Wikipedia tell us that Job Satisfaction has been defined in many different ways. Some believe it is simply how content an individual is with his or her job, in other words, whether or not they like the job or individual aspects or facets of jobs, such as nature of work or supervision.

job satisfaction

Here is a follow-up to a blog I posted last month, Our Many Incarnations, which had been written  in response to an article that reported that the majority of baby boomers have held 10 or more jobs by the time they reach the age 46. I asked folks to take a survey to let us all know about their jobs journey.  I asked about past and present jobs, favorites and least favorites, and job satisfaction.  Here was my response to the participants’ involvement in this survey.

Fascinated! I am incredibly fascinated by the many paths we take in our journeys.

Grateful! I am incredibly grateful that folks were so very generous in sharing their experiences, comments, thoughts and feelings.

Overwhelmed!  I was overwhelmed as to how to make sense of the information in any way as a coherent blog, so I decided to present it in this bulleted list form.

Here is a brief summary of what I learned about our jobs journeys. I should tell you that 100% of the respondents are women. I found that in this group, the participants were overwhelmingly creative and nurturing with a long-standing desire to teach, care for, or give back to their community.  Many in this particular group had come into their own only after at least one, but probably more than a few, job in which they did not feel respected or valued.  Many in this group have become business owners and thus, have left their “job” for something altogether different.

Here are the lists of answers I received on the “Incarnations” Survey.  I would truly love to have an online discussion of your own impression of the results of this survey.

When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?

  • Making ART!
  • A writer
  • Designing jewelry/graphic arts/parent/volunteer
  • Teacher
  • Not sure – teaching?
  • Always wanted to be a Physical therapist
  • I had no idea
  • I was married at 16 had my son at 17. Always wanted to work in a bridal shop but never did
  • I wanted to go to law school but ended up getting married and having my family.
  • Teacher
  • Social worker
  • Work in the business world
  • Physical therapist and Mom
  • Something with food
  • Teaching
  • Paralegal
  • I thought I would be an elementary school teacher.
  • Advertising
  • Not sure.
  • Head teacher at a preschool or a Kindergarten teacher
  • Being a mom
  • I wanted to be an actress.
  • Accountant
  • I wanted to be a mother and housewife. Second choice was to be a secretary.
  • A social worker- but that then changed QUICKLY after I graduated with my MSW- I realized I didn’t want to be a “traditional” social worker, but wanted to “help the world”.
  • I wanted to perform human development studies and document the research.
  • I’ve known I wanted to be a graphic designer since high school.
  • I always wanted to do some kind of creative, artistic work as a full-time job. It took me many years to summon the courage to take that leap of faith and pursue my passion!
  • I’ve known I wanted to be a graphic designer since high school. I attended a vocational-technical school in the afternoons studying Commercial Art, winning local and state competitions 2 years in a row, plus traveling to national competitions my last 2 years of high school. When I first began college, though, I changed gears and thought I wanted to be a journalist. I went back and forth a bit between graphic design and pretty much anything else. When I dropped out of college for a couple of years, then finally prepared to go back, I was planning to study social work only because that was a degree I could achieve by going to school at night (I was working a full-time job during the day). I ended up quitting my job and began waiting tables so I could go to school during the day and study what I loved…graphic design. I finally graduated from college, walking to get my diploma, less than a week after giving birth to my first daughter. Thank goodness graduation robes are forgiving! But doors were finally open to me with that diploma. I quit waiting tables and landed a great job in a Creative Department for a good company. I was finally on my way to becoming a graphic designer, though the first handful of years was mostly grunt work, very boring stuff. I always knew this was what I wanted to do, but I honestly never thought I’d be running my own business, not to mention having it be as successful as it’s been. I’ve been blessed.

What has been your favorite job (so far)?

