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Dave Graybeal

Job Satisfaction

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I’m currently reading thru a book entitled “Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teamsâ€, which up to where I’m at is basically addressing the concept of managing people as people and not as resources.  I am finding the book to be very interesting and thought provoking.  A large emphasis of what I’ve read up to this point has been focused on employee job satisfaction and overall project/team effectiveness as it relates to it.  After reading this I began to think about job satisfaction and what it meant to me personally and how job satisfaction is something that takes on a different meaning to everybody.  So I thought that one of the best ways to get feedback on job satisfaction would be to simply ask.

 

As an employee, what are some of the things that make you more satisfied with your job?  Is it pay, project diversity, atmosphere, growth opportunities or something else entirely?  This could be something where you work now, where you’ve worked in the past or just something that you recognize as being meaningful to you.

 

How about for those of you that are also an employer?  What are some of the activities, policies, practices or beliefs that you use to help increase job satisfaction?

What about some of the things that as an employee/employer that has directly related to a decrease in job satisfaction?

 

I’d really appreciate any feedback / input that you can all provide.  I want to learn how others in our industry specifically feel about these topics so that I can help to create a better work environment for myself, my co-workers, and my employee’s.

 

Thanks,

Dave Graybeal

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First off I think you might get limited responses from people on this, but I might be wrong.  Many people who work with LabVIEW daily and are on these forums, know that this is a public place, and anything they say may come back to their employer.  That being said I don't mind commenting I have nothing to hide but others may not be so open.

 

In my mind, increased salary and other monetary benefits help you feel satisfied only until a certain point.  After an employee is paid enough to not have to worry about money, they can get a decent savings, and pay off debt, and beyond that an increase in pay is nice but I think factors less into satisfaction.

 

For me satisfaction has to do with accomplishing things.  I was given a task that I could then do.  Maybe it is a task I have had before but now I do it faster or better.  Or maybe it is a new challenge and I was able to get it done for the first time.  But after I've completed my task, some recognition is nice.  I'm not saying I need a pat on the back after every work day, but having those around me appreciate my work, and understand my value, brings satisfaction.  Especially when it comes from those I work with often, and those above me, like a boss.

 

I could also mention other things that I like about a job that don't really add to satisfaction, but could detract from it if it were missing.  Like having an open an inviting team that helps each other grow is important.  Having that doesn't make me feel more satisfied, but not having that could take away from my satisfaction.

 

It sounds like an interesting book and FYI it is $17 on kindle.

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Pay does mean a little bit.  The annual raise time is a good place to show how you appreciate your employees (a lack of raise will make people mad).

 

The major things that I have at my current job that I didn't have in my previous job is a manager who actually stands up for me (ie doesn't arbitrarily yell at me because another manager/customer didn't like how I did something, even if it was exactly what was agreed upon) and flexibility (very similar to what Becky was saying).

 

I can point to all kinds of things done wrong at my previous employer.  Giving Engineering Excellence Awards to those do you did 90% of the job for and you get nothing; not giving promotions or even a decent raise after a laundry list of reasons why you should; writing up an employee for doing their actual job instead what another manager wanted them to do (which didn't follow procedures at all); changing design architectures in the middle of a project just because a higher up manager said to do it another way; giving all the credit to the person who refused to do anything the way they were told and then blamed you for their code not working; making rediculous schedules that everybody knows will never work but make you do it anyways, and then yell at you for not getting a 1 year project done in 1 month; asking you to do a job but not give you the tools/resources needed to accomplish that job...ok, I have said way too much.  Good thing I'm not bitter at them.

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I recognize that this could be a tough subject for some people to feel open to share publicly.  I certainly would discourage individuals from sharing more than they are comfortable with.  I feel that sharing this information could be beneficial not only to myself, but to others who maybe hadn't given this much thought.  I think employee satisfaction is often assumed to be tied to pay, but I feel as though I agree with hooovahh, that is begins to have diminishing returns at some point.  This is what motivated me to publicly ask about perks that individuals find satisfying/motivating.  I figure if I don't ask, how can i expect to learn.

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Great question, and Peopleware is a great book.

For me, once my low level Maslow needs are met its all about fulfilling work that makes me feel like I'm growing and making a valuable contribution.

I'm an avid reader, I enjoyed Peopleware. I'd say the definitive book on this in recent years is Drive by Dan Pink, well worth a read if motivation at work interests you.

Martin

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There's an interesting RSA Animate by Dave Coplin. I'm not sure I agree with everything he says, but there are many salient points he raises as to why many feel dissatisfied with work.in the current age.

 

Personally. I think the criteria for job satisfaction is a moving target and changes dependent on age and circumstance. In the beginning most people are primarily concerned with financial and educational reward (the latter mainly to enhance the former). Then family comes along and time at home and flexibility becomes more desirable and work is a means to an end rather than a personal journey. If you are middle class and in a specific field then once you have attained a certain competence in your field; exercising the limits of your knowledge and choosing the interesting tasks seems to be a primary consideration. Towards the twilight of a career, guarding that pension pot seems to be the primary driver.

 

A rare few have a hobby that makes enough money to support a family with oodles left over for a car, house and yacht. Most are not in that category, but those that are tend to be extremely happy both in and out of work.

 

There is a saying, where I come from. Job satisfaction is 20% of your wages. On the surface it seems rather trite except if you re-interpret wages to mean benefits. However, it goes some way to explaining why many are willing to do open source for pennies if not for free as long as a minimal survivable income is catered for.

Edited by ShaunR
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My job satisfaction stems from the fact that most of my responsibilities are AWESOME!  The parts of my job that aren't awesome don't drown out the other awesomeness.  Also, I have good bosses and coworkers.  Also, my company is profitable.  Also, flexibility.

 

Forget it.  I don't know...

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The few things I can think of are:

 

-Project diversity

-Salary (25% of job satisfaction for me)

-Coworkers

-Manager: I need to understand his choices, rewards/congratulations for the job done, I want facts not promises or "maybes"

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