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6 Tips for Finding Fulfilling Work

How to Find Satisfying Work

While overall job satisfaction has improved in recent years, nearly half of all American workers continue to be unhappy at work . If this sounds like you, it may be time for a change. Here are some ways to find meaningful, fulfilling work that reflects your passions, talents and values.

  1. Achieve wide instead of high. Most people believe that success comes from climbing the corporate ladder or becoming a specialist in a narrow field. Many times, however, people tend to feel more fulfilled when they pursue several different careers simultaneously on a freelance or part-time basis. This allows them to engage in multiple interests that satisfy different parts of their personalities. If you feel pigeonholed at your current job, look for ways to become a "wide-achiever" instead of a "high achiever."
  2. Focus on flow. Flow has become a bit of a buzzword, thanks to studies which suggest that it plays a key role in determining job satisfaction . In essence, "flow" means becoming so immersed in an activity, you stop noticing the passage of time. When making career choices, you should try to anticipate which jobs are most likely to give you a healthy dose of flow. This means choosing a career filled with interesting and challenging work that won't become monotonous over time.
  3. Seek to help others. A mountain of evidence has shown that people experience positive psychological benefits when they seek to help others. When looking for a satisfying career, consider jobs that will allow you to rectify injustices or improve the lives of other people. Even if a job only allows you to give back in some very slight ways; this can help you feel more satisfied with the work you are doing.
  4. Don't take on too much. Even the perfect job can become a curse if it takes up too much of your time. To keep from getting bitter and burned out, it's important to choose a career that will allow you to maintain a good work-life balance. Look for jobs that will let you work a reasonable amount of hours. You should also make sure you will be able to detach from your work when you are away from it. If your boss expects you to answer emails and phone calls when you are at home, you should consider different work.
  5. Find where your talents and ethics meet. It may come as a surprise, but high salaries do not typically promote greater job satisfaction. On the other hand, when people feel good about the work they do, job satisfaction tends to be high. Ideally, you should look for an ethical career which focuses on issues and values that matter to you. At the same time, the career should also allow you to use your unique talents to do what you are really good at.
  6. Seek a pay-for-performance job. Research suggests that people tend to enjoy their jobs more when they get paid based on performance. Instead of looking for a job that offers a fixed salary, consider looking for one that includes bonuses and other rewards for a job well-done. This can help you stay motivated and engaged as the years go by. It will also make you feel more recognized for the work you do.

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