  • Mothering
  • Production assistant
  • Business and Leadership Coach ( I love teaching and seeing others become the best they can be. Also now working for myself)
  • Mom. Are you kidding?
  • All of them, at the time I was doing them
  • FUN Enterprises – Creatively Freeing
  • Mom
  • NFPA
  • Knapp Shoe
  • Italian Teacher
  • Teller. Loved interacting with customers
  • Teacher
  • Mom- obvious
  • Teaching – most creative and personally rewarding
  • Early Intervention
  • Teaching kindergarten
  • HR Knowledge
  • Vice President- BAMSI
  • Product Development
  • Business owner
  • Personal Trainer/Health coach/Running Coach
  • Data entry, I could do it from home
  • Professional Organizer
  • My business because I LOVE helping people to relax at parties or during the planning process
  • Jewelry Artist of SoulQuest Designs
  • Speaker/Trainer
  • Owner & CPO®
  • Graphic designer
  • What I’m doing now….easily

What did/do you enjoy about your favorite job(s)?

  • Mothering and teaching yoga require similar skills: being able to be nurturing (even in the middle of complete chaos), and seeing people for who they are, where their potential lies, and assisting them with growth.
  • Loved working for live public television…great people, fast paced, using skills, trusting my instincts, being a part (small) of a great team…excellent product
  • Parenting 2 kids and volunteering on their behalf have required me to employ all of my creativity, and previously acquired skills to yield best possible outcomes. This has been extremely rewarding.
  • Love helping people
  • FUN Enterprises – Creatively Freeing
  • Mom – That’s a no brainer. PT-love helping people feel better. Instructor-loved getting paid to exercise.
  • Met many friends it was like family
  • I prepared retired people to travel to Italy for the first time. Since Italian is my first language I taught classes to people who were traveling for the first time.
  • Always been my calling and I’m passionate about my job. My other job I had in college and met many great friends through it.
  • I have always loved to be active and around people. The common denominator in all of my favorites is teaching people to improve their lives.
  • Love to see ‘the light go on’ in kids and of course love those hugs and smiles.
  • I have a very rewarding career but the paperwork and data collection are overwhelming.
  • My favorite company is great to their employees, close to home, I enjoy the work. Friendly’s was a fun job and I love ice cream!!!
  • I get to use the skills I have developed in my career and it gives me a better work/life balance.
  • Love to play with color and design
  • I have always enjoyed helping teens recognize their strengths and plan for their futures.
  • Handle my own schedule – Business Owner. Enjoy the look on a child’s face when they understand a concept.
  • Teaching.  There is nothing that moves my heart and soul more than knowing I am helping a person understand that it isn’t about losing weight…it is about changing your life. How it impacts your mind, spirit and body.
  • I love bringing people peace!
  • It is very rewarding and enlightening to finally be living my dream! At times it can be overwhelming and a bit scary, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything!
  • Loved the teaching and watching people grow. Always have, and always will
  • Owner & CPO® – most rewarding and fulfilling Visual Merchandiser – if I didn’t have to do any other retail duties Baker’s Assistant – I like to bake.
  • I have always been creative so becoming a graphic designer was a bit if a no-brainer for me. But my fav non college educated job was pharmacy technician, I loved the authority I had as well as the responsibility of filling prescriptions and recommending over the counter medication.
  • I enjoy freelancing now because I’m able to be as creative as I want to be. I also enjoy the relationships I’m building with my clients. I like being able to do it all and have total control over my work.

What was your least favorite job?

  • Temporary worker
  • Project Engineer (Never could do my best and it was associated with corporate America)
  • Parts of 2 jobs where I have felt undermined and my skills misutilized.
  • waitress – always told customers it was my 1st day on the job
  • Marketing Specialist
  • File clerk
  • GED Teacher
  • Stock room girl
  • <Local sports retailer>- corporate focus being all about money
  • Assistant buyer – worked with all bitchy women and asshole, arrogant men.
  • Kitchen aid
  • Shoe sales
  • Secretary
  • Office manager – boring/not challenged
  • Waitress-(grouchy people)
  • Housecleaning
  • Bank Teller
  • Cashiering
  • Legal assistant
  • Sales Manager <large retail chain>
  • Administrative secretary
  • Exec Assist for non-profits – dealing with board members
  • hostess

What can you say about your least favorite job?

