Job Satisfaction: Light a Fire Under Your Career


Climbing the corporate ladder can be challenging. Maintaining job satisfaction can be just as difficult when you’re so focused on career development that you forget why you wanted the job in the first place. Use these methods to help you bring back the happy.

In today’s competitive world, everyone is racing to the top. Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution is all about survival of the fittest. If you want to be at the top of this man-made food chain you need to have an edge over the next best person. In Laura Vanderkam’s new book, What the Most Successful People Do at Work she explains how every day is lived by the hour, and how each hour accumulates to create success. The phrase “time is of the essence” is a wakeup call to take control and light a fire under your career.

The S.O.S. Career Ship

S.O.S. Career Ship - Stay on board for job satisfaction.

Stop procrastinating. Immerse yourself in the pursuit of job satisfaction to advance your career. Do you hate your job? Do you crave success? Did you forget how you got where you are? Did you forget why you wanted this fabulous job you now have? Here are the top ways to light a fire under your career, help you bring back the happy, and create lasting job satisfaction.

1. The Past, Present and Future

Until the lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunters.” – African proverb

To understand where you are right now and where you want to be tomorrow, you must come to terms with your past. By reflecting on your past mistakes and successes, you can begin to prepare for tomorrow’s success. Throughout history, mighty empires have crumbled to the dust because people refused to learn from their past. Take time for some reflection to discover what creates your job satisfaction.

Ponder the answers to the following questions. What are all the jobs you’ve ever had? What was the best and worst thing about each one? Which jobs led to better positions? Which jobs required additional education? Which was your favorite job? Why? What one thing would make a difference in your current job?

2. Detoxification and Decluttering

A cleaner workspace will not only impress your boss and potential clientele, it will also empower you with more control over your life and a greater sense of peace. Working in a disorganized and cluttered space only adds more stress to your life. A chaotic environment demands a greater amount of attention, leaving you with little or no time to work on your future goals. When you are working toward reaching your career goals, you will feel a greater sense of job satisfaction.

3. Staying Up-to-Date

Staying up-to-date in trends, technology, and your area of expertise will help you not only be current, but feel current as well. Learning new information can make you a stronger asset for your company, as well as lead to greater appreciation from the higher management, which will likely provide you with ample opportunities for career growth. Career enhancement and job satisfaction will help you reach success faster.

4. Don’t Overthink It

Overthinking can stall your growth. It can sometimes become vicious circle of fear. Before you know it, you’ll be focused more all the “What ifs…” instead of finding job satisfaction. Leeann was stuck in a job she disliked and had a boss who was impossible to please. Every time she thought about quitting, she thought about her financial responsibilities. Thinking about the unstable job market made her panic with fear. All future plans of finding another job were put to rest. This cycle of overthinking crippled her future aspirations. In order to achieve your career happiness goals, don’t overthink it. Happiness is often found in simplicity. Do one simple thing at work each day that brings you joy.

5. Self Worth

A healthy dose of confidence in yourself and your abilities is one way to increase the amount of job satisfaction in your career. Keep a notepad handy and write down every good thing you do at work. Write down how it makes you feel. Write down how it makes other people react. This simple action will help reiterate and validate your happiness at work.

6. Know Thy Strength

In order to increase your job satisfaction, it is important to recognize your strengths. If you know you are an excellent speaker, utilize this skill in your meetings and presentations. If you have excellent organizational skills, volunteer to coordinate the next corporate charity function. Think about your strengths and what you can offer the company. Incorporating your strengths into your daily or monthly job duties will definitely give you greater job satisfaction.

7. Take Some Time

In order to continue enjoying your satisfying career for years to come, you have to schedule break time. Preventing burnout is probably the best way to create long-term job satisfaction. And taking breaks is the best way to prevent burnout. Similar to well-oiled machinery, human beings also require periods of rest to be at optimum performance and avoid malfunctioning. So put your feet up, and take a vacation. You’ve worked hard to earn that time; don’t let it go to waste.

8. Recognize Your Inner Drive

According to Abraham Maslow’s 1943 theory, human motivation is dependent upon a want to fulfil your unfulfilled needs. This hierarchy of needs goes from the basic physiological and safety needs all the way up to social, esteem, and self-actualization needs. Career development and job satisfaction fall into the highest category of refined needs. To get closer to a self-actualized career, recognize what truly drives you.

Let your inner drive guide you toward happiness. That may mean simply taking longer lunches, or staying late at the office once a week. Or it may mean taking a continuing education class, switching departments, seeking a promotion, or even changing jobs altogether. It depends on where you’re at in your career and in your life.

9. Welcome Challenges

Being proactive and welcoming challenges can accelerate your potential for career growth and job satisfaction. If you’re not satisfied at work, perhaps you’re bored. Take on a new project. Find something to challenge you. If you play to your strengths and your inner drive, you’ll be sure to find the perfect thing that will challenge you back into the happy zone.

10. Follow the Leader

Some people have a mentor they look up to for suggestions and guidance. Even fictional heroes are thrust into difficult situations and often look to others for direction. Perhaps you could find a knowledgeable, insightful and dependable mentor. Having your own personal leader to guide you through career roadblocks can be invaluable in knowing what obstacles are small and which ones to really worry about. A good mentor will help you to not only create the career you want for yourself, but also to create lasting job satisfaction.

Climbing the Stairs to Job Satisfaction

Climb the corporate ladder to job satisfaction (on a ship)

It’s not an easy task to work your way up the corporate ladder. Maintaining job satisfaction can be just as difficult when you’re so focused on career development that you forget why you wanted the job in the first place. Don’t jump ship! You must be committed to your career and your own personal happiness. When you work to align the two goals, you’ll be well on your way to a life full of career bliss.

The Author

Straight from the desk of

Kimmel & Associates

Kimmel & Associates

Marketing & Communcations

Kimmel is an executive search firm located in Asheville, North Carolina. Our professional recruiters are committed to exceeding client expectations. They work with the same dedication, honesty, and attitude of service that has been the Kimmel standard for over 34 years.

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