Job satisfaction, in simplistic terms is a combination of happiness and fulfilment generated from the employment we choose on our quest to achieve what we perceive as our career objectives. Quitting an internship at a financial institution following just two days after commencement because the nature of the job combined with the workforce ambience only heightened the feeling of numbness and despair I was already experiencing at that time, making me realise the significance of job satisfaction from a personal frontier.
The phenomenon of job satisfaction plays a crucial role in navigating your career path if the probability of career success depends largely on creative thinking or breaking away from the strictures that define “proper career”. According to Raniah Dowla, a young model and entrepreneur of a lifestyle brand, “There are millions of women who find fulfilment outside the mainstream career paths for a reason. Every single woman out there should be immensely happy and proud of doing things they are not ‘supposed’ to do according to the society.
“We enjoy every moment of the hard work because we feel a sense of freedom that we would not have if we chose a conventional career path. This is me speaking on behalf of all the women out there who have chased their dream without taking into account what the society may think of their choices.”
If the inner you fail to feel happy about your job, then I feel it is nearly impossible to engender content in a bid to engage in inventing and innovating. Successfully transforming ideas into reality, be it an outfit that could put you on the fashion map or a product that helps to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, requires tremendous dedication and perseverance and if walking the extra mile did not satisfy the individual in question he or she could merely settle for work that involves only ‘doing what is told’.
As Bushra, a former banker now turned digital content creator based in London says, “Job satisfaction is one of the most important aspects when considering a career path, I believe. I’ve been on both sides, when I was in my banking job, I had job security but no job satisfaction, and hence I had to leave it. It’s impossible to work in a creative industry unless you love what you do. Because you can’t force creativity, it flows only when you’re content and happy.
“At least for me it does. Now that I work for myself, I create my own hours and thus need to keep myself motivated and on schedule. That can become incredibly difficult if you’re unhappy about your work. The passion and love for creating content drives me to work harder and continue doing so.”
As much as job satisfaction is primarily derived from a heartfelt passion to act upon what you willingly aspire to be, implying that the ‘follow your heart’ mantra is the only driving force behind job satisfaction would be a tad bit of an overgeneralisation as this depends on a range of other factors such as pay and other benefits, workforce environment, chances of progression and as such.
The environment that encapsulates your job is most likely to be a complex system which is accompanied by its own set of idiosyncrasies that will impact your day to day functions in some way or the other. For instance, if bullying, harassment and corruption are embedded in the status quo of your workplace dynamics these factors could obstruct your prospects of climbing up the career ladder and hence adversely affect your job satisfaction.
It could also be that your workplace culture places you on a pedestal where you could find yourself struggling to adjust since the underlying ethos supporting that culture could be widely divergent from those of your personal ones with which you find reluctant to compromise. This in turn could also cause your job satisfaction to wane, regardless of how passionate you felt about it initially.
“A congenial environment where your colleagues are like family and your supervisors are genuinely interested in your development is priceless. I’ve not dreaded a single day during my short time at my workplace and I attribute that to the amazing work culture there. The management has put in a lot of effort to create the work culture and everyone tried to uphold it.” highlights Mohammed Shahriar Sharif, Strategic Assistant, at a leading telecom brand.
For time immemorial the advent of money has held the power to steer the direction of an individual’s life choices. Hence you could be in a job that leaves you with absolutely zilch satisfaction, but you could still be yielding to the sadness of your soul simply because that is the only means to your end. For those who centre their existence on worldly pleasures, the magnitude of income generated could play a crucial role in making them source their inner happiness from following a particular career choice. However, Ishmam Quddus, a recent Economics graduate has a very different take on this, “The pay should be good enough to keep me motivated to work on something that I already enjoy. I know people valuing ‘job satisfaction’ solely based on the remuneration, and ending up in psychological distress over time.
“This is definitely something of concern. There might be times where you would see a trade off your specific work interest and money. I would choose my interest over money any day, as in the long run I know I will excel at it.”
Ultimately the way you perform at your work or in other words the outcomes produced by your job are manifestations of what it makes you feel on the inside. Harbouring discontent with your job could translate in your performance in some way or the other, taking the form of lower productivity, increase in the number of ‘sick leaves’, reluctance to participate in voluntary exchange of ideas and so on and so forth.
As Tasnim Chowdhury, a teacher at a private English medium school attests, “I love teaching. Teaching to me has always been very special. The kind of bond I share with my students is what motivates me to find new techniques to facilitate the learning process.”
Hence, it is safe to imply that experiencing that ‘feel good’ factor about your state of employment could yield new perspectives which will contribute to development in your career trajectory.
By Mehnaz Tabassum Khaleel
Photo: LS Archive/Sazzad Ibne Sayed