  • My least favorite left me feeling ineffective and stressed, both at work and home.
  • Boss was horrible, controlling and miserable
  • I clerked for a summer and every day I drove home and thought “I will finish college, I will finish college”
  • Treated employees horribly
  • Boring
  • Being a GED teacher was one of the most difficult jobs I ever had. My district has a diverse population and it was so difficult to get through to some people.
  • I had fun going through the motions of the retail positions, but didn’t like how the companies were run. The management had no regard for people who were depending on hours when they were told by higher ups to cut hours.
  • People were inconsiderate, rude and not team players
  • Extremely sexist company! demanded 60 hrs work for 40 hrs pay, every week.
  • It was extremely stressful to grow to 3 states, manage and motivate staff, continually seek new funding while raising 4 kids!! I worked 14 hour days and travelled a lot!!
  • Hated the hosiery and sock department, hated the long hours at <local retail stores>, hated the selling at <local radio station> (no more sales jobs EVER again!)
  • Not always given respect. Undervalued.
  • Most of my “professional” career has been office/administrative work. I’m VERY good at…very skilled, 15+ years experience…especially skilled with supporting high level management but it is not challenging me. Not helping me grow…I’m trying to find my way into a new field but the path is filled with obstacles of people wanting to keep me at “what I’m good at”.
  • I’m definitely not a 9-5 type of person and do not thrive in an environment where there is no creative outlet.
  • Temp position sucked…boring, awful pay. Bonus was meeting some really nice people
  • Oh my word ! The day care owner was off her rocker and I, as a high school student, had no idea what to do with that! And the retail industry wasn’t for me I had a hard time with the . I worked there when they measured how “high” the jeans were folded – each one had to be 3/4″!
  • Greeting card visual merchandiser – boring and tedious, only lasted a few months
  • I tried but I never liked any of my cashier jobs. I was briefly a hostess …. and it was one of the hardest jobs I gave eve had, and I was constantly arguing with my manager over my schedule? sales, I had a low-income territory and I could not sell high-end vacuums to low-income households, it just seemed unconscionable.
  • At least the years of running a register taught me responsibility and how to hold a job.

Would you care to comment on your journey?

