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The Circles of Satisfaction

What motivates us to get a job?  The instinctive answer for many might be: “To earn money!”  And what motivates us to stay in that job?  A member of the developed world might then pause for thought and mutter enlightened words such as “fulfilment” and “sense of worth”.

I’ve been thinking for some time about the factors that contribute to job satisfaction.  More specifically, I’m interested in why people stay in their jobs and at what point they decide to move on.  There are seemingly countless factors to consider, including money earned, working hours, length and ease of commute, boss, colleagues, being challenged etc. etc.  Each of these factors contributes variably to whether you stay or go.

In an attempt to better understand these factors and their influence on decision making, I’ve found that they can generally be placed into one of three categories:

  1. Remuneration.  Earning enough money to pay the bills and earning what you feel you are worth, whether it be with salary, commissions or payment in kind, for example, lavish trips or a generous expense account.
  2. Enjoyment.  Getting a kick out of doing what you do, for example, by being challenged either mentally or physically.  Getting to help others.  Enjoying the company and camaraderie of colleagues.  Getting on with your boss.
  3. Convenience.  Sensible commute.  Sensible working hours that don’t interfere with your non-work pursuits or family life.
Now we have our categories, let’s see how they influence us.  Enter The Circles of Satisfaction:

The Circles of Satisfaction. How satisfied are you in your job?

The formula is simple.  Add up the number of circles that apply to you:

  • If you score 3 out of 3, you’re very satisfied in your job and very lucky.
  • If you score 2 out of 3, you’re generally satisfied in your job and happy to stick with it.
  • If you score 1 out of 3, you’re probably looking for a job elsewhere.

Of course, if you score 0, you’re in real trouble!

If you’re an employer, try applying this formula to each of your staff.  You might be in for a surprise.

Now try this formula on yourself.  Are you in the right job?

3 Responses to “The Circles of Satisfaction”

  1. on 05 Apr 2011 at 15:36Chris Lyon

    Convenience is an interesting metric.

    How does one score living in Cheshire, working in Bangor, sleeping in Caernarvon and getting between the last two on a bike? Hardly convenient but strangely rewarding.

  2. on 06 Apr 2011 at 19:12safe

    @Chris Convenience is the metric I grappled with the most, both in name and meaning. It’s meant to be a catch-all for activities related/peripheral to the job but not the actual job itself. Other suggestions for the name of this metric would be gratefully received.

    The Cheshire, Bangor, Caernarvon biking combo sounds quite hectic but hopefully it’ll get even more rewarding as the weather improves … !

  3. on 07 Apr 2011 at 08:31Chris Lyon

    To be honest the train from Crewe to Bangor does most of the work on Monday morning and Friday evening, and the cycling certainly beats a session at the gym from the point of view of fitness.

    Personal Impact perhaps?

    Without launching a model that looks like a kids first attempt with bubble liquid it would be difficult to really get it nailed properly. Then, of course, there is the rhythms involved. How does a Monday morning level of enjoyment compare with a pre bank holiday afternoon.
    But this is mere hair splitting. I think you’ve produced something important and I can see this as the start of a whole University department if you play your cards right !