This is why so many people are stuck at jobs they hate

As a full-time employee, I worked for five different companies in the span of 17 years. This would seem like a lot of companies in a relatively short period of time. It certainly would be for the older generation but not for the millennials.

These days, it appears to be more trendy to move more frequently from one company to another in search of better pay, more prestigious job title position, more authority, and more power.

As I think back to my career in the corporate world, I don’t recall too many times when I really had job satisfaction. Something was always missing that made the job frustrating for me — terrible bosses, incompetent colleagues, poor compensation, lack of passion, lack of corporate integrity, etc.

I don’t recall one person in my 17 years career in the corporate world that loved his or her job or had anything amazing to say about the job. It was more common to hear colleagues complain about one thing or the other about their jobs.

So, why is it so rare for many to find job satisfaction in the corporate world?

In an article by Michael Hyatt, he writes that job satisfaction requires three components:

  1. Passion: This is where it begins. What do you care about? What moves you? What problems do you want to solve or issues you want to address? If your heart is not in your work, you have a job but not a calling.
  2. Proficiency: Passion alone is not enough. You have to be good at what you do. Being good enough will not give you the satisfaction you desire. You have to excel at your craft and be awesome. Mastery is the goal.
  3. Profitability. To enjoy a successful career, people must be willing to pay you for what you do. You don’t have to get rich, but there must be a market for your product or service. Otherwise, your career is not sustainable.

As Michael writes, if you have all three of these components, you can experience genuine career satisfaction which is at the intersection of all of these three components as illustrated in the figure below:

Image for post
Image Credit: https://michaelhyatt.com/

Anything short of these three components intersecting perfectly will lead to something other than true job satisfaction.

  • If you have passion and proficiency without profitability, you have a hobby. Many people that work in the Not-For-Profit sector will fall into this category. They have the heart to serve using the skills they’ve been blessed with but end up overworked, stressed, and unable to pay their bills.
  • If you have passion and profitability without proficiency, you have failure. You can fake it in the short-term but in the long-term, your lack of proficiency will be exposed. You will struggle to get hired, or simply be flushed in the next round of layoffs.
  • If you have proficiency and profitability without passion, you have boredom. This was my story in the latter part of my career where I had the proficiency and had decent pay but was bored as the job did not fulfill me intellectually or otherwise.

This explains why the majority never find job satisfaction because it is rare to find a job that has a perfect intersection of all of these three components.

To find job satisfaction, you will have to create your own job. If you’re in the corporate world, this means you must be in a position with a lot of authority.

If you’re an entrepreneur you have a better chance of finding job satisfaction in your business. However, note that most entrepreneurs don’t start out here. It takes years of tweaking the business to get to the point where you will have true job satisfaction even as an entrepreneur.

Final Thoughts

If you have job satisfaction, lucky you. It is rare.

If you don’t, ask yourself, “Which of these three components am I missing? What could I do to become more satisfied with my job?

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The author KGreen