  • Everything has contributed to where I am now, every challenge, every setback, every triumph, every discovery. Wouldn’t change it, and look forward to s much more.
  • I consider myself fortunate to have a satisfying job…working with generous and smart people…adding some to what’s good in this world. Plus, it’s challenging…always growing and stretching out of my comfort zone.
  • Every job I’ve held is not wasted and was a path to get to where I am today.
  • I feel good about my contribution to society by raising really great kids who will grow up to have their own positive impact on this world. Going forward, I want to reach out and make a different positive impact outside my home. That is from where I gather energy.
  • Not done yet!
  • I like where it has taken me.
  • I’m in a transitional place now where I want to stay home awhile longer but still return to PT.
  • My degree is in marketing and feel that I have used it
  • Retired and part-time worker. Many happy and sad moments remembered. Still in contact with many. If I was to go back I would spend less hours on o.t and more hours with family.
  • I currently work with elementary school children in an ELL program. I enjoy it and love teaching my students how to read.
  • I have learned from my working in various physical therapy settings and am happy with the profession I chose. Especially now that I have children, it provides me with schedule flexibility.
  • Amazing. Love bringing the prior experiences with me and not stressing the same things.
  • Being a teacher and a single mom is tough, but I wouldn’t change it.
  • Great variety of work, experienced a whole range of different management styles. Helped to make me a better worker and manager.
  • It has been very, very rewarding having helped over 25,000 young people in <Local Non-Profit> improve their lives. My career in the not-for-profit sector has fulfilled my innate desire to help people.
  • Journey basically ended with motherhood.
  • Pretty straightforward
  • Have learned something about myself at each job. Grown to be able to speak up and be heard.
  • I am at a fork in the road. I can either keep applying for work that I have done nearly my whole adult life because I’m “great” at it…or I can finally try to push myself in a new direction. Which is scary…but sometimes they say when you don’t know which way to move…the best thing to do is stand still. So right now, I’m “still” in a job I do NOT like or an environment that is not great because I need to figure out where to go from here.
  • It is never too late to find your calling. It’s important to listen to your heart and be open to change.
  • The work journey has been interesting. Looking back I can see that all of my work allows me the potential to make a lot more money..if I choose to work harder and longer.
  • I am truly grateful to have this opportunity to explore my creative side and all the possibilities that it has to offer. I believe all the paths along my journey have prepared me and brought me to this present moment in time.
  • Every piece of my life, and my work has evolved in a way to connect. Sort of like my boys’ dot-to-dot coloring books that they had when they were younger. On first glance it looks like a big blog of messy dots, but when you connect them, you step back and the image is so clear. I don’t always know how people, jobs, events, situations in my life connect, but when I look back they all do…
  • I like variety and to take advantage of new opportunities. Change isn’t a bad thing.
  • Almost any other job I have held has never been as satisfying as being a graphic designer, and the pinnacle of my career was when I made the decision to work for myself.
  • It’s been quite a journey. I really didn’t want to leave my job as a graphic designer in 2006. I had just had my second child and my husband and I decided it made sense for one of us to stay home to raise her. As a mom, I knew I wouldn’t get that time back, plus I’d been a single mom for a number of years and the thought of being able to stay home was exciting. It’s certainly something I never thought I’d do. I always loved working. Especially where I was working at that time. But, in the end, I resigned and began my new position as a stay at home mom. I knew I had to keep my foot in the door, though. Especially with what I do. There’s no way I could take off for 6-7 years, then expect to jump back in. So I decided to freelance. I began doing a few freelance jobs for the company I had just left, as well as for an ex-employee of that company who had gone off to start his own PR firm (he is still a client of mine today). I’d pull in jobs here and there but it wasn’t consistent for a long time. Which was fine since in 2007 I had my third daughter and officially had my hands full. It wasn’t until my first client had asked me to change their website to WordPress that things really began to move. I learned WordPress and loved it. I then did a few more websites in WordPress, learning more and more along the way. A friend of mine had heard the owner of a boxing gym where she worked out needed a new website, so she told the owner about me. We worked it out that I would do a website for her and she’d give me a lifetime membership to the gym. Worked for me! Well, little did I know that the owner of the gym was working with Tricia White. Tricia saw the new site, loved it, and the rest is history. She began to refer many small business owners who came to see her to me, only allowing me to grow my skills and develop a growing client base. That went on for a couple of years. Now I have clients who originally came to me from Tricia’s recommendation recommending me to others. My client base has grown to over 80 clients and it’s continuing to grow. I no longer go to the boxing gym, but that one website really launched what is now Erin Sweeney Design. It practically rocketed my business. I owe so much to my first client, Sawmill Marketing and Public Relations, and to Tricia White. If it weren’t for those 2, I’m sure I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Where else do you see yourself going?

