Job Satisfaction: Do you love work or hate work?

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The data around this topic is murky—some surveys determined that the majority of Americans love their jobs, while other surveys determined that the majority hate their jobs—but the main point is this: Lots of people either love or hate work, while some fall in between. What about you? Love work, hate work or fall somewhere in between? Unsure? Whatever the case, this article will help you take a step back, calmly assess your actual job and determine your real feelings. It’s a fun exercise in general, and a constructive exercise when deciding to stick around or go job hopping.

Without further ado, here are five critical factors—or really, questions (along with some advice)—to help you assess your job satisfaction:

Do you dread going to work in the morning?

OK, so you’ve had your coffee and bagel or tea and biscuit or whatever it is you eat for breakfast. Now, on your morning commute, if you’re regularly tempted to veer off the beaten path to the countryside instead of head downtown to work, you have a clear signal—a green light to at least see what jobs are out there.

But before you say “Yes that’s me; I should quit,” hold on a minute. Try defining the exact reasons you dread work and see if you can change them. For example, are you bored? Are you held back? Does your boss put too much pressure on you? Speak to your manager about learning opportunities, diversifying your workload, taking some stuff off your plate—whatever will help resolve your unique issue. Oh, and if your problem is annoying coworkers, we happen to have an entire post dedicated to that.

Do you have the proper tools to do your job to the best of your ability?

This one is pretty easy to measure. You know which technology and tools can make your job more effective and productive, but if your company does not invest in those resources your talent is wasted. What’s worse is that lack of equipment could put lots of things in jeopardy: your skills, your career growth, even your safety. Know what your talent, potential—and even comfort—requires, and when searching for a job, make sure it’s provided to you. By requesting this info, not only are you looking out for yourself, but showcasing your ambition and knowledge to employers.

Do your coworkers create a toxic environment?

If you’ve been in one or more uncomfortable situations because of your manager or coworkers, speak to HR immediately. We’re talking about beyond harsh communication, uncomfortable topics, inappropriate gestures, etc. Discretely escalate the issue(s) to HR and work to fix them. If you don’t see improvement, it’s probably time to go. Not much more you can say here.

Do you have a “work spouse” or best friend in the office?

Regardless of the label, we’re talking about someone who has your back in the workplace. Someone who you can rely on, talk to and confide in? Someone who creates the opposite of a toxic environment. If you have this person, great; If you don’t, bummer. Because you’d be surprised how much comfort this person brings. They can help you keep your sanity and make your job more rewarding. When you spend around 40 hours in the same place every week, you can’t do it alone in your cubicle or office. And you need more than light social moments in meetings; you need a go-to friend.

Are you being paid a competitive salary?

We saved the best (or maybe the most important) for last—at least to lots of American workers. Because, like it or not, money is important; we all have bills to pay and things to do. So, are your being paid what you deserve based on your job title, location and contribution? If you’re not sure—or even if you are—check out our salary calculator. You’ll select a job title, a location and a company size, and we’ll tell you what you should make in your current or future job. If you’re below market value in your current job, it’s time to chat with your manager. Odds are, they’re willing to negotiate with you. And if they’re not, there certainly are other companies that will.

Alright, you considered each of the five factors above. How’d you answer the questions? Three out of five? Four out of five? Better? Worse? Regardless, we hope you found our advice thought provoking. Because you should always be thinking about your job and your position on the career ladder, whether positive or negative.

Love your job or hate your job, we’ll leave you with some related insights. Good luck! And let us know if you need any help.

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