By Rhonda Collins, I Start Wondering Columnist
Have you ever had a job where you dreaded going to work every day? Maybe you feel that way now. Fewer situations are as miserable as hating your job.
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon. Gallup research (2016) shows that only 54% of U.S. citizens are completely satisfied in their current employment situations and only 33% feel engaged at work. That means almost two-thirds of people are not entirely content with and don’t feel that spark of connection or excitement for their existing jobs.
In some cases, the dissatisfaction stems from “environmental” or “cultural” factors such as a miserable boss, an unsafe workspace or a crazy commute to work. (In a future column, I will discuss how you can take some steps to mitigate the stress of these situations.)
But for many people, this discontent often comes from having a job that’s a poor match for the person holding the position. Based on almost 40 years of my own work experience, the research findings on job satisfaction, and from advising many clients, I have found three key factors that must be aligned for a job to be truly rewarding and satisfying.
Many career advisors and head hunters will encourage both job seekers and employers to focus on the standard “KSA” – knowledge, skills and abilities – of a job posting to match the position to the applicant. In contrast, I believe we are all better served by focusing on the “VIP” – values, interests and personality – to determine the best match.
Why not KSA? Because those requirements can be taught. Employees can learn the facts and jargon of any industry. They can be trained to have the skill set for a particular job. They can gain necessary abilities through experience.
In contrast, it’s very difficult — if not impossible — for an employer to teach people to have different personalities or to persuade them to change their values. An employer might get a new employee interested in a new subject, but isn’t it better for that employee to work in an environment where she already has a long-time interest?
Our interests, values and personality define who we are. These innate and deeply embedded factors not only form our identity, but also make a strong contribution to how comfortable and satisfied we feel in all kinds of life situations, including our jobs.
For true career satisfaction, we must align our occupations with our VIP. When this happens, we enjoy going to work each day because we feel productive and competent as we do work that feels worthwhile.
Making the Best Career Choice
So many of us “fall” into our careers. We pick something we know: the occupation of a relative or friend who seems to like what they do. Or we find a job in a place where it’s easy to get hired. It takes most of us years or sometimes decades to find work that we love.
But you are never too old to find a career that will make you happy. Choose a position that aligns with your values, interests and personality, and you can be part of the 33% who are excited to go to work each day and feel satisfied when they come home at night.
In future columns, I will go into detail on each of these essential facets of who we are as individuals, and why each is important for making us feel satisfied and engaged in our chosen profession.
I would love to hear your feedback. Do you have a job that’s a good match for you? Tell us about it.
Sources for this Post
Gallup Poll on Work and Workplace Satisfaction (Aug. 2016)
Gallup Poll on Employee Engagement (Jan. 2016)