I read an interesting article this week titled Why People Become Unhappy. This highlighted an aspect of job dissatisfaction that I’ve seen many times: The tendency to want 100% job satisfaction all the time.
It’s a recipe for failure.
The fact is this: Any time you put your job satisfaction in the hands of someone else – even a wonderful boss – you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Not because they are harboring ill will of any kind, but just because they’re human. Since a job and a company are defined and managed by humans, you’ll see the same shortfall.
I still fondly remember the best manager, sponsor, and leader that I’ve ever worked with. She was really something special, and is still regarded as one of the top managers by people who work for her.
But the fact is that she didn’t give me 100% of what I wanted. And I appreciate that, because she also challenged me to grow in other ways. I’m a better person because of it.
Should I focus on the shortfall? No! If I do that, I will never have gratitude for what she gave me, and I’ll be forever dissatisfied – because there’s no situation that’s perfect on all dimensions.
So where do I get what I need to cover the shortfall? From myself. Aha! My job satisfaction (or lack thereof) is largely of my own making!
It’s similar to how a sustainable marriage is when the two spouses are giving 100% to each other, not 50%. The mathematical “overage” is what gives space for recovering from mistakes and the normal ups and downs of life.