When you think of your level of career satisfaction, it is likely about more than just money. A study, with results published in the Wall Street Journal, was recently released showing that $75,000 was the optimum salary for happiness. After that, monetary increases didn’t really contribute much to happiness. This has me thinking about what factors contribute to your level of career satisfaction.
How much money you make is definitely a factor that affects your career satisfaction. But it’s not just about the dollar amount. Also included is whether or not you think that you are being fairly compensated. How far your salary goes in your location — your discretionary income — is also a big factor in whether or not you are satisfied with your compensation.
Other Types of Compensation
Some people are happy taking a little less in terms of salary in exchange for other types of compensation. Benefits, such as a good health plan, can outweigh the take home pay. The retirement plan (and possible matching), vacation policy and even unpaid personal leave can all influence how you feel about your job. Some careers even offer perks, such as paid travel (business trips) and meal allowances.
Do You Find Your Work Stimulating?
Whether or not your career is interesting and stimulating can also make a difference in how you feel about your career. Think about what you do. Is it sometimes challenging? Do you feel engaged in your work? Work that you find interesting can be satisfying — even if you aren’t making a great deal. Others don’t really care about on-the-job stimulation; they are happy to punch in and out, and leave their work behind them to enjoy time at home.
Feeling of Appreciation
Everyone likes to feel appreciated. If you feel like you are being recognized for your contributions, you are more likely to be satisfied with your career. This recognition doesn’t even need to be monetary in some cases. Winning Workplaces cites information from a management consultant, Cindy Ventrice, that indicates that sometimes money isn’t the reward that workers want. Instead, many employees want individual recognition and appreciation. Are you that way? Would you be more motivated by a bigger paycheck, or better appreciation?
One of the reasons I’m happy with my career is that it is flexible, and I can work from home. The ability to set my own schedule, choose who I work for, and do it all from home makes a big difference in my level of satisfaction. My husband likes to interact with others. I enjoy personal interaction, but I don’t need it as much as my husband does. He also likes to have clearly defined parameters for his work — and be able to leave it at the office. While I thrive in a work from home environment, it drives my husband crazy. Where and how you work, time you get to spend with your family when not working, as well as the commute you have, are all factors that can influence job satisfaction.
Your own satisfaction with your career depends on your personality, and what you find important. What matters most to you in terms of career satisfaction?