What’s Missing? Find Your Link to Career Satisfaction


Would you like to have a job that fits? We spend so much time there. How can you afford to waste it on non-fulfilling experiences, let alone those that dull or even damage your sense of self and what’s possible in life? Human beings want to feel effective, useful to others in some way; it’s our nature. Often there’s a feeling of something missing at work. But what is missing? And what can you do about it? Authors of “The New What You Can Do with a Law Degree,” Dr. Larry Richard and Tanya Hanson have a system for diagnosing the trouble and recommendations for improving career satisfaction. Their five career elements discussed in this blog are values, psychological needs, communication style, motivated skills and interests.

If you lack a values connection at work, the common feeling is disappointment. Values, such as time for family, financial security, creative expression and community are the most important aspect of career experience. Sometimes seemingly intangible, they must be met if one is to feel content within the work place. What is most important to you, in life and in worklife? What changes in your career or job would bring you more alignment with what’s truly meaningful to you?

If your psychological needs are not met there’s often a feeling of frustration, even anger. Examples of such needs are control, affection, working with a team, precision, order, recognition, continuity and so on. Funny thing, if your needs are being met, you may feel neutral about your work situation. It isn’t until a need is not met that we often realize its importance. What are the psychological needs that you want fulfilled by your choice of occupation and company?

Some clients complain they experience confusion or alienation at work. This is evidence of a difference in communication style, which is a reflection of personality differences. We want to be around others we connect with, understand, where we experience cohesion and camaraderie. Check out your Meyers-Briggs Personality Profile. Find out what kind of work and work places are known to be a fit for your personality type. Move beyond the feeling of being in the wrong fish bowl. (Free versions of the Meyers-Briggs test are on line. One is www.typefocus.com.)

Feel empty at work, as if something is missing? It could be that you’re not using skills you are motivated to use. If you do use skills that you enjoy using and are good at, the result is typically one of effectiveness. What would you really like to be doing all day?

The most visible component of career satisfaction is an interest in the subject or mission of the company according to Richard and Hanson. The diagnostic feeling that there is no fit is boredom, no sense of connection or engagement with what’s going on at work. What are your interests as they relate to the world of work? What engages you? Can you imagine a setting or job/activity what would hold your interest?

Join the growing number who experience feeling alive at work, not having to hold back who they are. People who truly love their careers live longer and report more overall satisfaction not just with work, but also with who they have become and with life itself.


Originally posted on Career Transition: The Inside Job