Measuring Job Satisfaction: How To Be Happy With Your Job

by Jacques Sprenger on 2009-10-0217

Life is short, so why not find joy and fulfillment at work?

You can get rid of work FOREVER, without being a filthy rich millionaire. Maybe you are making $30,000 a year, ‘working’ 60 hours a week, with a mortgage and 2 kids. You can still get rid of work FOREVER. No, it’s not a gimmick; I am not trying to sell anything (though maybe I should).

How Do We Define “Work”: What Does The Dictionary Say?

What you define as ‘work’ is the key. Most people in this beautiful country would just shrug their shoulders and say “That’s why bars were invented”, to relieve the pernicious effects of daily toil (Hmmm, I like that phrase; sounds like Shakespeare on Wall Street 😉 ). Is work a painful exertion, a job like any other, a 9 to 5 effort in mediocrity, or is it what you live for?

While many people don’t want to ‘work’ forever, the truth is, I actually do. I work as a teacher and I look forward to going to my high school on Mondays. When I mentioned this feeling to some of my colleagues, they looked at me in astonishment. “What kind of weirdo is this guy?” Yes, I got impatient during our 2 month vacation; imagine that! I wanted to walk amongst young people and enjoy their energy. I ‘work’ as a teacher, yes, but also as a counselor, a confidant, a father figure, a friend, and as a constant reminder of the world’s beautiful diversity.

job satisfaction

Measuring Job Satisfaction: Questions You May Want To Answer

Are you happy at your present job? If you have doubts, try to answer the following questions:

1. Do I love my job or not? Then try to pinpoint the areas you like or dislike. Is it the boss, the environment, the salary, the colleagues, the challenge, the routine?

2. How do I feel on Monday morning before I go to work? Excited, grumpy, bored, alive, anxious, fearful, animated? Again, what specific aspects of my work make me feel that way?

3. Is there any way I can change the parts I don’t like? For example, you may be more skilled at planning than operating; or you may enjoy non routine work such as sales, which take you all over the country.

4. Who am I? What can I do better than anybody else in the company? Failing to take stock of your position and abilities may lead to more frustration.

5. Is this job (and company) what I want to do for the rest of my life? When I discovered that teaching was my real passion, I had been stuck in dead end office jobs that caused me and my family a lot of grief. I decided I’d rather earn less and do what I liked, rather than make more money and be miserable. It’s a no brainer, right? When it came to finding satisfaction with my job and life, it boiled down to making a lifestyle change.

How To Be Happy With Your Job

As I said at the beginning, you can rid of work FOREVER, by doing what you enjoy. Work, toil, and daily routine can become PURE ENJOYMENT. It’s about making a decision. What’s more important: an enjoyable job or more money? Sometimes these two goals may coalesce, and if this applies to you, then you are one fortunate individual. Most other times, you have to make a choice and determine your priorities at work. And for some of us, it’s not all about increasing our salary at all costs.

Here’s a wonderful story on this topic: a good friend of mine who worked as a high positioned executive in an insurance company decided one day that his real calling was as a farmer. He abandoned a lucrative career, bought a small farm, and started his back breaking work with gusto. He is one the happiest men I know, even though his marriage of 15 years suffered as a consequence. He has now found a woman who shares his enthusiasm for growing food.

It may not happen overnight, but you should have a reasonable timeline to reach your work goals. So next time that child inside of you asks, “Do you like this job? Are you happy?” You can answer with a resounding, “Yes!”

Copyright © 2009 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

John DeFlumeri Jr October 2, 2009 at 7:48 pm

That is a happy ending to a story of someone that had a good job money-wise but needed something more.

Rob Bennett October 3, 2009 at 6:01 am

I view fulfilling work as one of “the New Luxuries.”

Our economy is far more productive than it was decades ago. We all have the ability to retire years earlier than the age-65 norm that was established decades back. But most of us have a harder time saving than our parents did. Huh?

The problem is that we are saving for the wrong thing. For saving to get done, the saving goal needs to excite. If we were saving for the freedom to do the work we love, we would save more. And we would be happier and more fulfilled people.

The trick is escaping the trap of thinking that there is no way out of unfulfilling work and thus using the extra money that comes in as the consequence of greater productivity to medicate the pain we feel over not realizing our potential.

Good money management is an endless loop and so is bad money management. It’s coming up with a saving goal that excites that flips you from the bad loop to the good loop.


Lida October 3, 2009 at 8:14 am

You must be happy man. Especially this time. Economy sucks now. You must LOVE your F.. JOB. I’m sorry about my writing but it’s true…anyway good post, thanks for the advice.

Financial Samurai October 3, 2009 at 8:33 am

I absolutely agree with this concept and that is why if you don’t absolutely LOVE what you do by a certain age, walk away. We only have one go at life.

