I am taking an Organizational Behavior class and this was the discussion question: Is job satisfaction over rated in the U.S.A.?
No, job satisfaction is not overrated, just mis-understood. Certainly I have strong opinions of many things of which this is one. I am older and have had time to develop these thoughts. Satisfaction is an internally directed emotion/feeling/perception. Yes, we can and should control our emotions/feelings/perceptions.
Satisfaction is a matter of perspectives as the Value-percept Theory (a theory I do not totally agree with) suggests though I think these perspectives that yield satisfaction come from my behaviors and thoughts. At some point academia, psychology, media, or the KGB hijacked joy and turned it inside out. Believe what you will; I choose what I believe. I know that I am in charge of my contentment in life.
I can agree with, “The key lies in remembering that job satisfaction reflects what you think and feel about your job” (Colquitt, Lepine, & Wesson, 2013). I believe what you think and feel determines your job satisfaction, and we get to choose what we think and feel (There I go being redundant). Yes, I am a determinist internalizer (Redundancy happens.). If satisfaction must be administered from the outside what ups the next level of enjoyment? Scratch and sniff wall paper? Am I a slave to being tickled by my supervisor? Sure ice cream makes it easier and taste better but easy is not usually the best choice for the long hall, and taste better makes me sluggish, and well, fat.
We have become a consumer society where entertainment is consumed; or, maybe we are an entertainment society where consuming is entertaining. Either way, we expect
something outside us to please us in our marriages, our work, and even in our play. “Much of our leisure is spent in passive recreation…that lacks the challenge needed to trigger flow states”(Colquitt, Lepine, & Wesson, 2013). There is some really good advice for those seeking to improve their satisfaction/happiness; fake it till you make it (What comes first the positive feeling or the job satisfaction?).
Shawn Achor – The Happiness Advantage “It is not reality that shapes you but the lens through which you view reality” (12:29) http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/TEDxBloomington-Shawn-Achor-The;search%3Ashawn
Amy Cuddy – Your body Language Shapes Who You Are “Fake it till you make it.” (21:03) http://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are.html
Sherry Turkle – Connected, but alone? (19:49) She suggests we are even losing the ability to communicate with our selves. http://www.ted.com/talks/sherry_turkle_alone_together.html
Job Characteristics Theory – Jobs I have worked include re-roofing houses, put flooring in new homes, commercial landscape maintenance, security, working in sanitary sewers, retail, and firefighting. That is somewhat the order. Southeast Texas on asphalt shingles is warm and fairly repetitious. Security is so boring I found I could walk and read to get my best grades in high school. Yes, the sewers were in southeast Texas and it was too dark to read so I played a game called “Don’t get it on ya”. I think Job Crafting has merit. In reflection, the only times I didn’t enjoy my work was when I allowed my thinking and behaviors to be directed by other’s (union, pessimists, nay-sayers, name callers).
Firefighting sounds sooo cooool, and has such significance that Colquitt, Lepine, and Wesson remark about it. Yeah the fire always goes out. As a firefighter I know it will go our eventually anyway. I also know what it is like to hold dead babies while their parents sob near-by; I have stood at my own child’s door crying because he was breathing. I have watched an old man lose his lifelong mate; I nearly left mine. I have puked because of the sights and smells (remember I worked in a sewer before) and had other people vomit in my mouth to the point it came out my nose. I have fallen to concrete from 16 feet, and had attic contents drop upon my head. I have extracted drunken teenagers’ bodies from automobiles as cars travel by me at 70 mph; and I have watched my boys drive out of sight through tear blurred vision. I survived pay freezes, pay cuts, and worked beyond the hours I was paid in the rain, snow, heat, storm and on holidays. Yeah, there is a side that don’t make happy feelings, that you don’t want to talk about when you get home; you gotta choose .
The choice is yours.
Colquitt, J. J. (2013). Organizational Behavior. New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.