Friday, February 26, 2016

We Want What?

I read recently that women's job satisfaction is often related more to their feeling about what they do and the atmosphere of their workplace than to the money and benefits they earn doing the job.

I have been puzzling over this one for a while. As I look around at the jobs that would pay a low wage, no matter what a person's experience, I wonder, would a situation that leaves a person stressed about finances really result in more satisfaction? Yet, as I think about the various work situations I have had over the years, I can't help but think about the factors that made me happy--and not so happy--along the way.

Perhaps first among them has been the way I, and others, have been treated. Is the atmosphere one that assumes employees walk in prepared to do their best, or is it one that assumes they are nincompoops lucky to be there? Clearly, I have been happier in situations that, and with people who, presumed my good intentions and talents. Does the place encourage input and creativity, or it "their way or the highway"? Perhaps it is my field of work, but I prefer to have at least a little creative wiggle room. Do the people, or the organization, care that I have a family, or a life? While no workplace is obligated to care, it tends to feel a lot better when its people do.

Would these factors, as the article indicated, be more important than the financial benefits of a particular job? Hard to say. Yet, the assertion has made me think a lot about what we expect from our work. We--the "not washed up yet" ones--expect our talents and experience to be recognized. We expect to be respected, not simply for our tenure, but for our dedication and for our good intentions. We expect to be valued, not simply through our paychecks, but through the interactions that make up the days between our paychecks.

Do we working women place more importance on workplace mission and atmosphere than on compensation? I'm not sure. I only know that when I leave my "able to pay the bills" home to go to work, it feels much better to feel good when I get there.

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