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Job satisfaction – Your attitude is a big part of it.

November 18, 2009

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks with family, friends and loved ones. This year, what are you giving thanks for at work?

If all you are thankful for is 5 Pm on Friday and your paycheck, you are not alone. 19.5 % of food workers are somewhat or very dissatisfied at work. When looking at all industries, the number jumps to 35% according to a survey.

Before you consider making a move, make sure you don’t have “the grass is greener” syndrome. For example, benefits won’t always be better elsewhere. Consider this: only 15 of Fortune’s top 100 employers pay 100% of their employees’ health-care premiums.  Think you have the lowest salary? Check Department of Labor for median salaries in your industry. Even industries popularly seen as highly compensated aren’t necessarily better paid than your current position. Look at the banking and legal industries: The median income for a job in a law firm is $49,940 and banking is $50,150.  When you think about your income in your current position consider your total package: benefits plus pay plus commissions, rewards and bonuses.  The value of your benefits package added to your salary makes the picture a little brighter. The average employer-sponsored premium for a family of four costs close to $13,400 a year. Check with your HR department they may be able to create a report showing the total value of your salary and benefits package.

If you still want out, look at improving your current situation before making a rash decision. Beat a long commute by looking for ways to make it bearable. Classes, lectures and audio books can be downloaded to play on a long drive. Remember though- safety first. Texting is NOT a good way to pass the time if you drive. If it’s the stress that’s getting to you, take time out every day for a break even if you don’t have time. Close your eyes and breathe. Five minutes of deep breathing will make you more relaxed and more productive. The voicemails will be there when you open your eyes. Ask yourself how you can work with management to make your 9-5 bearable. If it is an individual you loathe, how do you get along? If you can’t solve the problem on your own, ask HR to help you with team building or mediating activities.

A Boston area HR consulting firm considers attitude as the # 1 factor affecting success or failure of an employee. Your attitude is often the worst part of your job. Listen to what you say to yourself about your position. If you tell yourself it is the worst job ever then that’s how you will feel. Change your attitude, change your workday.

If you need motivation to change your attitude toward your current position, look at the labor market. New labor statistics are showing that it is more difficult to get a job that into get in to Harvard. CNN’s Tim Foreman estimates there are 16 million unemployed, including those who have given up their job searches.

Rather than join the ranks of the unemployed, join the 65% of employees who admit to passive job searching. Passive job search activities include surfing jobs lists (63%), updating resumes (47%), networking with friends (40%) and posting resumes (33%).

So what does make people happy at work? Women and workers younger than 35 report work/life balance as the most important component to their overall job satisfaction. Fortune defines work/life balance as companies where employees feel “encouraged to balance their work and personal life.” Perks to achieve this balance include Job sharing program, Compressed workweek & Telecommuting.

As anyone can imagine, compensation and benefits are important to employee job satisfaction in all age groups. It is interesting to note, however, the discrepancy between the reality of what makes employees happy and the employees’ perceptions. Many cite bad relationships as reason for leaving yet on a SHRM survey, employees don’t list relationships with supervisors or co-workers as very important aspects of job satisfaction.

Remember- your attitude and perceptions are everything. Create a positive attitude this Thanksgiving. Appreciate what you do have at work, including the intangibles, such as you relationships with co-workers. Your success depends on your attitude!

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