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Candidate Help & Advice

7 Key Characteristics to Job Satisfaction or Dissatisfaction

Job Satisfaction photo from ShutterstockDo you love or hate your job? Do you know why you feel the way you do? What about your current job, makes you happy or makes you want to pull your hair out?

Let’s discuss 7 key characteristics of your current job.

1. Boss

The number one reason people leave their jobs is the boss.

Do you like your current boss? If so, what is it that makes them a good boss? If your current boss is a pain, what is it that they do that annoys you?

Think back to when you had an ideal boss. What were their characteristics?

2. Rewards

Do you feel valued at work? What do they do to make you feel valued?

Most of us want some combination of the following:

  • Fulfilling Mission
  • Public Recognition
  • Financial reward
  • Pat on the back from the boss
  • Pat on the back from your team
  • Pat on the back from your client

Most of us want a combination of two or three of these. What is it that you want?

3. Team

Do you enjoy your current team? If so, what are the characteristics of the group? How would you describe a team that you have really enjoyed?

4. Variety

Do you like to juggle? Do you enjoy a varied schedule? You may be like me who enjoys doing one thing at a time and does not like to be interrupted.

How much variety do you need?

5. Structure and rules

Do you like when there are clearly defined ways to do things? If so, who created the structure? On the other hand do you enjoy ambiguity? Do you like to make things up as you go?

What happens when your boss comes into your office with a detailed list of how to do things and expects you to execute it in exactly that manner?

6. Activity

How much activity do you need in your day? If you are like me, I cannot sit behind a desk for more than 45 minutes at a time.

When I made a mid-career pivot to teach high school math in an inner city school, I was fine being on my feet all day. On the contrary, I had members of my certification cohort who were dying from being on their feet all day! My activity level was different than theirs.

7. Emotions

Do you need an emotionally supportive environment? I have had a couple of male clients respond with “huh?” Yes, many of us guys are pretty low empathy and do not want a very emotional environment.

What about you? Do you like to be able to express your feelings at work?

I have a client who is a former flight attendant. She talks about the high emotional component in the “back of the plane.”  However, she preferred the low emotional component in the front of the plane with the pilots!

Likely, there will be 3-4 of these characteristics that are more important than the others.

Which ones are key for you?

Here is a free career reflection worksheet to help you document these characteristics! No registration required.

Whether you are satisfied or dissatisfied with your current job, take the time to understand why! This may take awhile, but when you are done, you will have a filter that will help you identify the work environment that is right for you!

Marc MillerCareer Pivot

Check out my book Repurpose Your Career – A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

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