Job Satisfaction

An article on CNN.com revealed how employees who escaped the layoffs during the 2008  recession weren’t very happy due to the increased expectations of work completed, decreases in benefits, and, in some cases, decreases in pay. The article quotes a survey from Adecco Group North America that discovered that 54% of employed Americans were planning to start a job search after the economy rebounds. The percentage increased to 71% of those who were 18 to 29 years old. I would venture to say that these people are beyond “survivors guilt.”

Defining What You’re Looking For

If you happen to be planning to begin a job search as the economy starts to recover, it’s time to start doing your homework! Ask yourself questions that will help you define what companies and what positions you would be interested in. I recommend starting with creating your long term employment goals…what you want to be when you “grow up.” Ask yourself what kind of job/position/career would have you spring out of bed eager to get going? Remember to be specific with your goals because it’s harder to develop action plans to achieve goals that are nebulous. Also, remember that you can always adapt your goals as you learn more in the future!

If you’re undecided or having difficulty in defining this goal is, a great place to start looking is at your current and prior positions. What did you like about working in these positions? What did you dislike about working in these positions? Also, what was important to you about the position? Answering these questions will help you determine what values you were honoring and those values that you were “stepping on.” It will also help you understand what kind of corporate culture you want to be a part of.

Once you have defined some of your values around work, you may also want to look into what kind of work you want to do by again looking to your history and asking yourself some questions. Do you like working with people or independently? What benefits are mandatory for you vs. nice to have? What kind of hours do you want to work? [I remember that working 2nd shift was fine for me but I had tremendous difficulty transitioning to 3rd shift.] How flexible are you with pay? Are you willing to work on a draw / commission basis?

One final comment. I recommend that you talk with your boss about your findings, provided the current work culture matches the culture you’re seeking. Taking this action is part of being the leader of your life. Having this discussion with your boss may yield some surprising results, especially if you remain open to the possibilities that present themselves. As a leader in various organizations, I always appreciate the candid conversations about what goals people have so that I can better support them in achieving these goals.

The “Other” Side

From the perspective of a leader in an organization, this article was a reminder to connect with my people. I also tapped into my curiosity about what motivates my people, what makes them tick, what inspires them to do their greatest work, and what do they really want to do with their lives. As I learn the answers to these questions, I am then able to give these people opportunities that will support their goals. I find it extremely rewarding to see people “move confidently in the direction of their dreams,” as Thoreau would say. This is an opportunity to really serve these people as a leader in the organization.

When I probe my people like this, initially I often hear that no one has ever asked them these questions. I generally sense an air of appreciation and gratitude that I’m taking this level of interest in them. There may even be a sense of disbelief from the person. The key to being successful with this approach is to reach beyond just asking the question and act on what you hear!

So what’s in it for you as a leader in your organization? Well, a few things. What would it be like to have a loyal group of employees working for you? Think back to a time when you were fiercely loyal to one of your bosses, and remember what you were willing to do for that person.  What would be possible if you had a team of people that loyal to you? And how would you feel watching members of your team spreading their wings and soaring on their own, knowing that you helped these people realize their potential? From a practical standpoint, what costs associated with replacing a team member that you will avoid by retaining your talented and experienced people? There may be hard costs and opportunity costs associated with this.

Coaching

Regardless of which side of the table you are on, a coach is able to help you establish your vision and support you while you execute on it. By teaching you techniques and processes, my goal is to help you to realize your potential so that you, too, can spread your wings and soar. If you are interested in coaching, please contact me to schedule a free, no obligation sample session to experience my coaching first hand.

Gary Bamberger