Can’t get no job satisfaction?

Alex Pollock

“Why do you do what you do?”

I recently started pondering this question after updating my CRBOH and ABIH certification worksheets. Later, when I came across the Gallup Organization’s latest publication, “Well Being” by Tom Rath and Jim Harter, the question again came to mind. While the authors list social, financial, physical and community well-being as key areas where there must be alignment and balance, I was struck by the importance of career well-being in this mix.

“Do you like what you do each day?”

Their research shows that people who genuinely love their work are more than twice as likely to be thriving in their lives overall. Career downturns also are significant. In fact, unemployment may be the only major live event from which people — especially males– do not fully recover within five years. In addition to the income loss, the lack of social contact and daily mental stimulation may be even more detrimental to our well-being. Research has revealed that people say the worst time of day is the time they spend with their boss. How sad. The authors remind us that when we look for a new job we should be as concerned about who our manager will be as we are with job title, benefits, company reputation and even pay.

With so much riding on our “career well-being” what should we be doing better as employees and leaders to create work environments that stimulate, excite and satisfy? How can we seize control of our career paths to minimize major hits to our well-being? We can all learn from your thoughts and experiences. Thanks for sharing!

About Alex Pollock

Alex Pollock has been studying leadership effectiveness for more than 30 years. A former leader in environment, health and safety, and public affairs at The Dow Chemical Co., he learned that we all have leadership roles to play. He enjoys discussing new ideas and sharing practical ways we can all become better leaders.

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  1. t m

    June 8, 2010

    your blogpost is very true and relevant. What advise do you have for ppl looking to switch into sustainability mgmt but without any proper experience in it but just a deep interest to help make the world better through their work.

    any help/advise you can offer (one on one even) would be much appreciated and helpful.


  2. Stephen Evanoff

    June 9, 2010


    Thanks for another well-conceived commentary on an important and fundamental career issue.

    I had a career experience that may be illustrative of your points and helpful to Tamanna.

    I found myself in a role that wasn’t quite what I had expected. The scope of the position turned out to be less than what I had planned for at that point in my career. Rather than descend into a funk, I set three career advancement goals that I could achieve within the context of this position, and I methodically worked toward achieving them. This enabled me to keep a mostly positive attitude and helped me achieve my longer-term goals over a five-to-ten-year period. The lessons I learned are: (1) take the long view; (2) set big picture objectives and periodically, and honestly, assess your progress toward acheiving them; (3) make a significant investment in networking and developing your business skills so that you are positioned to advance beyond the role of an SME; (4) every position can enable you to improve yourself, if you adopt a positive attitude and set clear goals; and (5) difficulties with your boss are less an indictment of you and more of a reflection of the pressure your boss is under.

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