What professionals in their 20’s can do to get the job satisfaction they crave (even in a job they hate).

In recent blogs I explained What can employees do for themselves to improve their job satisfaction and engagement? I also gave suggestions about how to get more money from your boss and how to improve relationships at work since money and relationships with our co-workers and bosses ranked highly as mattering to employees for job satisfaction and engagement.

There is however another component that the report found matters greatly for engagement – and that piece concerns employee’s opinions and behaviors. Here are the study’s top 5 opinions and behaviors for employees to have, as viewed by employees, that matter for engagement:

  1. “I am determined to accomplish my work goals and confident”
  2. I can meet them I frequently feel like I’m putting all my effort into my work”
  3. While at work I’m almost always completely focused on my work projects”
  4. I am highly motivated by my work goals”
  5. I have passion and excitement about my work”

These are the top 5 factors across gender and job level – except for one…

The 1 thing professionals in their 20’s are missing to get the job satisfaction they crave is (drumroll please)…

Millennials did not rank I have passion and excitement about my work among their top 5.

Oy! On multiple levels, Oy!

I believe that a staggering 4 out of 5 of these opinions and behaviors will never sustain engagement among the workforce.  So if these are the opinions and behaviors that the workforce actually believes matters most for them to be engaged in their work, then there is no mystery for me as to why only 30% of the US workforce is actually engaged at work according to 2012 Gallup studies.

Simply put, one reason I say “Oy!” is because we are focused on the wrong things for job satisfaction and engagement. Another reason I say “Oy!”, is that the 1 opinion/behavior that can sustain engagement, isn’t in the top 5 for our newest workforce members – the millennials.

One thing we have control over is finding passion and excitement for our work.  Rarely can we control the 1st four factors which are about finding gratification in actual tasks/goals related to our work.  Tasks and goals are not always in our control – a job is what it is and rarely can we change it at it’s core – and especially not for our satisfaction and engagement alone!  Anytime we are relying on tasks for fulfillment we are in trouble.

Fulfillment is more easily obtained (and sustained) when we feel respected and appreciated for impacting others in a way that we intend – the goal, task (or job) at hand is simply a means to impact another in a way we intend – and to be valued for that.  When we experience providing that value we feel validated as an individual and a whole ‘lotta that at our job is one way we come to love our job!

Now of course this is not to say that we shouldn’t want to enjoy the goals, tasks or jobs we perform – we should absolutely want that too!  But when we rely on getting gratification from them over the result we produce for another we are gambling on a bet we are sure to lose.  We produce gratification (for ourselves and those who benefit from our services), by doing what we do (or even have to do), in a way that is unique for us – it’s a way that we filter through many unique things about ourselves such as our interests, talents, values, perspectives, experience, knowledge, preferences and absolutely our attitude. 

Your attitude is best received and appreciated by others when it is focused on how you intend another to feel after you do what you do for them vs. being focused on how you intend you to feel after you do what you do for others. So finding yourself up against a task, goal or job that doesn’t exactly light your fire isn’t a problem – but relying on it to create a sense of fulfillment within you is! 

When you are in that situation, shift your focus over to how you want to impact another.  Get clear and decided about the intention you have for another.  This is simply discovered by asking yourself, “How do I want people to feel once I complete this task, accomplish this goal or perform this job?” And then behaving in a way that can enable that feeling for another.

If you are not on a mission to experience passion and excitement FOR your work, then you are cutting yourself off from experiencing the fulfillment that being consistently engaged in your work (despite the tasks or most conditions) can offer.  Working with passion and excitement for the intention you have for another is what will sustain your happiness, engagement and get you the overall job satisfaction you crave.


Taking a careful look at this study has given me hope that our workforce is waking up to what truly matters most – but the shift is happening too slowly.  What gives me the most hope is that workers do value the opportunity to use their skills and talents and that most do see a value for having passion and excitement for their work in order to get the job satisfaction they crave.

This makes me wonder if many people who are happy and rise to the highest levels in their careers identify with being more concerned earlier in their career with giving their talents and impacting others in a certain way vs. what they could get from their job?  Hmmm, maybe I’ve discovered a future blog or study!

My intention is for the workforce to wake up to what they want to be valued for, to live for giving that value, and to enjoy the recognition they deserve and will no doubt get.  Through the intentions you have for others and the service you provide to them you can virtuously shift how another feels and therefore behaves.

I wish for you to see how your job (whether you like it or not), is an opportunity to keep experiencing fulfillment and validation for the value you intend for another over and over again. I am passionate and excited to work with people who want to find their passion and live it through their work but are stuck and frustrated because they can’t quite figure out what they most easily can contribute to others and therefore keep struggling to find the right job fit for them.  If that’s you, then call me today!

You can discover passion and excitement for your work and gain confidence to give what you effortlessly have to give without fear of losing your job or suffering a loss of reputation – in fact, the opposite will happen!

About Gina Calvano

Gina Calvano is a certified coach and Senior Professional in Human Resources, with over 20 years of experience as a talent management professional in both the private and non-profit sectors. With a unique approach, she combines her strategic corporate expertise and accreditations with metaphysics and transformational thinking which has resulted in people all over the world feeling good about themselves and connected to a sense of purpose.

She created the Success Readiness Bootcamp™, a step by step process that enables people to easily discover their unique talents and abilities and match them to majors, jobs, industries and leisure pursuits. Gina is also the co-author of Breakthrough! Inspirational Strategies for an Audaciously Authentic Life with NY Times Best Selling Authors Marci Shimoff, Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood and Powerful Connections Made Easy™ with Aprille Trupiano, and is currently working on her next book — Caged in My Cube: The Turnaround Guide For Loving The Job You Hate.

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