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The Easiest Way to Stay Satisfied at Work

We talk to so many people who are years into their career and they're antsy. They like their jobs, the work is fine, their coworkers are just the right combination of hardworking and friendly. But something isn't quite enough, and they can't quite put their finger on it. Only about half of American workers say they are "very satisfied" with their current job, leaving the rest to say they're "somewhat satisfied" or worse.

Mind if we take a stab at figuring out why?

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They didn't manage their expectations from the get-go.

Consider the fact that unmet expectations are considered to be one of the biggest underlying reasons for divorce, and it makes sense that your relationship with a job could suffer from the same issue.

When you're in conversation mode with a company, whether you're just interviewing with them or are already being offered a position, did you make a point to ask the important questions? If you aren't sure what to say, read on:

1) "I'd like to discuss the salary."

Employers are ready for this discussion, even keeping their initial offers low to accommodate for a requested upgrade from the candidates. But the crazy part? Almost half of nationwide job candidates don't even try to negotiate initial job offers. Forty-nine percent! Researchers have found that those who do negotiate raise their average annual pay by $5,000, meaning that a 25-year old that negotiated a starting salary of $55,000 would earn about $634,000 more than if she had accepted the offer at $50,000, over her 40-year career.

The best way to broach the subject? When you receive the job offer, mention that you're very excited for the offer and know you could bring a lot to the team, but were hoping the salary would be a little higher. Say you'll review the offer and get back to them, leaving them with the expectation that you will be negotiating so that it isn't a surprise when you bring it up on the next phone call. When you speak with them later, express your excitement for the position, refer to your mention of salary earlier, and then explain that the number you had in mind was $xx. You're worth this amount because of X, Y, and Z that you bring to the team.

Don't be afraid of losing the offer – again, companies anticipate a conversation about salary.

2) "How often are salaries evaluated and raises/bonuses given?"

To many, this feels like a pushy question. You've already heard what the position pays, why do you need to know the rest? Here's the thing – a position that pays a lower amount with more frequent and probable pay raises might be worth more in the long run than a position that starts at a high salary, but stays there. It's easier to visualize yourself at this job several years down the road when you have a rough idea of what you'll be making. The Five Year Employee is often disgruntled because they aren't making as much as they think they deserve. Solve that problem by knowing what to expect up front.

3) "What does this company value the most, and how do you think my work for you will further these values?"

Turn the tables during an interview and ask them a question. Being direct is a good way to make the interviewer evaluate the company's priorities  on the spot, so you get a pretty honest and focused answer from them. You will be much happier down the road if you know your values align with your employer's, and that you have a role in the mission of the company.

4) "Are there opportunities for upward mobility in this role or department?"

If you take a new position assuming you will be promoted in a few years, you'd be disappointed to be doing the exact same job you started at in five years, right? Chances are, the hiring manager knows up front whether there's room for growth or if you're in a dead-end position, and they'd like to have a person with same expectations for either situation. While it might not be a main focus of conversation, it's important for an employer to know if a candidate has further aspirations they need to address in the coming years, and the candidate should know if the future they seek can be found at this company.

Expectations are the easiest way to maintain job satisfaction for years down the road. Knowing what you're getting into, or at least having conversations about your future at the company, will keep you and your employer on the same page, and keep you far away from the disgruntled feeling that plagues American workers today.

Posted: 7/27/2017 1:11:40 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments