than that question is, "Do you want the media to dictate your happiness?" As "Dilbert" cartoonist Scott Adams said in the Post article, "When the economy was good, everybody was happier, no matter what the job was."
Are you happy in your position? Regardless of your answer, I challenge you to consider what skills you want to gain, what position you want to achieve, who you want to mentor, who you want to be mentored by, and where you see your career at the end of 2010. Developing new skills, meeting new people, and thinking about what you want to achieve are essential to long-term success, regardless of where you are in your career now.
Jobs do become more satisfying as we learn what skills we most enjoy using and which environment allows us to be our best. That said, pollster Tom W. Smith's comment in the Post about "people in their 50s usually being the most gratified by their work" makes great sense. The experiences we gain over time can help us learn where we fit best. A little time, attention to one's personal likes/dislikes and a willingness to try new things mixed with a great attitude will create success.
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