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Characteristics of a Satisfying Job

by Rick Suttle

Early Americans likely took job satisfaction into account when they included "pursuit of happiness" in the Declaration of Independence. Yet, even in modern times, only 38 percent are "very satisfied" with their jobs -- and 19 percent are at least "somewhat dissatisfied" with them -- according to a 2012 Society of Human Resource Management's survey. Certain characteristics help establish job satisfaction for employees, and the more you have in your own job, the happier you will be with it.

Enjoyment

Find a job that you enjoy if want to be highly satisfied with it. You may have a domineering boss or have a few annoying co-workers, but you'll at least like your job. Career coach, Kathy Caprino, recommends that you revisit your teens to determine what you really love doing, according to her "Forbes" article, "5 Core Steps to a More Satisfying Career in 2012." If you loved collecting baseball memorabilia in high school, you may enjoy selling these items or opening a baseball memorabilia shop. Similarly, an early penchant for math or problem-solving could indicate you would be more satisfied working as a math teacher or an accountant than what you currently do.

Job Fit

Make sure your job fits your key skillset. You are more likely to be satisfied with a job if your skills closely match those of the job description. For example, if you are a marketing consultant, your job probably requires analytical, organizational and problem-solving skills. If you are proficient in these core skills, you have a better chance for job satisfaction. Being overqualified for a job can lead to boredom. If you are underqualified, you may be under too much stress to adequately perform your job. This alone can cause job dissatisfaction.

Achievement

Seek a job that enables you to continuously accomplish goals. Whether they are an engineers or finance managers, most professionals have the inherent need for achievement. The need for achievement is best illustrated in Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, according to NetMBA.com, which places self-actualization above esteem, social, safety and physiological needs. Self-actualization refers to your ability to meet your full potential. If you have the job you want, you can better ensure job satisfaction if you are also meeting the goals you set for yourself.

Compensation and Rewards

Pursue a job that both compensates and rewards you fairly. Research salary ranges for your job title. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists salaries for most jobs. You can also conduct a salary search on job websites such as Indeed and Simply Hired. Determine the average salary range for your job title, and then select a job that falls within that range. Moreover, ask about certain rewards when interviewing for a new job, and ensure they are commensurate with industry standards. For example, if a 15 percent bonus is standard in your field when a company meets its profit goals, make that your minimal goal when accepting a job. Money is not always a primary motivator for a career, But if you aren't making what you're worth, it can cause dissatisfaction on a job.

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