The Difference Between Job Satisfaction and Career Contentment

Understanding

Understanding your job satisfaction and career satisfaction are important keys to success. Can we define the two within an organization and our specific role? The answer is yes.

A career can be defined as our occupational progress through our lifetime. It includes a pattern of work-related experiences and activities, such as job positions, duties, decisions and our subjective interpretations about work-related events.

Job satisfaction, as defined by Dictionary.com, is “the extent to which a person’s hopes, desires, and expectations about the employment he or she is engaged in are fulfilled.” In other words, it is about your contentment.

Do you want to be successful and increase your job and career satisfaction? Work to align with these three pieces of advice:

1. Think internally and understand your organization.

The mission statement of an organization not only defines its purpose, it also includes its core values. As you reflect on your organization’s commitment and purpose, think about the challenges it faces. Today, most organizations are in a continuous-change model and are always innovating for sustainment and growth. They are constantly designing, formulating strategies, and working to add value (Weiss, 2012). To support our organizations to the best of our abilities, we want to provide our very best to align effectively with leadership and organizational strategies, systems, structure, and culture.

2. Think about your career, passions, and individual needs.

Assess yourself, and know your strengths and developmental needs. Examine your passion and purpose. Your passion is your sense of energy for something, your internal energy source (Hudson and McLean, 2006). Your life is a work of art, so paint your picture! As you look ahead, what does your picture look like? How do you see yourself in the next 6 to 12 months (short term)? How about in the next 1 to 2 years (mid term)? How about the next two years and out (long term)? Where would you like to be and why? What does success look like for you? Where do you feel you can best serve to further your job contentment and to be optimal and successful in your career? Your contentment and capacity for success is dependent upon answers to these questions.

3. Think about your organization’s interests and your interests.

Become aware of your interests and those of your organization. Continue to develop in ways that link your personal effectiveness and satisfaction with the achievement of organizational goals, core values, and strategic objectives. This strategy is very gratifying, and you can achieve greater job satisfaction and career success within your organization. Today, more than ever, having an advanced understanding of emotional, cultural, and social intelligence is essential. You need to understand the context and culture in situations and use your emotional intelligence (self and relationship management, self awareness, and social awareness). Furthermore, innovation, quality, caring, collegiality, and collaboration are just some of the important values you should aim to embody. Being an effective team player will allow you to seek those other positions you desire, and in the process, you are working to support your organization’s strategies, systems, structure, and culture. When you do this work, you are achieving greater job satisfaction in the roles you play and making progress to fulfill your purpose.

There is no guarantee for complete success, but you now have a model and process to follow to increase your job satisfaction and career success. Dreams and goals do come true – they just take time. So set your goals and plans, and give your very best to yourself and to your organizations. When people have a great attitude and remain committed to working hard, good things happen. The late Steve Jobs once said, “Have faith in the future, and trust that the dots will somehow connect.” Serendipitous moments do occur and progress and results follow.

Written by Bill Davis
Bill Davis is an instructor with Forbes School of Business® at Ashford University.

References

Hudson, F.M., & McLean, D.P. (2006). Life launch: A passionate guide to the rest of your life. Santa Barbara, CA: Hudson Institute Press.

Weiss, J.W. (2012). Organizational Change. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

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