The Secret of Job Contentment
I’ve known a lot of people who don’t like their jobs. Or their bosses. They believed they are under-paid and under-appreciated and were frustrated that their career progress didn’t match their own aspirations. Even worse they were envious of others who seemed to be doing better than they were. Does any of this sound familiar?
The answer may lie in how they define their own happiness and contentment. They’d line up for their annual performance review hoping that they will be treated kindly and provided with more money, more opportunities and the fabulous benefits they believe they are entitled to. And therein lays the problem. The boss is just another cog in the machine, many times with a limited capacity to influence much and constrained by budgets and the pressures from his/her own bosses. They might try their best (or not) but they come up short because the pool is too small to satisfy everyone. People get frustrated and resentment sets in.
Here’s the hard lesson – if you waste time thinking you deserve something more than what you’ve got then you’ll probably end up toxic and disgruntled if you don’t get it. That’s a bad place to be. Especially as there’s a fair chance that the problem is as much with you as it is with your organisation.
So what’s the solution?
Leave. If it is unbearable go and get a job somewhere else (or even start your own business). Hopefully it will be better there. Maybe. Or maybe the cycle of frustration will repeat itself within a year or two. What actually happens might largely depend on your own attitude (read on…)
Get happy. Huh? Yes, I’m serious. Start getting happy where you are. With whatever you have. And stop worrying and fretting about what you haven’t got. Focus instead on what you have got. Then commit to producing truly great work. Work that is important and valuable. That is fun and that you love doing. That will make you happy wherever you are or wherever you decide to go. Work that solves real problems and gets you noticed and rewarded.
You might think this over-simplifies what may seem to be a complex matter. But in the end there ARE only two options – stay or leave – and the choice will be different for every person. My point is not to let your attitude hold you back. A poor attitude and an aura of resentment will certainly get you noticed but it won’t do much for your job satisfaction or future prospects.
Getting happy and producing important and valuable work that you love doing – maybe that’s the holy grail of job contentment? Whatever else it’s a lot more fun to work this way. And it will get you favourably noticed – guaranteed. Eventually, you might even find companies that will walk over hot coals to retain you or hire you or even engage you if you decide to break out on your own…