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Archive for October 29th, 2007

If we spend a large portion of our waking day in some job or career activity, then it makes sense that work must play a significant role in our satisfaction “system.” And it does. Studies show humans derive a significant amount of satisfaction (and some dissatisfaction) from their work environment.

In fact, some people derive most of their satisfaction and stimulation from work. The 32-year-old entrepreneur with $100 million in the bank and a mansion in Silicon Valley. Or the lawyer who puts in 80-hour work weeks to become a partner. These people are not satisfied unless they are spending every minute of every waking day in pursuit of some job or career goal.

Are they unhappy? Not necessarily. For them, if they know that work is a major source of satisfaction, then pursuing that “pleasure” reinforces their behavior and continues to contribute to their overall level of satisfaction and happiness.

But there are two dangers. First, this pursuit can run into conflict with other potential sources of satisfaction (especially those associated with relationships). Second, the individual might assume incorrectly that those around him or her should obtain the same level of satisfaction that he or she derives from work and when they don’t — there’s likely conflict.

There’s nothing inherently “wrong” with making one’s work THE primary source of satisfaction. Chances are good that singlemindedness will result in successful outcomes, therefore increasing the likelihood of even greater satisfactions. But if that work is one’s only life pursuit and he or she is still not very satisfied, then there might be something wrong with that picture.

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