How to jump start your job satisfaction!

Confucius once said, “Choose a job you love and you'll never have to work a day in your life." Despite the fact that he said this 2500 years ago it is still very true today.


In our busy modern lives, the average working week in the UK is 36.4 hours (this doesn't include roles such as being a parent which is unpaid!). This means that we spend on average 22% of our week in work and 33% asleep, leaving only 45% of our time free. But as we all know, 'free' time is often not free due to chores such as cooking, cleaning, food shopping, school runs, and exercise to name but a few!

This is why Confucius was correct. Our daily work, be it paid or unpaid, makes up such a large part of our lives that if we do not enjoy it it will have a huge impact on our mental health and well-being. So what can we do about this?

A leading psychologist in this field, Amy Wrzesniewski, found a clear relationship between job and life satisfaction. In her research, she concluded there were three categories our work life can fall into:

  • Work as a job: This is the least rewarding type of job, you do it because you have to. You take little satisfaction or pleasure from doing it but you need the money you earn to pay for other things in your life.
  • Work as a career: This is a job you complete as a means to an end. You take some pleasure from it but the main aim of the role is to help you progress to the job or life you ultimately want.
  • Work as a calling: This is the type of job that you take, not for money or progression, but because you truly enjoy the role. You take great pleasure and satisfaction from your work and would miss it if you had to stop. 

In my empowerment coaching practice, I have helped many people navigate their work-life balance. This is also known as career coaching, as it can have a large impact on many aspects of our self-esteem, confidence, resilience and also on our relationships. One aspect that I find many clients struggle with is their belief systems and expectations. I discuss these in more detail in my article 'Empowerment through adversity'.

Mainly, the idea that we haveto play a certain role in our society or family. An example of this is a client I worked with in the past who hated his job. This was causing him to feel a massive level of dissatisfaction and frustration which was affecting his emotional health. By breaking down and evaluating his core belief that he must be the 'breadwinner', it soon became clear that this was the key reason he had stayed in this toxic environment for so long.

I encouraged him to speak to his wife about his issues and how they were making him feel. The outcome of this was that his wife increased her hours slightly at work, they cut back on a few things such as takeaways and he retrained in a role which he had always dreamed of doing. Ultimately, I am pleased to say he is now more satisfied and happier than ever!

So how can you change your job satisfaction?

Firstly try this activity to see if you are suffering from low job satisfaction:

  1. Think of the job you do now (paid or unpaid).
  2. Do you see it as a job, a career or a calling?
  3. If it is a calling what aspects do you get the largest amount of satisfaction or happiness from?
  4. If it is a job or a career, have your previous roles made you feel this way?
  5. If they haven’t, try to pinpoint what aspects of your previous jobs gave you a high level of satisfaction.
  6. If they have, and you have always had low job satisfaction, try to think of aspects of your life that do give you pleasure, meaning or purpose.
  7. Can you alter your current role to include these skills, attributes or qualities?
  8. Is there a career you can think of that does require these skills, attributes or qualities?

If you have arrived at the conclusion that you are unsatisfied with your current job the big question now is "What’s next?" In an ideal world, we would retrain or move to another job or career but in reality, this is not always possible. However, there are things that you can do! Jane Dutton suggests that we must reframe or recraft our work life. This can be done in three ways:

1. Change your work tasks

By changing what you do at work, your job will still be the same but it will be more varied and interesting. For instance, a teacher could organise a new club or become more involved in charity events in the school. Maybe try taking on new roles such as organising a trip or even offering to teach a slightly different topic or area of their subject.

2. Change your work relationships

Start to enjoy the positive relationships you can have and build in the workplace with customers, colleagues, students, clients, etc. Try to take more time to get to know the people you spend nearly a quatre of your week with. You may find you have lots in common than you thought. Even something as small as going for a walk at lunchtime with a colleague for a coffee and a chat can lift your mood!

3. Change your work perception 

As I described in my article 'The wedding dress phenomenon', our perception can have a massive effect on our responses to situations as well as our mental health. By altering our perception of our jobs we can start to appreciate them more. For example, at times a teacher may become very overwhelmed and disappointed about the education system and the 'grades-based economy' that it has become. However, this viewpoint could be distracting them from the true reason they became a teacher in the first place, to help people.

Changing their perception so this is their focus will help to change this. For example, they will notice students rather than targets and see them gain the grades they need to go to their dream university course while knowing that they had played a small part will replace low job satisfaction with a high sense of pride and happiness!

Try these activities and I hope they jumpstart your job satisfaction! Because let's face it... If we have to be in work for nearly a quarter of our waking week let’s make it empowering!

If you would like more advice on career or empowerment coaching, please contact me

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Rayleigh, Essex, SS6
Written by Rosslyn Whellams, BSc in Psychology and a Diploma in Emotional Health Coaching
Rayleigh, Essex, SS6

My name is Rosslyn Whellams and I am an Empowerment Coach and Psychology Teacher living in Rayleigh, Essex. I offer in person or online affordable, effective and tailored individual Empowerment Coaching as well as set courses and programs. My goal is to help my Clients improve their lives by finding and increasing their Emotional Empowerment!

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