If in 10 years, I don’t love my job, even though the pay puts me in the ugly 35%+ federal tax bracket, I will do something else.

The secret is to amass the big nut, to allow you to live a care free life off the interest income, and then ALSO do what you love.


escapesomewhere October 3, 2009 at 6:03 pm

I think liking your job makes life easier. I think also liking your budget is good. Some people decide they will only be happy once they can afford 5 yaughts or something. This makes life a little harder to enjoy.

kenyantykoon October 4, 2009 at 2:23 am

i do some thing that i would gladly do for free if i didn’t need the money so much. i guess i am on the road to extreme riches because it feels like i am going to do this even when i am an old dry geezer.

basicmoneytips October 4, 2009 at 8:00 am

I think the old question do you live to work or work to live really applies here.

We have to work to maintain our existance. If we are willing and able to manage our existance (up or down) that will probably provide us greater flexibility when it comes to the jobs we can accept. I am all for loving your job, but if you have a family, you have to provide. I do not think you can love your job 100% of the time. Somedays I love my job and sometimes I am ready to quit. However, over the course of time I think I am satisfied.

Someone once told me this: if you do not like you job, look for a new one. If you like your job or if you are even okay with your job, you should probably stay put.

Goran Web Design October 4, 2009 at 11:43 pm

I feel that working for yourself is pretty much the most gratifying thing one can do, and as a total workaholic that has never worked for a boss I have dabbled in many things over the years, from car audio and security to advertising, and have loved what I was doing at any given time immensely.

Espressokocher October 6, 2009 at 2:54 pm

in Germany we call that thing “Arbeits-Lebens-Ausgleich”. That has unfortunately nothing to do whether you work for yourself as freelancer or as employee. So we need a new comparable number, or what do you think?

Jacques Sprenger October 6, 2009 at 4:04 pm

Espressok, if Ausgleich is seeking the proper balance between life and work, then I would still insist on my search for a job that fills me and fulfills my goals without sacrificing my private life. I mix both when I relate my school experiences to my wife and she enjoys feeling my enthusiasm. My profound satisfaction at making a difference for some teens also makes me a better husband and father, so both Leben and Arbeit are intimately intertwined.

Thank you so much for taking an interest in my article to all the people who made such contructive comments.

Matt October 7, 2009 at 12:53 pm

You know….

Most people don’t really like there job. Why? I don’t think the school system (from Kindergarten through College) is really designed to take a child towards his/her dreams.

And also, a lot of people have racked up so much debt that they CAN’T leave that high paying job (unless they completely changed there lifestyle and gave up there “status”).

That is the sad reality. The matrix is easy to get into… but hard to get out of.

Ned October 12, 2009 at 6:19 am

I have to agree with Matt. Remember how much energy credit card companies spent getting you a credit card while you were in college? They create lifelong clients. How many times has your debt kept you from making a leap?

Molly October 15, 2009 at 4:53 pm

I agree with Goran Web Designer. Loral talks about all that in her new book. If you don’t like your job or are unemployed, good! She says you need to create your OWN job, and you don’t even need any money. She has some tips similar to the ones in this article about finding your strengths, and using them to your advantage. Not done with her book yet, but I’m digging it so far. (Put More Cash in Your Pocket is the title if you want to grab it. I got mine online. I think you can find it on her website,

Joel Reese October 21, 2009 at 6:44 pm

I like the quote in the second post: “I view fulfilling work as ‘one of the new luxuries.'” Sometimes, people have jobs they hate. Soul-crushing, menial work that makes them miserable. That is, indeed, unfortunate.

But if you have a family, sometimes you have to, as they say, buck up and deal with it. That doesn’t mean you have to accept your lot and trudge along in misery. You can look at things big picture, realize that you have a job (which a lot of people can’t say these days), and take solace in that.

Also, you can work for a different job. Take online classes after the kids have gone to sleep. Work your network looking for openings. Or maybe pick up a hobby, which will make your job a little less miserable.

career coach October 23, 2009 at 2:20 pm

I think the most important thing is that whether you enjoy your work or not? If you enjoy it then maybe it is not necessary that you will earn a lot money, but, you will be happy at least and that is the main thing. My idea towards life is that “life is short make it happy”. Thanks

SFaith January 22, 2010 at 2:03 pm

I never really had a job I loved but for the past 15 years I’ve really enjoyed what I do. I think it’s because I work for myself. I developed a medical condition which prevented me from working outside my home. I’ve always looked at this as a limitation, but maybe it actually freed me.

Pete September 16, 2010 at 8:42 pm

Thanks for the great post. Good advice! Work day to day can be extremely difficult. Is the answer to enjoy what you do or do what you enjoy? It’s tough. Thanks for you insight though.

I stumbled upon this blog like I did yours. Though their insight on work was very meaningful.

Thanks for the post! I’d love to see more like it.

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