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Job satisfaction: Achievable? Friday, 29 August, 2008

Posted by Farbod in Features.
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Press TV – Job satisfaction: Achievable?.

by F. Mardi

Don’t let your job choose you; you choose your job!

Let’s look at these five points in reaching the top of Mount Job Satisfaction:
Long for the peak.
Assess yourself and the mountain.
Accept the challenge.
Don’t look down, just climb up.
Stay at the top.

In escape from Advanced Geometry, I fled the math major for science in high school. At the time I went to high school in Tehran, there were only two prestigious majors to choose between. Children of families like mine were expected to choose the math major in the second year of high school. At the age of sixteen, I was forced to make one of the most crucial decisions of my life. My high school major would determine my college major which in turn would determine my career.

From high school, I was admitted to university in Industrial Food Engineering. In Iran, students must be accepted to specific majors before they enter college, not while they study there. Four years of studying long hours, numerous trips to various factories and plants, and extensive lab work, now it was time to start working in the real world. Thank God I had to do an internship before receiving my degree. In just a week I had decided this was not for me. I envied the engineers in Research & Development; they had their hands on everything – from research through quality control to developing new products. It would have been a dream come true for me to start a career in a food plant and work my way up the chain, so that in about five years I could have a position I would enjoy.

After doing my internship I realized: I need people. Nothing can fulfill me like people do. With the grace of God I was offered a teaching job and I accepted. It made me think, it made me happy, it kept me going. No, this is not an autobiography you are reading. This is a real and true example of the importance of job satisfaction.

Just because I can do the coursework and work as an engineer doesn’t mean I have to. What matters is that you can do something you are good at and you want to! The waves of life sometimes bring in things that we must sort through. Just because they arrive on our shore does not mean we have no say in the matter.

Every human being is put here on Earth for a certain reason. What is that reason? What do you do best? Think of the job you would have to have so that you would jump out of bed every morning to get an early start. Envision yourself doing work that requires you to wind down at nights, just to get some sleep. What position would you like to have? One in which you could reach out to people and help them: an ultrasound technician, a flight attendant, a librarian? Or do you envision yourself going things alone: a lyricist, a park ranger, a theoretical scientist? Just by enjoying your job and being/doing your best at it, you would be helping all the people that you come in contact with.

According to an article titled “Why We’re Happy” in the Reader’s Digest, most Americans equate life satisfaction with job satisfaction. Among the people surveyed in 2002 who said they were happy, 95 percent were also satisfied with their jobs. Doesn’t this show the value of evaluating your life? You deserve it. Are you happy with what you are doing? Are you happy with where you are going?

The question of income is always an issue, it really does not matter how much you make a year. It never feels like it is enough. Underpaid and overworked is how a lot of us feel; but do we feel a sense of job satisfaction along with the long day’s work? Do you feel you are offering and receiving all that you can and should? Or deep down some where do you feel that you could be doing so much more?

The first step in the process is to long for a fulfilling job. Some people rarely go on vacations because they are so caught up in their jobs, other don’t go because they love their jobs so much they don’t want to leave. Which type are you? Which type would you like to be?

The second step is assessment. A person should assess his or her skills critically and objectively. You can ask your family and friends at first, and even seek professional assessment, such as aptitude tests and evaluations, if you think it is required.

The third step is to face reality. Can you have adventures in the sea without leaving the shore? At this stage a person must face reality and take risks! It might take a while before you reach that ideal job. You might need to take a training course and pay for it too. You might be out of a job for months before you get into the field that you are interested in. You might want to keep your job until you find a replacement, but that rarely works. The point of all this is to say that any change is scary, risky and based on the laws of inertia – we do not want to have anything to do with it! Face your fears, what is the worst that can happen? Live a little. Find the life you want and live it.

The fourth step is to persevere. Never give up. Keep trying until you get what you want. Buy a little ant farm and watch them work whenever you think of giving up. Erase all negative thoughts from your brain every morning. Negative thoughts will only slow you down and make the process painful. Do not listen to people who tell you that you are making the biggest mistake of your life. They are even more scared than you! Climb the mountain of success, it is worth it.

The fifth step is to excel at what you do and enjoy every minute of your glory. This should not be difficult, as you are doing what you like to do! Staying at the top is as important as getting to the top. Sometimes it is even as much work as getting there.

Once I decided to make teaching my profession I studied day and night for four months to get admitted to a Master’s program. Then I had to go back to school for two years. If now I don’t research the newest material, methods and debates, how can I expect to maintain my status?

There really is no final step. One should look at this quest as a cycle. From a linear perspective, we constantly ask ourselves, when can I stop? Am I there yet? The truthful answer is never. We must strive to be our best every day of our lives. Envision a spiral – think of your life.

Time, energy and love must be put into everything we do. We are here to watch the blossoming of our own talent and skill. We are in this world to help one another flourish. Every person must decide how he or she is going to tackle the job.

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