Job satisfaction

I went to a seminar yesterday on building a career management strategy in the public service. I don’t think it was the intention of the organizers, but by the time I left I had a huge sense of satisfaction both with my current job, and with my future job prospects. (Of course, it helps that I walked out of that seminar and happened to pick up my language test results, lifting a 1000 lbs elephant off my shoulders.)

I was planning to link to some survey results, but apparently I copied down the URL wrong and no amount of searching through the Treasury Board Web site has turned it up. You’ll have to trust my wonky memory on the details, I guess.

The gist of it was that they came up with a number of measures that indicate job satisfaction, including having challenging and interesting work, having work-life balance, having opportunities for advancement, and of course, recognition and compensation. I was really surprised to see that in the sample of public servants they surveyed, satisfaction across these factors topped out at around 50 per cent.

It made me realize how very lucky I am to be doing a job that I truly enjoy for all of those reasons. My work is challenging and interesting, if not a little bit overly bureaucratic at times, ad I love the people I work with. I leave the office almost every day at 3:30 and almost never take work home with me. I’ve been promoted twice within the past five years, including two full years off for maternity leave. And quite honestly, I make more money that I ever imagined I would. We’re not rich by any stretch of the imagination, but when I was in my twenties I could never really envision having enough money to actually own a house – so I’ve come a long way!

It’s almost funny how serendipitous the whole thing has been. I’m not particularly ambitious, and I seem to have arrived here by whimsy as much as by design. Sure, I’ve worked hard and I think I’ve done a good job proving myself and my capabilities to my employers, but I still shake my head in amazement to look back and see that not only do I have a job, but I have a career – and one I love at that. How lucky am I?

I don’t imagine I’ll ever leave the public service. Heck, I’ve been with this department for 17 years – hard to imagine ever leaving here, let alone starting over again in the private sector. As of this year, I’ll be closer to my retirement (age 55) than I am to the day I started my career here at the tender age of 20. They aren’t kidding when they call them the ‘golden handcuffs’.

The great irony, of course, is that all I ever wanted to be was a mom. Even when I was a teenager, my career aspirations were something vague like, “I’d like to be a journalist, or in PR, or maybe sales. But mostly, I just want to be a mom.” And in the coming years, it’s only going to get harder to balance the raising of three little kids with this daytime life of mine.

But I’m glad to have had a little bit of a perspective check, to realize that everyone is not as lucky as me to be in a job they love, with people who treat them well, getting paid for it all to boot.

Even on a grey, rainy day, there are lots of reasons to be grateful. I’m a lucky girl.

Author: DaniGirl

Canadian. storyteller, photographer, mom to 3. Professional dilettante.

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