Most of us must make tough choices regarding our livelihoods at some point.

We may have a job we hate but make enough money to live securely. On the other hand, we might experience career satisfaction if we sacrifice high salary expectations.

You can’t have it all. Right?

Obviously, it’s much more nuanced than that.

For those of us in a position to choose our field of work, the choice is definitely not black and white. Many, many factors play a role.

Recent career satisfaction findings

  • 80 percent of workers feel stressed on the job
  • Only 30 percent are “engaged and inspired” by their careers
  • 18 percent of workers, in fact, are “actively disengaged” from their job
  • Canada came in 17th of 35 nations in the Indeed.com 2016 Job Happiness Index
  • A survey by Hays Canada, a recruitment firm, found 47 percent of Canadian professionals to be “unhappy in their job.”

Common causes of career dissatisfaction

  • No job security
  • Little or no opportunity to progress
  • Being micromanaged
  • Feel unfulfilled/not challenged by work tasks
  • Financial security without personal fulfillment does not feel like success
  • Not working at a career that fulfills purpose and passion
  • Not doing what you are based on personality type

Yes, some circumstances are beyond our control. But career satisfaction is still quite possible. And career satisfaction combined with financial security is also quite possible too. Consider the following:

6 Ideas to Improve Career Satisfaction

  1. Re-visit that standard childhood question

“What are you going to be when you grow up?” Unfortunately, this question assumes the child to not be anything at the moment. However, it is instructive to recall your most common answers. What vision did you have for yourself? What goal or mission did you dream about?

  1. Surrender the idea of pure safety

We’re often taught not to chase a dream because we might fail. The wake-up call? You can fail just as easily when doing something you don’t like. There are no sure things. In fact, the surest thing is that you’ll be unhappy if you chase the illusion of safety. This is not a license to be reckless with yourself or others. Rather, try asking yourself a new question. Who would I be if fear wasn’t holding me back?

  1. Learn some new skills

The world is changing rapidly. Our best-laid plans can become obsolete in a hurry. Challenging yourself to learn something new helps in many ways. Mostly, it makes you more likely to branch out in terms of occupation.

  1. Find a role model

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Success leaves clues. Lots of people have made exciting career transitions. Seek them out. Learn from them. Then add in your own specific twist and style.

  1. Guard your focus and your energy

It’s not news that we’re all more distracted than ever. Our attention is divided. To improve our job situation, we need to focus. Be careful where you aim your focus. That is precisely where your energies will flow.

  1. No matter what your job, give something back to others

Living is giving. There’s another perspective on career satisfaction. It could involve helping others. Perhaps your job is not what excites you most. It may simply lend you the financial freedom to donate, volunteer, and give back.

Your job offers a secure foundation from which you can launch so much positive energy. Life is often about trade-offs. This one enables you to see your work situation as just one part of you.

Ask for help

We might not automatically think of seeing a counselor or a coach when it comes to changing jobs. But working one-on-one with a counselor who is also a career and life coach is ideal. Obviously, there’s more to career satisfaction than resumes and interviews. You may have patterns and behaviors holding you back. Therapy is where you discover more about yourself. The more you know, the better you feel. That’s the best time to contemplate how to experience joy in your job!