You want to love your job, you want to have career satisfaction, but have you ever taken the time to think about what career satisfaction means to you? This article outlines the main reasons why people feel satisfied with their job. So read through each of these 8 areas, and decide if they are being met in your job (or not).

Do you need mentally challenging work?
Some people like to daydream on the job and not be bothered with mental challenge - they work to pay the bills while their out of work life gives them the satisfaction they need. Glen is a postman and also plays in a couple of folk bands. He can't make enough money to survive through music, he's tried it, so the delivery work pays the bills and gives him the time to practice and compose. Most people, however, crave some intellectual stimulation during their working day. They seek challenge but it should be just enough so that they can meet it successfully, too much challenge can be stressful.

Does your work need to be personally interesting?
Our interests differ - what do you prefer? Being outside and working on practical tasks? Problem solving? Being part of a team? If someone is interested in the arts, do they want to work for an arts organisation or do they want to keep work separate? Lisa loved embroidery, and spends most evenings on this, but a job in an embroidery shop was not as fulfilling as she had hoped, and resulted in her not wanting to do more of the same in the evenings.

What sort of physical demands is right for you?
Vicki is so interested in health and fitness that a job as a personal trainer and running aerobic exercise classes was perfect for her. Dan loves working on a farm, being outside and doing heavy work keeps him fit and he would hate to be in an office job. However, Derek, whose work involved a lot of international travel, found that flying across continents, dealing with the time difference and waiting at airports was too stressful and he wanted to be able to concentrate on the job, rather than to have to deal with the stress of travel.

Do you want your work to be seen as valuable?
Do you need to feel that you are doing a worthwhile job and making a difference? Is it important what other people think of your job and the organisation you work for? Denise recognised that certain consulting assignments did not give her a feeling of making a difference so she decided to concentrate on working with individuals where she got immediate feedback from her clients on the value of her work.

How important are colleagues to you?
Do you need to work with people that you get on with and who are team players, willing to help out and give you recognition and support? Or does working with 'difficult' people give you some sort of challenge? Ben hadn't realised the importance of this till be started working with moaners and gripers. A change of job led to a real team spirit and a joy in going to work each day.

Does your work need to be consistent with your values?
Our values are the guiding principles that drive our behaviour. If we have a life in line with our values we are likely to experience greater satisfaction. When our values are incongruent with our career it can lead to stress and discomfort. Values include Challenge, Friendship, Working with others, Recognition, Communication, Being expert, Independence, Making decisions and Excitement. To what extent does your job allow you to meet your top values?

Will money motivate you?
I've spoken with many people who think that a high salary is the most important element of job satisfaction, as long as they are getting highly paid, they think they can put up with anything. However, after a few years, many decide that money isn't everything, and, like Fi, are willing to take a substantial pay cut if other aspects of career satisfaction are met. Is money the main motivator for you? Linked to this is feeling that you are paid fairly for the work you do. If a similar sort of work is paid at a higher rate elsewhere you may decide to move on as you feel undervalued.

Do you need the company to meet your career plans?
Are you seeking to gain greater technical expertise, the opportunity to work flexible hours or an opportunity for promotion into management? Some people hope that the company will manage their career and give them the opportunities they seek? Other people want to take personal responsibility. Do you want to manage your own career through a number of different companies or to develop within your current organisation? Get it wrong and you could be frustrated.

So how about you, what do you need to have career satisfaction? How does your job measure up?

Author's Bio: 

Brought to you by Denise Taylor, Chartered Occupational Psychologist. Denise is a careers expert who specialises in helping individuals achieve career satisfaction and to take a systematic approach to job search. Do you need help with job search? Whether it’s CV preparation, interview practice, increasing your profile or self marketing, let Denise guide you though the maze so you get a job quicker, make more money & have fun while you do it.