Gainful Employment

What makes work worth it? What does psychology say in regard to making employment and the workspaces which we occupy for the better hours of our days?

Sigmund Freud once said that a healthy life is one in which one has the ability to love and work. Indeed, without these two, the chances of one evening having proper mental health is minimal. In this article, I will briefly present what psychological research posits as the building blocks of gainful employment that one should look for prior to employment and what managers should seek to sustain.

1. Gainful Employment: Work, Happiness and Satisfaction

If a person is happy at work, chances are that his or her overall satisfaction with life will be higher.  The correlation of job satisfaction with overall happiness is about .40.
Employed people consistently report being happier than their counterparts without jobs. Performing well leads to life satisfaction which leads to performing better. That is the opposite of a vicious cycle!

2. Performing Well and Meeting Goals.

Career self-efficacy: This is personal confidence in one’s capacity to handle career development and work-related goal activities. This means that an employee does not feel overwhelmed. It is significantly related to both success and satisfaction with one’s occupational efforts and decisions.
A high-hope boss clearly identifies achievable work subgoals, which in turn increases workers’ motivation and the chances of reaching larger, organizational goals.

3. Deriving Purpose by Providing a Product or Service

Work is an important potential source of purpose in life.
Workers need a sense that they are making a contribution to other people and to their society. What this means is that employees are more committed, creative and engaged when they feel that the products and services they are involved with are making positive social change and contribution in the real world. It’s important to connect products and services to meaning in life.

4. Engagement and Involvement

Engagement is the employee’s involvement with his or her work, whereas satisfaction is employee enthusiasm at work.
Engagement occurs when employees find their needs being met.
These needs include knowledge of expectations, resources to meet them, feel significant, trustworthy coworkers, chances to improve and develop (Harter et aI., 2002, p. 269).
Moreover, there should be a match between the required activities and the skills and personality of the employees (Warr, 1999).

5. Variety in Job Duties

Tasks that are sufficiently varied result in satisfaction.
People ought to have as much variety and stimulation as possible in their work to avoid boredom and stagnation.
Repetitious and tedious tasks and inflexible schedules lead employees to become demoralized and lose their motivation.

6. Income for Family and Self

One of the most complicated processes is to try and equate the salary of an employee to their needs. A reasonable wage will help workers be more at peace.
Financial freedom plays a large role in people’s major decisions including those that pertain to whether staying or remaining at a job. It is of major importance that there should be a balance between the pursuit of money and the maintenance of family and social ties.

7. Companionship and Loyalty to Coworkers and Bosses: Friends at Work.

In years past, friendship and camaraderie were frowned upon. Today, it is encouraged in high-hope organizations. Forming bonds, sharing sufferings and triumphs builds a sense of community at a given workplace and this is a contributing factor to happiness and satisfaction.

If you have a “best friend” at work, you are likely to have fewer accidents, increased safety, more engaged customers, and increased achievement and productivity. People with a best friend at work are seven times more likely to be psychologically and physically engaged on the job (Rath, 2006).

8. Safe Work Environments.

Perceived safety at and of the workplace was one of the most robust predictors of employee satisfaction (Harter et al., 2002)
This includes both physical and psychological safety. Physical safety is obvious. Psychological safety entails spaces where people feel respected, appreciated, encouraged, opportunities for growth, promotion, development and a sense of self-efficacy among others.

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