Is full satisfaction at work even a possible or desirable goal?

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I received a press release today that led with the statistic that "a mere 10% of workers feel completely satisfied in their jobs."

I was surprised it was as high as 10%. Completely satisfied? Is that really the benchmark we're using now? Is there anything in life we're completely satisfied with?

It's worrying that agency life is starting to set the standard for work: free fruit, massages, endless coffee and the like. This is not what most people's jobs are like, although that's another article really...

But do free coffee, fruit, endless coffee and the like make us more satisfied with work? Or do they just make us less not satisfied?

How should we feel about the workplace?

In all the content and ideas going around about what the workplace should look like in the future, where's the debate about how we should feel towards work in the future? Can we rank our work satisfaction on, for example, the same spectrum as marital satisfaction?

For all the talk about work-life integration, will work always be compartmentalised as work?

It's hard to know.

Here's a thought experiment: imagine you're totally satisfied with your job. A genie appears and says: "would you rather do this job you're completely satisfied with for eight hours a day, or a job you tolerate for one hour a day? I will make it so."

What would you say?

About Jamie Lawrence

Jamie Lawrence, HRZone

Jamie Lawrence is editor of global online HR publication and community He is committed to driving forward the HR agenda and making sure that HR directors have the knowledge and insight necessary to make HR felt across the whole organisation. He regularly speaks to audiences of 250+ and has interviewed key HR industry names, including Daniel H. Pink. He has worked previously as a small business journalist and a copywriter and has published non-fiction that reached #2 on the NYT Children's Bestseller List. In his spare time Jamie likes writing fiction, films, fitness and eating out.


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