How to Enjoy Your Work and Improve Your Health: Tips for Improving Job Satisfaction

Whether you view work as a means to an end or your life's calling, your level of job satisfaction affects your mental and physical health. Find job satisfaction improvement tips.

Job satisfaction -- how happy and fulfilled someone is with his or her job.

It's kind of ironic that almost everything written about job satisfaction is written from the employer's perspective when the definition deals with the worker. For centuries, management gurus have tried to better understand employee job satisfaction and morale -- first theorizing that money was the way to make employees happy, then examining management styles, and finally deciding it had to do with things in the workplace called motivators and hygiene factors.

But what about you?

How does someone who wants to be happy at work -- and with your work -- change things to improve both the work and the work environment? Does anyone but the boss and higher-ups really have the power to make changes to improve individual job satisfaction? The answer, of course, is yes -- and this article will show you how and why you must make changes to improve your job satisfaction.

First, we'll examine the causes of dissatisfaction with your job. Second, we'll look at why job satisfaction is important to your health and well-being. Third, we'll review the career continuum and how it relates to job satisfaction. Fourth, we'll make some suggestions for how you can improve your job satisfaction.

Causes of Job Dissatisfaction

Let's first look at the causes of job dissatisfaction -- things that can lead to increased stress, anger, and disappointment about your job. Typically, these issues are related to the job you perform and the work environment in which you perform that job, including:

  • you generally find your work is boring and unfulfilling

  • you feel as though your work does not fully use your skills and abilities

  • you desire a promotion but sense there are no such opportunities for you

  • you don't feel fairly paid compared to others in your work or industry

  • you lack the resources and equipment to perform your job to the fullest

  • you dislike your co-workers and/or boss

  • you live in fear of losing your job (regardless of whether it's for performance or economic reasons)

  • you don't believe you are qualified for the job you do, and feel like a fraud

Job Satisfaction and Health

Numerous studies suggest that job satisfaction level is an important factor influencing the health of workers. When you're unhappy and dissatisfied with your job and work situation, it tends to spread to other parts of your life. You tend to be unhappy and moody and more susceptible to health conditions that often lead to illnesses that cause absenteeism (sick days), which leads to further conflicts and dissatisfaction -- in an ever-spinning downward spiral. Negativity is a disease that drags our entire health downward.

Changing your job situation may not have you jumping for joy on Sunday evenings -- but it beats the dread that many feel as the weekend concludes and the trepidation of another week of work looms heavily on your mind and spirits.

In worst-case scenarios, workers with very low job satisfaction develop depression and other mental disorders.

If you are unhappy at work and have little or low job satisfaction, you must take actions to improve your employment situation -- your health and happiness depend on you doing so.

Understanding Job Satisfaction and the Career Continuum

To truly understand how you can improve your level of job satisfaction, you first need to understand how you view work and your career. Understanding how you view these elements plays a major role in improving job satisfaction.

Let's look at two extremes of the career continuum -- and you can see where along that path you fit. On one end is the view that work is just a means to other things in life -- that a person is not defined by their work but by other more important roles (such as spouse, parent, etc.). On the other end is the view that work is extremely important in defining who we are -- that our work helps give our life meaning.

If you fall on the first end of the continuum, then increasing job satisfaction revolves around finding ways to make the job more helpful and supportive to your other roles. Things like job flexibility, telecommuting, other work-life balance programs may increase your job satisfaction when they allow you to focus on the roles you find most important. Other issues that may drive you are wages and perks -- things that you can use to make your life better.

If you fall on the other end of the continuum, then job satisfaction revolves around the value you place on your work and the potential impact it can have on others. Finding a job or career that lights your career passion -- that you see as your life's calling -- are important to your job satisfaction... and indeed, your life satisfaction. Other issues that may drive you are continuing education perks so that you can deepen your expertise.

For those of us in the middle somewhere, where we value our job and career but do not necessarily see it as the defining element of our lives, improving job satisfaction is about finding the best career path, moving up the ladder, and holding a job that fulfills us while allowing us to also achieve other things outside of work. Other issues that may drive you are job titles, bonuses, and other honors and recognition of your achievements.

Improving Job Satisfaction Tips

Depending on how you view work, here are some tips that you can implement to try and increase your job satisfaction:

  • Find a new job that fits your needs and challenges you

  • Change careers if your current career is unfulfilling

  • Change employers if your current employer has a work environment or policies not conducive to your job satisfaction

  • Obtain further education and training -- to advance your knowledge and/or career

  • Start your own business or consider freelancing or consulting

  • Volunteer in your spare time, either to gain experience for a career change or simply to add more fulfillment

  • Consider a lateral career move -- or even a backward career move -- if it puts you into a job that offers you more satisfaction

  • Propose flextime options from your current employer

  • Seek a promotion

Final Thoughts on Job Satisfaction

Once you understand how you view work and career, you'll have a better understanding of the types of things that can improve your job satisfaction. Your next steps are then to develop a strategy for enhancing your job satisfaction by taking action -- with your current employer or with a new one. Once you increase your job satisfaction, your mental outlook will improve -- and so will your overall health and wellness.

See also my article, Tips for a Successful Career -- Loving Your Work and Life.

Dr. Randall Hansen is an advocate, educator, mentor, ethicist, and thought-leader... helping the world heal from past trauma. He is founder and CEO of, a network of empowering and transformative Websites, including

He is the author of the groundbreaking Triumph Over Trauma: Psychedelic Medicines are Helping People Heal Their Trauma, Change Their Lives, and Grow Their Spirituality and the well-received HEAL! Wholeistic Practices to Help Clear Your Trauma, Heal Yourself, and Live Your Best Life.

Dr. Hansen's focus and advocacy center around true healing ... healing that results in being able to live an authentic life filled with peace, joy, love. Learn more by visiting his personal Website, You can also check out Dr. Randall Hansen on LinkedIn.