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Money Can’t Always Buy Job Satisfaction

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We’ve all heard that money can’t buy love; it can’t buy “job satisfaction” either. I’ve met lots of people in my work who make lots of money. There’s no correlation between how much money we make and how much we like our jobs. In fact, sometimes making lots of money ties us to a job we can’t stand. You’ve probably heard of the golden hand-cuff phenomena.

Life is short. We spend our highest energy hours at work. Our families get what is left of us after we have given the best of ourselves away all day. I don’t know about you, but I know if I ever stop loving teaching and writing…I’ll do something else.

Survey after survey show that people are not primarily motivated by money. In fact, it is 14th on the list of motivating factors. The Harvard studies state that people are motivated by 1) having a sense of purpose, 2) having a sense of belonging with other people and 3) having a sense of power over your own destiny. Purpose, people and power are the three primary motivators. An employer can help motivate an employee if they take the time to know what motivates him/her. That means we need to have more than a cursory understanding of who we work with and for. People know that it’s a lot easier and less expensive to sit down and talk to a current employee about problems than it is to train a new employee.

In our current workplaces, attitude is everything. Most bosses appreciate it when an employee wants to know how to do a better job. No matter who is the cause of the problem, asking for suggestions on how to improve communication, work flow, performance, etc. dramatically helps our job satisfaction.

Each of us has a responsibility. We need to stop complaining about our jobs and be willing to suggest solutions to add to our own and our employer’s success. This is the true essence of a high-performance work team and is part of the answer on how to achieve job satisfaction.


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