Thursday, February 02, 2006

Job Satisfaction - ramblings

Job Satisfaction

A term to describe the fleeting emotion one experiences when ones work gets appreciated amongst people and the person gets a momentary high and starts believing that one is putting in long hours not solely for the pay-cheque.

On a more serious note, I believe you would get job satisfaction only if u were doing the work that u really love or your current job (though may be in a unreated field) is a geat way forward and facilitates you to do the thing that u would really want to do. As an example, if you dream of running a agricultural farm or a NGO or to do no other job except to laze out in the sun - then u might put up with your current high paying demanding job happily as this would take u a step closer to achieving the financial security necessary to pursue your dream-job

More idealistic view of job-satisfaction - the job/work that you still do even if u were not getting paid for it (or more realistically getting survival level income from this). If such a stage were to be reached then the job will stop becoming a job but would become your daily source of expressing yourself... job-nirvana u might like to say .. much above the satisfaction level .. the highest level of maslow's pyaramid; self-actualization state

As my colleague at SRF - Ajit, an iim-a grad, used to complain - 'before mba when I was working for wipro, all I was concerned was whether I should shift to infy or accenture. during mba I was beweildered by the choices. And now I always think whether I chose the right domain ' i could identify with this line of thought. To me the basic problem is still the same - not knowing what u want in life and hence going through these phases of confusion regarding career choices leading to job dis-satisfaction

Whenever my former room-mate
shukla used to complain about job, I could just shut him up with this simple question.. Ok tell me what u really want to do .. and I will tell you the organization to work for.

Finding meaning outside job -

During my counselling at isb during the placement season I was told that one big change in life that has come about is that people have started identifying themselves only with their job - nothing more nothing less.

I am what I do for a living - this is the new age indian motto. We measure someones worth based on what kind of job a person does.

Recall any conversation with strangers or ppl you meet at parties .. inevitabley within the first 5 question something like this pops up - so where do u work ? or so what do u do ?

Something similar happens when I talk about some long lost bath-mate with some common friend -

Typical Q&A round:

first question is -
yaar wo jo soni tha na .. apne wing wala .. wo kaha hai aajkal
Ans - watan mai hai ( meaning USA mai .. almost 70% of the batch is there)

Q - kya kar raha hai ?
A - kisi to software company mai pada hua hai Houston mai ..

Q - frust hai ki happy hai ..
A - major frust hai

Q - kahi shift nahi maaar raha hai wo .. kitne time se pada hua hai waha
A - Fight maar raha hai bay area jane ke liye

Q - shadi ho gayi uski ?
A - ha last year hui thi

Rather than enquiring about other things we just focus on the job / company that he is working in .. and once we know that we move on to the next person

Another former srf colleague and room-mate Umang seems to have compartmentalized his personal & professional life. He does a very good job of whatever task has been allocated and never allows a job to define him.

He devotes an extraordinary amount of time ( almost the entire-weekend) for voluntary services to the Dayalbagh sect agra. He is of the opinion that he will never change his job.

Other issue -

job satisfaction level in India is coming down while at the same time salaries are sky-rocketing and job opportunites had never seemed so good. Would I be massacared for making such a statement ?

Think about people from your parents generation, most of whome were working in PSU's or working as a government employee. The salries were low, working condition absymal, no swanky offices, no free tea/coffee/cold-drinks at office, little chance of making it big in life but still people seemed to complain so little about their job. They were just plain greatful of the fact that they had a job.

In the present days, if u dont like a job, you could quit and would be in a different company within a month at the most. We have more choices yet most of us complain. Has more choices led to this ? The phenomena seems especially pronounced for the people with an mba. not only do they have to braod-area of jobs (IT/Finance/marketing/HR) they have to narrow down their focus to a sub-sector ( eg marketing not sales in FMCG, investment banking in a MNC; No corporate finance; BD in the health-care domain in the top 3 IT company , equity research but only in the IT Hardware or telecom domain ) People coming out of engg have limited options - ( Software/Non-software. If Software - legacy/ non-legacy, If not legacy then J2EE or C#, C or C++ ... Product company or services company - after a few years u just look out for the few specific companies in your domain and keep on shifting the companies)

Conclusion -

maybe this entire debate itself is futile .. Maybe we should stop thinking about this and focus on getting more out of life.. or just identifying our broader goals in life

hmm.. Parth, doesnt this thing remark you Landmark Forum introduction speech. they use to say by doing our course its not that the your problems in life will go away .. rather your thinking & attitude will make these problems look much smaller ..

As for me i have given up on looking for this job-satisfaction and am looking at the current job as a way to save some money to retire 5 year down the line... to do what I think i would want to do 5 yrs hence. This is not to suggest that I just relax in my job waiting to get fired, rather I think I take my job rather seriously.

Opting out of corporate job may not be the correct solution. As I used to discuss with pareekh in pune - succeessful ppl seem to be successful in every part of life and they seem to be able to squeez out so much more out of life ... take physical exercise for example - Lisa ray doing yoga everyday, anil ambani jogging everyday, Mr B K Birla taking a 7 km walk daily .. now dont tell me that you dont have time for all this.. certailnly u are not as busy as these people

oh .. did I diagress from the main topic ? ;o) but anyway this was supposed to be ramblings.


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