Yesterday I went hiking with two friends. I realized I was really unfit, and as we climbed, I had to admit that I was not in good shape. All the while I was struggling to catch my breath, one of my friends was literally flying. Delighted, with gaiety, as if he belonged there, as if he was living in symbiosis with that mountain. “If it weren’t for these Sundays to blow off steam, I don’t know how I would have survived,” he said at one point, standing and staring at the forest in front of him. “I can’t wait for the workweek to end so I can come here, but my weeks behind the desk are never-ending,” he added.
My friend is an accountant, and his last sentence seems to reflect the cruel reality of the many in this profession. As a backup to his statement, he quoted some professor called Michael Nugent, who used to be an accountant just like him. Professor Nugent explained it something like this: “When you really like a job, you have high job satisfaction. You can get into work, you’re just busy, you have a good time all day at work, and at the end of the day, you say: hey, where did the day go? It felt like five minutes. I used to have this joke when I was a full-time accountant early on in my career: If I only had a week left to live, I would like to work as an accountant for that week because the weeks I worked as an accountant, each week felt like a year. So, if that was my last week to live, I could make it feel like a whole year.”
That is how a discussion about job satisfaction opened up. We asked questions and gave answers. How it is of crucial importance in our lives. When it comes to job satisfaction, we do not consider just the material side, the financial compensation. It is a complex multidimensional structure containing a huge number of levels and intermediate levels. There lies our connection with our profession, our working environment, our commitment, and our’ getting into work’ mood. Ultimately, job satisfaction translates as the quality of life; it gives life meaning, it includes a deeper humanistic aspect, that we are doing something good and we become better people.
While the conversation between the two of us was gaining momentum, unravelling every work component, the third friend got involved, interrupting us with a question. “Imagine winning the lottery, millions, you are provided for a lifetime, you are financially secured up to the third generation. Will you work then?” he asked. Confounded by the question, one of us said no, the other answered affirmatively. Of course, it was the accountant who sharply said no. But then came the second question: “If the answer is yes – he looked at me – then what would you like to do?” But then our accountant overtook me and corrected himself: “I wouldn’t be an accountant, that’s for sure, but I would love to work on mountain tourism development. Right here, on this mountain. I know how it breathes. I would enjoy sharing it with others, guiding them through that process of reuniting and returning to nature.” We watched him slowly change his facial expression as he imagined himself in that role. He was utterly cheerful and lively. He realized how unhappy he was with his current job and answered what would be his dream job.
I came to a realization myself too. When we know what we want, it is a great feeling.