I`ve been pondering this elusive thing of being satisfied with one`s job---not with life or stuff, satisfied with work.
This isn`t about the meaning of satisfaction, and yes, everyone is
satisfied with different levels of something. Nor is it about the pros
and cons of "satisfaction" versus "contentment," or some other measure.
It`s about the underlying concept of being satisfied with what we do
I would propose that there are two fundamental components to this job satisfaction thing: competence and respect.
To be competent means to demonstrate a skill in the real world. The
level of competence is a measure, but the term hinges on the actual
demonstration. For example, a child always says, "Let me do it!"
Perhaps they`re trying to dress themselves, and so they learn the skill
of putting on clothes. When they`ve successfully buttoned a shirt, or
put their shoes on the correct feet, they`ve demonstrated competence.
So too, as adults, we come to a work situation. It might be as an
employee or it can just as well be starting a business. Whatever the
case, we bring to that situation our skills. We believe we`re
competent, and we`ve likely demonstrated that competence in the past
(written out as a résumé, for example).
Then we begin doing our thing. We do it well, and we once again show
our competence. Then what? Don`t we require an acknowledgement of that
correct or skillful way of doing something? And isn`t that respect
defined by external agreement of competence?
Suppose we respect a rattlesnake or scorpion. Isn`t it because we know
and acknowledge that the snake or insect is competent at defending
itself and causing us harm?
Respect, I think, is indeed that acknowledgement of capability by an
outside entity. And I think job satisfaction is a twin system. It
requires both knowing that you`re competent, and getting the respect
for what you can do.
If you agree, then isn`t a paying customer acknowledging your
competence in doing something---making a product, or getting a product
to the customer? And isn`t that at the root of your satisfaction with
"a job well done" in the sense of running a good company?