Wednesday September 18, 2013 | 08:30 AM
Posted by Barbara Babkirk

If your answer is no, you’re not alone. New England has the lowest rate of job satisfaction in the country.

What does it take to be satisfied and happy at work? Five factors contribute to sustained job satisfaction.

1.    The first, and often overlooked in our culture of busyness, is that the job allows for a full and balanced life. This means that the work hours are flexible enough to accommodate important family obligations, as well as appointments that support  health and wellness. It also includes a work environment that encourages vacations and discourages regular, unhealthy patterns of overwork.
2.    The second factor is an alignment between a person's values, the mission of the organization and the job itself. More and more, people want to have a sense of meaning in what they do for work. If you feel disconnected to or disapprove of your employer's mission or if you cannot find personal meaning in the contribution you make, you’re not likely to feel satisfied in the long run.
3.    The third factor is that the work involves topics that engage you. Recently I asked a client if he might read one of his professional journals in his free time, purely for pleasure. He looked at me as though I was kidding. Not only was he not interested in the emerging information in his field, but he rarely opened trade journals to determine if there was information pertinent to his job.
4.    The fourth factor is that the job engages key competencies you enjoy using. Being underemployed is stressful just as being in over your head is. If you find yourself in a job that is interesting, but where the tasks required are far below your potential or above your capability, you are likely to become disenchanted and unhappy.
5.    The last factor involves a safe workplace. Even if the above four factors are all in place, if the environment is physically or emotionally unsafe to the extent that you feel ill at ease, or if co-workers or bosses are not supportive, you will not be satisfied.

If you are feeling dissatisfied with your work, attempt to identify why by using the five factors. Perhaps you’ll get a clue about what you might change.

About this Blog

Barbara Babkirk is a Master Career Counselor and founder of Heart At Work Associates, a career counseling and outplacement firm in Portland.

With a focused and intuitive approach, Barbara makes a difference in people’s lives by helping them design a new life chapter. She has a successful record guiding career transitions for professionals ranging from executives and artists to attorneys and entrepreneurs.

An expert in her field, Barbara is a public speaker on work-related topics writes a solutions-oriented column about work for the Portland Sunday Telegram.


Scott Woodard is a career coach with Heart At Work Associates, a career counseling and outplacement business in Portland, Maine.

Scott works with clients to identify and articulate their value and their personal brand. He helps clients develop clear, concise and crisp messaging to convey their particular difference, their achievements and their approach.

Scott coaches clients to market their brand through social media platforms, especially LinkedIn. He offers monthly workshops on how to make the most of LinkedIn for businesses or job seekers.

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