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Career Choice Dilemma: Job Satisfaction or Life Satisfaction

There comes a time in our lives, where we all need to choose a line of career, or a life-long goal to pursue, as a means of earning a living or living through your earning. There’s a major difference between these two. This article will attempt to define the differences between these two concepts and help in understanding the crucial role they play in our lives.

When we are little, we’re asked- “what do you want to become when you get older?”, and our answers used to be things that most intrigue us as children or we had seen most people do around us. That’s just how a child’s mind works. But as we get older, we put all these filters, because our mind grows enough to think logically. There’s nothing wrong with that. Except, we forget that the child in us still exists somewhere, and may have a say in his/her life-long dream. 

So now, when someone asks us, what we want to do in life, we think long and hard and consider multiple factors, coming down to one single convergent thought. This may be defined by your motivation and interest. Your motivation may be to earn a living, i.e., earn well enough to become wealthy and afford a rich and fulfilling lifestyle. Or, your motivation could be to live your earnings. This means, choosing a career path that interests you and fulfils your basic needs at the same time. But the primary goal should be to prioritize interest over your wishes for a certain lifestyle.

However, these two do not determine how satisfied you are with your job. Job satisfaction is defined as:

  • An emotional response defining the degree to which people like their jobs
  • The perceived satisfaction on the job is reflected by the need for a sense of fulfilment and expectation for the job to be interesting, challenging, and personally satisfying.
  • Job satisfaction is also an achievement indicator in career developmental tasks.

Essentially, job satisfaction or the perception of your job bringing you satisfaction, happiness, and closer towards your goals, elicits motivation to work better and be more productive. If you’re not satisfied with your job, you may not be motivated enough to work or be productive at your job, even if you’re most interested in it. 

According to a study published by Rain, et al. in 1991, “job satisfaction is a key indicator of workers' well-being and therefore can also influence life satisfaction. Indeed, research has consistently found that higher job satisfaction is associated with higher life satisfaction.”

Life satisfaction is defined as the judgment that a person makes about his/her life in several domains, and it is the most extended construct for assessing subjective well-being.

Job satisfaction can be determined by various factors, such as-

  • Wages,
  • Work environment,
  • Job content,
  • Opportunities for growth/promotion,
  • Nature of work,
  • Level of organization,
  • Workgroup, and
  • Leadership styles

These factors may affect the evaluation an individual may make when asked if they’re satisfied with their jobs or not. Personal or psychological factors also play an important role in determining the same. Like personality traits of an individual, gender differences, age, and educational qualifications. Feeling intrigued to find out if you’re satisfied with your job or not? You can always take a screening test that can help you assess the level of satisfaction you may be experiencing regarding your current job/career.

According to a study called Michael Page's 'Job Confidence Index Q1 2017', the three main reasons why people in India seek jobs are to acquire new skills (48% of respondents), better work-life balance (39%), and higher-income (34%). Contrary to common perception, less income and stressful jobs are not why people look for better opportunities.

Job satisfaction is an important determinant of life satisfaction and also affects the psyche of an individual. It can have a major impact on your personal, social, and work life. 

However, there are various ways to deal with this. So, no need to worry. It’s never too late to realize your feelings about your career and making changes in your life. It’s not necessary to switch jobs to be happy. You may be happy with your job, but there may be other factors that may be digressing your relationship with your feelings about the job. So, the first step is to take a screening about your level of job satisfaction and then learning ways on how to improve on it. 

Life satisfaction is more than just being happy. A well-rounded and holistic life is what you should be aiming for. And that includes ruminating over all parts and aspects of your life. A holistic life does not only include a healthy body but also includes a peaceful and healthy mind. Peace to the mind can only be attained through making choices that you believe in from your heart, and are your calling, to be precise. Are you ready to take that journey towards self-fulfilment and making your inner-child happy?