The Circles of Satisfaction

04 Dec 2010

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. 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 turned to thinking about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs which proposes a theory of human motivations and behaviour based on needs. Translating this to the workplace, I found that there are generally three categories of need:

These categories are best considered equally important to each other rather than hierarchical. Enter The Circles of Satisfaction:

The Circles of Satisfaction

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

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