You hear people say it all the time: how they love going to work, have turned their hobby into a career, do the things they enjoy most because life is too short to waste. Who wouldn't want that? But the thing is: not everyone can become a professional football player, professional poker player or a Formula 1 race car driver. So how do you ensure that you enjoy doing the thing you do at least 40 hours a week?
The answer to this question is something you largely control yourself. The first question you should ask yourself when you apply for a job or in your current job is: “What motivates me and to what extent is this reflected in this job and in this company?”
Motivation is something that comes from within. It means gladly starting your engine and to keep on going without requiring any additional exterior incentive. You do it because you enjoy it. If you compare that to job satisfaction - which is nothing more than being proud of the things that you take pleasure from - you can see a lot of similarities. Besides, pleasure is something that comes from within a person.
In short: if the company and the job correspond with your motivators and you as a person, you have a foundation for job satisfaction! The likelihood that your colleagues and the corporate culture are a good match for you is also many times greater as a result. After all, they all made the same choice at one time.
In the meantime
You took the plunge at the time and have been comfortable in your job for a few years now. It was an excellent choice, things have become easier, it is a great company with even greater colleagues, and yet..... something is starting to bother you. The pleasure seems to be decreasing a bit. For heaven's sake, it is even starting to look like work!!
At some point in your career, you want to take the next step just like most people. You know how the game works, are good at it, are looking for a new challenge, but do not want to leave the company. When considering the next step, most people think about a step upwards (management), but you can also take a lateral step (for example by specialising or expanding your range of duties).
Whatever step you wish to take: it is very wise to stay true to yourself and your motivators. Don't let external incentives (money, a bigger car, etc.) fool you. Don't merely choose to do what you are good at, but also what you want to do.
A great example of someone who could do something, but in hindsight perhaps did not make the wisest choice, is my neighbour. Last year, he was promoted from Senior Account Manager to Branch Manager. A nice step, which resulted in a higher salary and a bigger bonus, and was celebrated excessively. Things could not get any better, right?
However, he still talks about what things were like last year: “Having my sleeves rolled up. There was always something to do with the boys, lots of fun and every day was different. Now, I sit in my office almost all day and spend more time doing paperwork and dealing with nonsense than I do managing people. Earning more money is always a welcome bonus, but something you get used to darned fast.” Well neighbour, you are certainly right about that. You really enjoyed your previous job a lot more than this one..... Could he have prevented this?
I think he could have
Many people do not always have a clear vision of what motivates them and what suits them. Especially when they are new to the labour market. There is nothing strange about that. So how do you receive a clear and substantiated answer to the question what motivates you and which job suits you? Fortunately, after years of study some bright minds have found an easy way to dig up the answers.
At Xelvin, we use the Personal Profile Analysis (abbreviated to PPA) developed by Thomas International for this purpose. A very convenient tool that I can recommend to everyone. You complete a short list of 23 four-word statements and indicate which word best and least suits you. It takes about ten minutes and results in a very accurate analysis of you as a person. It answers questions such as what your nature is, what your motivators are, how you wish to be managed, what suits you in a job, etc.
At Xelvin, we have been using the PPA for years for both internal office staff and our people on secondment. This gives us insight into a person in their current job, but also tells us what a next step could be and which points can be further developed. That is very useful when you need to choose a course or training programme. And there are numerous other uses.
If you have a clear vision of what motivates you, this means you choose the company and the job that suit you, which forms the foundation for job satisfaction. Job satisfaction is important, if not the most important part of your career, since you spend more time at work than you do with your family or friends.
Even though you are no Max Verstappen or Arjen Robben: if you do what you enjoy doing, you'll never have to work hard! (Gandhi)