Job Satisfaction:

Whose Job is it to Make You Happy at Work?

As a professional speaker, I often present in front of large audiences and get a first-hand look at job satisfaction. I see the faces of people who think and act as if they have no control over their lives at work and who blame others for their circumstances. Have you ever noticed that “they” (whoever that might be at the time) do a lot of unfair things to people? “Customers are so demanding. My coworkers make my life miserable. My boss keeps changing his mind!” You’ve probably heard all these things, and maybe even said them yourself.

In my consulting business, I walk the halls of healthcare organizations just like yours. I hear the voices of people who are stuck in the rut of complaining about job satisfaction (or the lack therefore). Did you know that in many departments it’s considered cool to be cranky? “Why can’t that other department get its act together? Why should I have to work so hard when no one else does?” I’m guessing that you feel the negative effects of the grousing and grumbling affect you and your job satisfaction on a day-to-day basis.

I facilitate meetings and training sessions where I experience too much negativity, judgment and closed mindedness. Have you noticed how often people are imprisoned by their own beliefs and opinions. Their job satisfaction seems to be directly related to being willing to see or hear another perspective. “That will never work. They’re doing this intentionally to hurt me. That can’t be right.” Sound familiar? Without job satisfaction, pessimism rules the day.

All the latest job satisfaction surveys and research support what I see every day: too many people are not happy at work. Call it disengagement; call it burned out; call it what you want. I call it sad. It’s hard to believe that in our privileged society so many people are so disappointed in what they do for a living. Without job satisfaction, stress, depression and disease run rampant in workplaces across America.

I believe you can have job satisfaction. I believe you can be a superstar, find fulfillment and be happy at work.

Despite what you might see in the media and hear in hallways, I believe work is NOT a four-letter word! Now you may be wondering, “How does job satisfaction and engagement (AKA Professional Paradise) help me?” Do you mean other than less stress, more energy and remarkable results? You need more? Well, it’s a good thing there are several benefits to attaining job satisfaction and experiencing Professional Paradise:

  • Increased productivity
  • Improved creativity
  • More effective problem solving
  • Better working relationships and communication
  • Enhanced health (lower blood pressure, more restful sleep, reduced incidence of common illnesses and serious diseases)
  • More financial rewards (bonuses, commissions, raises)
  • Additional smiles and laughter
  • Overall job satisfaction and fulfillment

How can you improve job satisfaction? The American Psychological Association’s feature article, “More than Job Satisfaction,” explains how scientists are discovering what makes work meaningful and points out how you can find value in any job.

Plus, you can start by checking out the free resources on this website to find step-by-step instructions for how you can achieve job satisfaction and live the good life at work using a proven, proprietary technique called SHIFT that’s already being used by many people to find their bliss. The five steps of the SHIFT technique are simple (but not necessarily easy) and common sense (but not common practice).

Let’s face it. There are a lot of things you have no control over that affect your job satisfaction – things like your responsibilities and duties, your salary, your hours, your boss, etc. These elements are, for the most part, pre-determined. But I’m here to tell you that those things don’t determine the quality of your job satisfaction and work experience. Professional Paradise has little to do with your career, your coworkers, your company, the commute or the cash. You – and you alone – determine whether you will experience job satisfaction and reside in Professional Prison or Professional Paradise.

Ready to experience job satisfaction throughout your team?

Invite me to share proven strategies and tools at your next leadership retreat.

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to take the first step.

“Darn it! I can’t rely on someone else for my job satisfaction.”

I can hear you now! You were thinking you could blame your disengagement and lack of job satisfaction on someone or something else (such as your boss, customers, coworkers or the organization).

No such luck! Your job satisfaction all comes down to you. Don’t you hate that? Well, you should love it! Why? Because it means you are in control. You have the choice and the ability to create a level of job satisfaction – Professional Paradise – you’ve never even imagined until now, no matter what you do or where you work. And you can achieve job satisfaction right now, today.

If you doubt the concept of Professional Paradise, that’s fine. For now, I’m asking you to simply be open to the possibility that Professional Paradise exists and job satisfaction is within your reach. Surely you have at least one friend who loves his or her job and would describe it as Professional Paradise. Keep this person in mind as you check out the free tools and resources to help you achieve job satisfaction. Think of how happy he or she sounds when you ask, “How’s work?”

Finding job satisfaction – your very own Professional Paradise – is not only possible, it’s a certainty, if you’re willing to make a few changes. You may be skeptical whether true job satisfaction is possible and that’s okay. You don’t have to believe yet. You just have to do one thing: Pack your bags for Professional Paradise.

