The search for job satisfaction is one worth taking seriously. Our jobs are big part of our lives, and how you feel about yours spreads out to affect the rest of your life. If you’re blessed with a job where your efforts are rewarded by managers, or even simply recognised, with your achievements noted rather than quietly appropriated by the upper echelons of the company, it gives you a sense of energy and satisfaction that will carry over to other parts of your life. 

On the other hand, if your work doesn’t challenge you, if it asks for concentration and time and effort but receive no recognition for your contribution, your achievements are appropriated by others while you make up for their mistakes, if, in short, your managers mistreat you and take you for granted, it can have a dramatic effect on your mental state. It can leave feeling lacking in energy, depressed and low, simply without your usual drive.

On top of that, there’s the specifics of the particular job you’re doing, and the effect it has on you. One of the ways in which we’re undermined in our jobs is that it can be difficult to see the effect you’re having. This isn’t a problem we had to deal with the past. If you farmed the land around your home, you could see the effect you have on the world you have around you every day: you sow seeds, you water and care them and plants grow that you can eat or trade.

It’s less easy to find a job that can give you that kind of direct satisfaction in the workplace of the 21st century. So many decisions deal with digital abstracts, changing figures in a report that it’s hard to link to the real world – especially when success or failure for a business means an alternation to the bonuses of an executive class you can barely aspire to reach.

In the face of all this, the most important thing you can look for is a job that you feel is worth doing: one where your contribution is recognised by your management and peers and one that allows you to see the difference your contribution has made. 

The welfare state is one of the biggest employers in the world and is well worth considering for this: from criminal justice jobs through social workers to doctors, it’s full of people making a difference, and of course, if you don’t have the specialist training for a frontline role, the system relies on an army of administrators, clerical staff and procurement officers to keep the wheels turning!