Career Coaching

Why salaries and bonuses may have nothing to do with job satisfaction.

If you have been in a workforce for a while, you may have come across some hard-working professionals that put their heart and soul in what they do. They work long hours in conditions that are full of interruptions, noise, and artificial light. Learning about their compensation makes you feel better about yours. Some of the hardest working individuals are found in non-profit organizations and the US Army. I am yet to hear about a young man or a woman joining the army to become rich.  So what are the factors that motivate some people to work beyond the job description and to risk their lives?

The dual-factor theory provides a framework to help us think about job satisfaction and motivation. Developed in the 1950s by Frederick Herzberg, the theory separates the factors that causes job dissatisfaction and job satisfaction. Counterintuitively and unlike words – antonyms, job dissatisfaction and job satisfaction are not the opposite ends of the same continuum. They are more like apples and oranges.

The first group of factors is called hygiene and includes job title, job security, salary, incentives, fringe benefits as well as physical working conditions such as quality of furniture, size of the office, etc. The hygiene also includes morale, relationships with co-workers, bosses, and the subordinates. In short, the hygiene is the workplace environment. According to the theory, the better the environment, the less dissatisfied we are. As the hygiene or environment factors worsen, we become more dissatisfied with our job. However, the hygiene continuum is limited to a certain range of dissatisfaction. At its best, hygiene will remove any dissatisfaction. Let’s call this highest point “lack of dissatisfaction”.

The second group of factors is called motivators. In short, it is the content of the work itself. By answering the following questions, we can quickly access our own level of motivation. “How significant is my job?” “What am I learning?” “How much of an impact do my decisions make?” “What higher purpose does my job serve?” Motivation is much less about the external job environment and more about what inside the job, and how well it is aligned with what inside of us.

When starting a first career, many students are mostly after the money. After all, money is that pays the student loans off plus what make up for wages lost during the time spent in school. Then the first mortgage comes along. Then family starts to grow. Eventually, one’s lifestyle requires (dual) income with large salaries and bonuses. Should it come as a surprise that monetary compensation and job security are the factors of the hygiene most often used to make one to perform according to the company’s agenda? Why do we see so many high paying professionals leaving corporate world and starting their own companies, making the fraction of what they used to make? The answer is the fact that salaries and bounces have nothing to do with job satisfaction.

If you were to look at how successful companies market themselves, you will find a lot of storytelling. The stories of passion and transformation tend to connect with our hearts and souls and move us closer to a purchase. Similarly, a good talent acquisition strategy will try to speak to our highest values and beliefs such as making a difference, saving lives, inspiring and protecting others.

Take a few minutes to reflect at your current situation using the dual-factor theory. Separate the environment from the motivators. Ask yourself, are you truly satisfied?

How to start building a successful career.

Among other things, a successful career has always been associated with high efficiency.

When people talk about career success, oftentimes it means achieving moving up the ladder in a shorter period of time. Other times, a successful career is characterized by stable growth over a longer period. A third scenario is when a person is building a career for a long time without visible results, but ultimately achieves professionally outstanding achievements, for example, receives the Nobel Prize, and it certainly makes one’s career a success.

People that have built a successful career possess a certain trait: the ability to prioritize, to be very clear as to why they are building a particular career. Everything else – the goals, objectives, resource allocation – are the means to achieve the selected priorities.

For example, if you want to manage your own company in the future, it is today that you should be thinking about a position where you can get valuable technical and leadership skills.

If you want to achieve maximum results in your profession do this exercise. Imagine the most successful development of your career; feel acceptance, joy, satisfaction of getting the best results. This exercise will help you to decide whether or not you should move toward that future. The answer will bring about the priorities naturally.

The first thing that comes to mind when one imagines the bright future is the financial security and independence for the family and children. Millions of people are after similar rewards; however, they choose different career paths. Therefore, there has to be something deep, something very individual for each person that places them on different paths.

First, one needs to answer a question: “What do I want?”, then an action plan must be put in place. Both can be achieved easier and faster with a help of a career coach.

The career coach will also help to develop right habits to effortlessly sift through daily tasks. Your movement towards goals will become more efficient. Much like learning a new workout routine, this too will require time and effort. But it is worth it!

Remember, failing to plan is planning to fail.