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February 24, 2023 - 5 minutes

Job Satisfaction: What Is It and Where Does It Come From?

This is how to make your professional happiness bloom

Ironhack - Changing The Future of Tech Education


Isn't being happy at work what everyone wants? It's the key to stop feeling like you're working: you’ll get up in the morning with a smile on your face. You may even be wondering right now if changing careers would enhance your fulfillment in your work. And maybe you’re right! Life is much too short to spend 8 hours a day (or more!) in a job you dislike.

But is this the only way to enjoy going to work every day? Of course not. Here’s an overview of what can make a job fulfilling.

What is Job Satisfaction?

Job satisfaction is the balance between what you want from your job and what you get from it. It is something extremely personal and can change throughout one's life. 

Some people get more satisfaction from a good salary, others from more free time, and others from good relationships with their colleagues or their boss. How can we increase this satisfaction?

Here is a step-by-step guide that will teach you: 

  • how to get to know your desires at work 

  • how to know if your job is what you want it to be 

  • how to align your desires with the reality of your job

Find Out What Satisfaction at Work Means to You 

It's hard to work on what you professionally like if you haven't done the introspective work to understand what that is exactly. So, here's a simple exercise that will help you see things more clearly. Below you’ll find some criteria that can increase job satisfaction. Rate them from 1 to 10 and then rank them in order of importance

For example, I would rank salary at 8/10. So, that's my first point:

  • Salary and perks

  • The company’s sector and mission

  • Day-to-day tasks 

  • The job’s usefulness

  • Workload

  • Work environment 

  • Evolution perspectives

  • Relationship to my boss

  • Relationship to my colleagues

  • Learning opportunities

Then rate where your current job stands on the same scale. For example, you may rate your satisfaction with your current salary on a 5/10 scale. 

This simple method will show you both what is important to you and where your current job sits. From there, you can focus on the important things where you rank lower.

10 Things That Generally Make People Happy at Work

Finding your assignments exciting

We all have that developer buddy who could spend his days and nights coding. Coding until he forgets to eat or to do his weekly shopping. Are you smiling? Is it because you know this friend too, or is it because you’re the kind of person who would stay in front of your code too? 

Joking aside, finding the work activity that makes us lose track of time is a great way to be permanently happy at work. Maybe it's computer development, something very creative like design or painting, or a job that requires a lot of contact with others (product manager? Customer care representative? Teacher?). 

Do you want to learn how to code in order to have the pleasure to dive into your computer screen? Ironhack's bootcamps will help you to be fulfilled in a web developer position.

Good opportunities 

Pride is not far from happiness so carefully choose the projects on which you spend your time. Have you been working on the release of your company's new website or on a visual identity for a client that you particularly like? Being able to say that it is your team and your work that achieved this masterpiece should make you feel good. It's real: you shouldn't deprive yourself of these small victories. 

Being useful

More and more professionals are measuring their job satisfaction by the usefulness of their work. Think about this the next time you have to choose between a social or environmentally beneficial business and a neutral or harmful one.

Learning everyday

A human is a cerebral animal: learning is at the heart of his humanity and it's something everyone loves to do. At your job, opportunities to grow your skills are therefore important. These could be: 

  • Training paid for by your employer, either in person or online 

  • A free online course that you take on the subway or train on your way home 

  • A podcast you listen to on a work-related or soft-skills topic 

  • A lunch where you ask your colleague questions to learn from them 

  • Watching how your brilliant boss handles a situation at work or manages you 

Social interactions

What could be more fulfilling than having good relationships with your colleagues, especially for extroverts who recharge their batteries by interacting with others?

Indeed, job satisfaction can come from the smallest things:

  • A coffee in the sun on the terrace at work with your boss 

  • A video call with a colleague who works from a different office

  • An afterwork to simply spend time with those nice people from your team or from other departments 

  • A lunch with someone from your company or a client with whom you get along well 

This works for both in-house employees and freelancers; many workers cultivate social relationships in entrepreneurial clubs, women's clubs, or around common interests. 

Giving compliments - accepting some too 

Compliments are an amazing way to strengthen your relationship with your colleagues, but also to receive small shots of serotonin (also called the happiness hormone). 

You can practice them every day by working on the reflex to give them. Be careful, they must be sincere and free of any secret agenda. You will receive more and more of them and learn to receive and remember them. 

Variety or, on the contrary, stability

Depending on your profile and your current needs but also on the period of life you are currently in, you may be down for very varied tasks or a stable, even repetitive job. There is no judgment in either; it’s up to you to decide.

Autonomy and trust

Few professionals enjoy being micromanaged. Gaining the trust of your boss and the space to work independently can bring a lot of satisfaction. 

Remote work

The flexibility provided by telecommuting can be very nice too:

  • Having the right to organize your time as you wish 

  • Loading your laundry machine between meetings so you don't have to do it on the weekend

  • Working from the comfort of your couch

All of these bring satisfaction to many people.

A good salary

Let's not lie to ourselves, the salary, even if it is not always the first point, remains important. A raise, a bonus, and financial security can be powerful factors of satisfaction. Being underpaid is also a very common reason for dissatisfaction. So, think about negotiating your salary well before joining your next adventure.

That's it! You now know the method to better understand your needs at work. Now, it's up to you to see which elements inspire you the most and to make sure you find them at work... Being dissatisfied at work is not a necessity!

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