The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that we spend on average 40 hours a week at work – with some of us raking in a hefty 70 hours.
Since we all spend so much time there, it’s important to find a job that is fulfilling and satisfying.
While some will prioritize a large paycheque over general happiness, others will need to feel satisfied in their day-to-day work. Princeton University in 2010 found that more money only has an effect on happiness up until a certain salary – $75,000 a year. After that, income doesn’t really impact day-to-day happiness.
What makes a job satisfying?
While some factors may be personal, there are several factors that contribute to job satisfaction for all of us:
- Engaging, enjoyable work
The first factor is how engaging the actual work is. Does the job keep your attention, or do you often find yourself counting down the minutes? By finding an enjoyable job role, you’ll notice the hours fly by. Psychological studies suggest that the most engaging jobs involve:
- Assignments that are clear and structured
- A level of autonomy and trust to get on with the job unsupervised
- A variety of projects, tasks, and challenges
- Feedback provided along the way by managers
- A sense of contributing to something that makes a difference
- Work that benefits other people
In a similar sense to contribute to something that makes a difference, another factor that makes a job satisfying is the positive impact it has on other people.
Jobs where people benefit from your actions – such as care, protecting others, or teaching – are found to be the most satisfying jobs available.
- You can do the job well
Being able to do your job well offers a sense of achievement that feeds into job satisfaction. As well as being good at a job, finding a job that suits your skills and intellectual level are also important. If you’re a graduate of mechanical engineering but working as a receptionist, the job is unlikely to match your skills and therefore will become boring or stressful quite quickly.
- Co-worker relationships
As we mentioned above, we spend a considerable amount of our waking hours at work. This means, without strong relationships in the workplace, it’s easy to become stressed, lonely or depressed. Work friends are an important factor in job satisfaction and may be the difference between staying in a job and finding something else. Co-workers can provide a positive or negative working environment that makes each day manageable or a total nightmare.
- A work-life balance
Of course, a good work-life balance is crucial for job satisfaction. Earning a living is only as good as the life it provides. And if you’re stuck at work doing endless over time with no real chance to socialize or practice other interest, is it worth it?
A job that allows you to explore hobbies, studies, or other leisure activities tends to have the highest job satisfaction. This is why some people will favor working only on weekdays. At the weekends – when the majority of the workforce will be off work – those stuck working can suffer from a lack of social interaction and miss out on important events with friends and family -ultimately leading to less job satisfaction.
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The four most satisfying career paths
With all this in mind, what jobs offer the most satisfaction? There are thousands of surveys taken every year about job satisfaction, but there are some high contenders that are consistently at the top of the list.
Clergy work covers religious leaders of all faiths. Examples include ministers, priests, and rabbis. Clergymen typically provide spiritual and moral guidance to those who seek it. Leading prayers, delivering sermons, and creating educational programs are all part of their job responsibility.
Clergy work requires on-the-job training and every day is different. You’ll often find that this work is done through passion, rather than for money-making, and it is hugely satisfying for those who enter the profession.
Whether you’re a pediatrician, pediatric nurse or practitioner, the job is very rewarding. Dealing specifically with children’s health, pediatric professions can make a huge difference to the most vulnerable. Whether you’re providing life-saving vaccinations or treating serious conditions, every day is a different challenge.
After years of training, all medical professions seem to have a high level of satisfaction, but those who study pediatrics or midwifery tend to have a higher level still.
If you love working with children and want to work in pediatrics, you’ll first need your medical or nursing qualification and license. To do this, you can study on a pediatric nurse practitioner program to specialize in children’s health and care.
It’s safe to say any job that helps to saves lives will likely have a high job satisfaction rate.
Firefighters work to keep the community safe, treat injured people, and stop fires from getting out of control. Firefighters usually work 24-hour shifts where they eat and sleep at the ‘office’. But despite the pressure of the job and long hours, firefighters find their work hugely significant and satisfying.
If you’re interested in becoming a firefighter, you can check this list of requirements to see if it’s a good fit for you.
Despite the work being incredibly hard, most teachers find their job very satisfying. Teaching across all ages provides a sense of contribution, as well as the possibility to change a student’s life forever. Teachers are the people who inspire us to follow certain career paths, behave in certain ways or enhance our interests in certain subjects. This ability is incredible to have, and with it comes high job satisfaction.
To become a teacher, you will need a degree and teaching license. To understand more about the licensing requirements by state, visit teaching-certification.com.
Of course, job satisfaction is a personal opinion, and there are hundreds of jobs that provide a fulfilling and satisfying working environment. Always fully research your career options in full before making any life-altering decisions, and good luck on your adventure!