Job satisfaction: How to make work more rewarding

Stress mounts when job satisfaction falls. Here's a look at some of the causes of job dissatisfaction — and practical ways to boost job satisfaction. By Mayo Clinic Staff

Do you find yourself dreading the start of the workweek? Or wishing the current workday away? Are you no longer enthusiastic about your job?

In a challenging economy, you may not feel that you can simply change jobs — but you might be able to change how you think about your job to improve your job satisfaction.

Understand the link between work approach and job satisfaction

If you've gone sour on your job, take some time to think about what motivates and inspires you — and how you approach your work. For example:

  • It's a job. If you approach work as a job, you focus primarily on the financial rewards. The nature of the work may hold little interest for you. What's important is the money. If a job with more pay comes your way, you'll likely move on.
  • It's a career. If you approach work as a career, you're likely interested in advancement. Your current job may just be a steppingstone to your ultimate goal. What's important is to be regarded as a success in your field.
  • It's a calling. If you approach your job as a calling, you focus on the work itself. You're less interested in financial gain or career advancement, preferring instead to find a sense of fulfillment from the work itself.

One approach isn't necessarily better, and you might find elements of all three perspectives important. Still, if you're unsatisfied with your job, it's helpful to reflect on why you work. Think about what originally drew you to your current job, and whether it may be a factor in your lack of job satisfaction. Understanding what motivates you in your work can help you reframe your expectations and make choices to increase your satisfaction.

Dec. 08, 2012 See more In-depth