Some people think job satisfaction means simply being happy at work. That’s a good start, but it is more than that…

Aon Hewitt, a global consulting firm that has done extensive research about engagement and job satisfaction, describes it this way: “Engagement is the emotional and intellectual commitment of an individual to build and sustain strong business performance.” I actually like that definition, but I think we need a simpler, easier-to-understand description of engagement – particularly as it relates to job satisfaction.

In my first book, SHIFT to Professional Paradise: 5 Steps to Less Stress, More Energy & Remarkable Results at Work, I describe employee engagement and job satisfaction as being satisfied, energized and productive at work. I find that the notion of being satisfied, energized and productive is almost universally accepted and something that just about everyone can agree on.

Let’s take a closer look at the three factors that significantly influence job satisfaction:

  • Satisfied is about being psychologically connected with our work. The brain is involved – we get some kind of positive emotional payoff from what we do day-in and day-out.
  • Energized means being willing to put forth effort over time. We behave in ways that demonstrate a high energy level, such as creative thinking, going above and beyond when necessary, giving discretionary effort and working at an efficient pace.
  • Productive means our efforts contribute to the overall vision and bottom line of the organization. We operate with an ownership mindset and are focused on doing work that helps patients, internal customers and the organization.

Why is job satisfaction important?

Most people inherently want to be satisfied, energized and productive at work. They genuinely want to contribute and make a positive difference for those they serve, and as a leader you can tap into this internal motivation. They want to make positive connections with patients or internal customers and co-workers. And they want to feel appreciated on a regular basis through thought, word and deed. (I’m sure you can think of some employees who could be considered good examples when it comes to job satisfaction.)

Over the last decade, billions of dollars and millions of hours have been invested by healthcare organizations across the country to foster job satisfaction among employees, yet disengagement is still at or near an all-time high. Why? Because we’ve been missing a key piece of the job satisfaction puzzle: the employees!

Developer, include “It Takes 3” graphic here

The solution to the job satisfaction is threefold. It Takes 3™ to create sustainable engagement. It takes…

  1. An organization that deliberately and consistently supports employee engagement at the strategic level;
  2. Leaders who regularly drive engagement at the tactical level;
  3. Individuals who are accountable for their job satisfaction at a personal level.

What’s missing in most discussions is the individual employee’s personal responsibility for his or her own job satisfaction.

For years, experts and healthcare organizations have focused on the first two areas when it comes to job satisfaction. Until recently, there was very little focus on employees taking responsibility for their own job satisfaction. Consider the typical employee job satisfaction survey questions. Are they focused equally on the employee’s role in creating engagement for themselves? Usually not. But they should be.

Unfortunately, healthcare organizations and their leaders have been misguided to believe that it’s their job – and theirs only – to guide employees to achieve job satisfaction. That’s not the case. Leaders are powerful influencers of engagement. Your organization must be committed to creating a culture of engagement and support employees’ efforts to achieve job satisfaction. Yet no matter how supportive the organization might be and how engaging a leader you are, you will never be able to engage an employee who doesn’t want to experience job satisfaction.

It is only when team members accept responsibility for their own job satisfaction that we can achieve sustainable results.

This is powerful, and it’s time we acknowledged that truth. In the It Takes 3™ model, engagement is represented by the point in the center where the organization, leader and employee circles all overlap. The organization and leaders are purposefully shown on the bottom because these two are foundational – they support engagement, which directly leads to job satisfaction. All three circles are the same size to show that all three elements are equally responsible. In addition, there’s give and take between each component (Organization to Leaders; Leaders to Individuals; and, Organization to Individuals).

Let’s look at these three elements in more detail:

  • An optimized organization that deliberately and consistently supports engagement and job satisfaction at the strategic level. Leaders must be able to clearly articulate their organization’s strategies that focus on engagement and job satisfaction. If they can’t articulate them, they probably aren’t being consistently implemented or measured. Can your leadership group identify your organization’s strategic engagement initiatives?
  • Leaders who regularly drive job satisfaction at the tactical level. Weaving the engagement thread into everything a leader does ensures that the focus is there day in and day out. These leaders will meet their goals faster and more productively.
  • Individuals who are accountable for their own job satisfaction at a personal level. It’s not enough to focus only on the organization’s and leaders’ roles in creating engagement. Everyone must own his or her own engagement at a personal level. It’s a choice each of us makes every day.

Finding job satisfaction – your very own Professional Paradise – is not only possible, it’s a certainty, if you’re willing to make a few changes.

Remember, your job satisfaction comes down to you. You have the choice and the ability to create a level of job satisfaction – Professional Paradise – you’ve never even imagined until now. What’s more, you can achieve job satisfaction right now, today. You may be skeptical whether true job satisfaction is possible and that’s okay. You don’t have to believe yet. You just have to do one thing: Pack your bags for Professional Paradise.

Engagement Insights & Ideas


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