  • Forwards and outwards!!! Focusing in on the aspects of my work that intrigue me the most, and creating specialized workshops, trainings and retreats from that.
  • Program officer…private charitable foundation would be awesome
  • Being the best at what I do and probably write a book one day and invent a product.
  • Reaching out, making connections with good people. Enjoying my WHOLE life–work home, and family. For me, this does not mean climbing a corporate ladder, but making differences in the lives of individuals.
  • Love to learn, so will keep looking for opportunities to grow in my current field.
  • Right now I like where I am.
  • I have done some teaching and I loved that. So long-term I would like to balance clinical work with teaching.
  • Retirement!!!
  • On cruises and vacations with family when we can afford it
  • I would like to teach ESL to adults one day. I did that for a short time and loved it.
  • I’m really not sure. I am interested in possibly teaching at a local PT school.
  • Love what I do now.
  • I see myself working with parents eventually.
  • Want to retire at my present company
  • I still want to teach 1st grade. Someday, I will!
  • I would love to refurbish old furniture, fix it up and paint for resale . Or something along that line. Anything to do with paint and design.
  • I hope to take a school leadership role before I retire from education, and then maybe work as a regional admissions counselor for a college again.
  • More success at my business
  • I want to expand into marketing/social media…playing with the idea of launching on part-time basis social media/marketing support for local health and wellness companies/trainers. This will combine my love of marketing/social media with health/wellness.
  • I see myself adding healing to my business. I also see myself as a published author.
  • I see myself as a top-notch, highly respected and well-known company that provides excellent service. I also see myself delegating some of the not so pleasant areas of my job and making a FANTASTIC income, along with a new home, more travel, more freedom, living and enjoying life much more.
  • As I said in my high school yearbook so many years ago…..”I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way!”
  • I’d love to travel and do the work I do..but to be honest, I am just taking it one day at a time.
  • More volunteer work where I’m sharing my resources and skills.
  • I only see myself getting bigger. I want to offer more services. I want to grow my client list. I want to eventually hire someone to help with part of my workload. I’ve been hesitant to do this because in freelance there’s always that repetition of feast or famine. But to be honest, I haven’t gone through a famine in a few years now. I always seem to have work on my desk. If I can figure out a way to keep it going so I feel confident enough to bring in someone else, I’ll certainly move in that direction. What I love about doing what I do is the impact it has on my 3 daughters. They see Mommy working and owning her own business. My middle daughter thinks I’m “famous” because I’m on google. She does a search for Erin Sweeney Design and our house pops up. I also heard her playing a make-believe game once with one of her friends, and she introduced herself as “Harper. I own Harper Sweeney Design. I’m famous.” I tell the girls all the time that they can do whatever they want to do. It’s not easy. Being on your own never is. But it is so rewarding having the freedom to do what you love.

What is your current job?

  • Yoga Teacher
  • Executive Director
  • Business Coach and Leadership Trainer
  • Marketing Director
  • Financial Services Professional
  • VP of Marketing for FUN Enterprises
  • Stay at home mom
  • Sales & Mktg @ NFPA-10 years
  • ELL Teacher
  • Retired
  • Teacher
  • Stay at home mom
  • Teacher and assistant director at private school
  • Mom
  • Early Intervention
  • First grade teacher 8 yrs
  • HR Knowledge
  • Writer, Teacher, Angel Card Reader
  • Vice President- BAMSI
  • Estate Sales Associate
  • High School Counselor
  • Business owner
  • Welcome Center Coordinator
  • Office manager/project manager, also a Certified Personal Trainer/Health Coach
  • Professional Organizer 2006-present
  • Owner. Event Staffing Agency
  • Owner and Jewelry Designer of SoulQuest Designs
  • Speaker/Trainer/Mind Body Medicine Practitioner
  • Owner – Janine Cavanaugh, CPO®
  • Graphic Designer
  • Owner of Erin Sweeney Design designing WordPress websites and serve as a graphic designer

One thing I have learned is that even when we absolutely love the work we do, there is no way to run your own business or a family without the support of a community.  Networking groups, mind trusts, brainstorming sessions and other opportunities help us all become stronger and more knowledgeable in our own areas.  Finding resources for mentoring and for outsourcing is key to business success and continuity.  I am eternally grateful to my own community, my tribes, my network, my circles for providing me with the many varied resources needed for my own business to thrive. The best part of what I do is that I get to know the most interesting people around.  People who are truly present in their day-to-day work, because it has meaning and purpose to them.

With Gratitude,
                      Susan

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