4 Small Things That Are Destroying Your Job Satisfaction

Last Updated Jul 26, 2011 7:01 AM EDT

According to The Conference Board, "through both the booms and the busts of the past two decades, job satisfaction numbers have shown a consistent downward trend." Depending on who you ask, economic insecurity, the changing nature of many of our jobs due to technology or the erosion of the covenant between employer and worker may be to blame. Whichever of these broad trends is driving the downward creep of job satisfaction, they all have something in common -- there's not much you can individually do about them.

There are smaller factors that can nibble away at your job satisfaction, however. PsyBlog recently listed ten psychological keys to job satisfaction, the majority of which are the sort of day-to-day annoyances that could be fixed by a meeting with your boss or a change in your daily routine. So what job satisfaction sapping problems should you keep an eye out for?

Little hassles. If you ask doctors what is the worst part of their jobs, what do you think they say? Carrying out difficult, painful procedures? Telling people they've only got months to live? No, it's something that might seem much less stressful: administration. We tend to downplay day-to-day irritations, thinking we've got bigger fish to fry. But actually people's job satisfaction is surprisingly sensitive to daily hassles.

Perception of fair pay. Whatever your job, for you to be satisfied the pay should be fair. The bigger the difference between what you think you should earn and what you do earn, the less satisfied you'll be.

Feedback. There's nothing worse than not knowing whether or not you're doing a good job. When it comes to job satisfaction, no news is bad news. Getting negative feedback can be painful but at least it tells you where improvements can be made. On the other hand positive feedback can make all the difference to how satisfied people feel.

Honeymoons and hangovers. People experience honeymoon periods after a month or two in a new job when their satisfaction shoots up. But then it normally begins to tail off after six months or so.

For the other six job satisfaction killers, check out the complete post. So what's the lesson here for those who want to boost their satisfaction with their work? Luckily, all of these blocks to job satisfaction are fixable. Got little hassles? Eliminate them as much as possible and find creative ways to power through unavoidable boring tasks.

If you think you're underpaid, do something about it. A little research and a little courage could bag you a raise, and as BNET's Suzanne Lucas points out it's unlikely you'll be fired for asking. If you're struggling to work up the courage, we have plenty of tips to help. And the same goes for feedback. If you're not getting enough, it's time to ask for more.

Finally, there might not be much you can do about the waning of the honeymoon period at a new job, but knowing that a slight fall off in satisfaction is natural after a few months can keep you from stressing about it and might even be the key to getting you to kick your efforts to enjoy your job again into high gear.

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(Image courtesy of michelhrv, CC 2.0)
  • Jessica Stillman On Twitter»

    Jessica lives in London where she works as a freelance writer with interests in green business and tech, management, and marketing.