Job dissatisfaction? Here is one way to find out if its real.


So you think you are in the wrong job. You awake each morning with a feeling of dread. You would rather stay in bed, and your get up and go has got up and went. The thought of going to the dentist fills you with more joy than heading off to the office.

Well, these might be good indicators that it is time for a change of job. However, it also might be indicating something else e.g. depression or simply a lack of meaning. So if you are pretty sure that you are not suffering from depression or some other life-altering situation, here is one way to find out if it is perhaps that job after all.

Our moods fluctuate on a daily basis. Some people even hourly or at different times of the day. So the first step in deciding if there is an issue with your current occupation or job is to get a baseline reading of your daily happiness index.

A happiness index is a score that you give to yourself on the level of happiness that you are feeling at that point in time. It is on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being not happy at all and 10 being extremely happy. A 5 would indicate a feeling of indifference.

So what you need to do is, twice a day at roughly the same time take a self assessment of your level of happiness. I would recommend that you do this at around 10am and 3pm so it is not influenced by just arriving at work or getting ready to leave. Do this for a period of two weeks and include the weekends for comparison. At the end of the two-week period graph the daily results using a program like Excel. Take an average score of the weekdays. To do this, add up all your morning scores and divide by 10, and do the same for the afternoon scores.

Your graph might look something like this:

happiness graph

The first bit of information you will be able to glean from this is: are you a morning or afternoon person? If your morning scores are lower give some thought to the following:

• Are your morning activities different from your afternoon activities?

• If there is a differential between the two scores that is greater than 3, why is this. Are you perhaps doing admin work in the morning, but in interactive meetings in the afternoon or visa versa. If this is the case you can identify the activities you dislike and move them to a more suitable time. i.e. Monday morning might not be the best time to do tasks you do not like (unless you have a strong desire to get them out of the way).

• If your scores differ between afternoon and morning it could also be an indication that it is more of a task issue than the actual job itself.

Now add your morning and afternoon averages together and divide by 2 to see what your average job happiness is. If your score is way below 5 (indifference), then it’s time to start doing some thinking. Here are 5 points to ponder if you have a below 5 score.

• What is it about your current job that you do not like?

• Can you associate the feeling with any particular event or person at work? • If you could change anything in your daily job, what would it be?

• If you made this change, would you role be more fulfilling and increase your level of happiness?

• When last did you take a holiday? Could you be suffering from burnout?

For interest compare your weekend scores with your weekday averages. If there is a large difference here, you are wasting a lot of your waking hours being in an unhappy position.

The aim of the happiness index is to get you thinking about what is making you happy or unhappy at work. The goal is to move you from a subconscious feeling of discontentment to a conscious awareness of when and why you are not satisfied or unhappy with your job. In doing so you will empower yourself with the ability to make a choice and change the elements that are causing unhappiness. Take back control of your situation. Create your life.

Satisfied with your job?

Love-my-job-smWould you like to be doing something else during your waking hours? Are you happy in your job? The unfortunate reality is, for the majority of us, we dwell on this question for a while but then go back to the daily grind, avoiding the thoughts that just momentarily entered our minds. Most people however, would want to be doing something different.

Yes, the sad truth of the matter, is that the majority of people are dissatisfied with their jobs (studies show a satisfaction rating ranging between 21% to 41%). Hence, the majority of people would rather be doing something different with their time. But if this statistic of dissatisfaction is so high, why do they not change jobs and even careers? Possibly, because the question itself is wrong. Perhaps, the question should rather be, “Do you believe you would be better off and happier, doing something else with your time?”.

As work takes up approximately 80% of our waking hours, is it possible that we have over 50% of the population disgruntled with their lives? I would like to stick my neck out here and say no. The reason I believe this (and its difficult for me to use this word believe, I prefer scientific fact :-)), is that we are hard wired to think there is always something better out there. We think there is something wrong with us if we are happy with the status-quo. In our caveman days, we were always looking for that bigger cave. A better piece of real estate closer to richer hunting grounds and perhaps a more plentiful source of crystal clear water. Well, the sad news is nothings changed much. The hunting ground has just been replaced by an office, and the source of water, a pay cheque that attempts to quench the thirsty bank overdraft at the end of each month.

It’s no wonder that when asked the question are you satisfied or happy with your job, the answer is no. It is normal to show dissatisfaction in your job. It is normal to strive for something better.

The solution to this problem can be taken up by both the individual and companies. For companies to increase the level of satisfaction of their employees with their current job, they need to show them a growth path within the company. Show them that the way to fertile soil and better hunting lies within the company. The prospect of progress leads to current satisfaction. Stagnation leads to mosquitoes of doubt and dissatisfaction breeding in the still waters of the mind.

If you are feeling these feelings of dissatisfaction in your job, take control of the situation. Spend some of your valuable time thinking about your ambitions for growth within the company. What’s your growth path? Where are you going? What exactly in your current job are you dissatisfied about? The answer to these questions might be enough for you to realise, actually it’s not so bad. Alternatively, it might turn those feelings into action, and that’s a good thing regardless of your decision to stay or leave.

The bottom line is, no one is responsible for your life other than you. Sure, companies can help by the conditions they create, but you are responsible for your reality. So make sure that negativity is not creeping into those waking hours, decide to choose your path. Create your life.

About Kevin Derman

Kevin Derman is a business and motivational speaker that draws on 15 years of experience in the highly competitive IT business world. Add an academic background (Masters degrees in Science and Business), and an operatic stage career and you are bound for an entertaining and enlightening presentation. His talks are inspiring, motivational and have plenty of business relevance in today’s fast paced business world.

– Biography by: Shana Kay


Kevin Derman is a man of many talents. Topping the list (at present) are his roles in business as an entrepreneur and as a motivational speaker. His presentations are engaging and deliver an eclectic mix of topics ranging from “the Psychology of Buying and Selling” to “Happiness – the never ending quest”.

Spending the past 12 years in the IT world,  Kevin is one of the very few IT people I know who is modest about his very diverse background and experience.

Although his IT experience includes working with major international companies (such as IBM), he has also had a career in scientific research, but the diversity does not stop there. Not many people can add a professional opera singing career to their list, but Kevin can. This IT/Scientific Researcher/Opera Singer holds the following degrees:

  • BSc, Honors and Masters in Sports Science
  • MBA from UCT’s Graduate School of Business

On his talks
Kevin’s talks turn your a typically standard work function, into a fun and introspective event. His talks are aimed at elevating and enhancing both the company and the individuals involved. This makes his talks both unique and interesting.

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