Did you know that the majority of Americans, 52.3%, are unhappy at work? Considering that many of us spend 40+ hours a week at work (90,000+ of our waking hours), that figure should shock and scare us! Employers beware: those who are happy at work are also 31% more productive than those who are unhappy at work.
How do so many Americans end up making the wrong decision regarding one of the most important aspects of their life? And how do employers end up hiring people that are not a good match — and thus prone to unhappiness or low productivity? As it turns out, we focus too much on salary, job title, and prestige and too little on other factors such as the mission and culture of our workplaces. These factors can strongly impact job satisfaction and productivity. In other words, both parties often fail to ask – in advance — if they are making the best match.
A recent New York Times article offered the advice to “resist the soul-crushing job’s promise of extra money and savor the more satisfying conditions you’ll find in one that pays a little less.”
How do you find a job with more satisfying work conditions? You have to think! Ask yourself what you’re looking for in your career, and consider what work settings have been rewarding for you in the past.
The New York Times discussed a scenario that was posed to Cornell University seniors, asking them to decide how they would choose between two job offers:
1 – Writing advertising copy for the American Cancer Society campaign to discourage teenage smoking or
2 – Writing advertising copy for a tobacco company to encourage teen smoking.
Fully 90% of seniors said they would take the American Cancer Society job. When asked how much more they would need to get paid to take the tobacco company job, they said 80% more.
If you’re mostly thinking of salary — or taking the first job that you stumble upon — chances are that you are not engaging in a deep analysis of your personality, interests, and what motivates and satisfies you in the workplace. How can you expect to be happy at work if you do not engage in this basic analysis? As an employer, how can you expect your employees to be productive if you do not engage in that same analysis?
If you are passionate about decreasing teenage smoking, that passion can help compensate for earning a lower salary. But unless you stop and think about what your passions are, this insight will not occur to you.
To find out what will make you satisfied and productive at work, you cannot rely on luck to find the right job. Instead, engage in a deeper analysis of past factors that contributed to your school and work success. What types of people do you like interacting with? What types of work tasks do you enjoy? Do you prefer a job where you can talk to people frequently or a job where you can sit at your desk and think through difficult issues? Employers should ask job candidates these same types of behavioral questions.
Do you want help analyzing the factors that contribute to your satisfaction and success at work? Could you benefit from understanding your motivators, strengths, and personal values? The LawFit Career Assessment is specifically designed to guide law students in that analysis. For legal employers who want to analyze those factors in prospective lawyer candidates, LawFit can be a guide, as well. Please call if we can help arm you with the knowledge to make a better and more lasting career match!