When surveyed for the 2012 Job Satisfaction Survey by The Conference Board, only 47.2 percent of employees claimed to be satisfied with their job, which represents a significant decline from the 61.1 percent satisfaction rate recorded in 1987, the first year of the survey. While salary and job security are major determinants of job satisfaction, they are not the only factors.
For many workers, the employer-employee relationship also plays a significant role in terms of job fulfillment. Major issues in this area include micromanagement, poor communication, and failing to recognize an employee’s contributions.
Workers who are able to self-determine how they perform their duties and tasks appear to be more engaged and fulfilled. As children, many people learn to resent being told what to do and when and how to do it - and they don’t outgrow this resentment as adults. If they’re going to be held accountable for their actions, employees want to be in a position to exercise authority in determining the parameters of their work.
This includes choosing the best course of action, or deciding how to get from point A to point B. Empowerment is a particularly motivating force that creates a sense of pride and accomplishment in workers. When they take ownership of a task of project, they’re more likely to be engaged and to think critically about their actions. And, they’re also more likely to care.
One major problem facing many companies is the scary fact that their employees don’t really care about the organization. Sure, they care about having a job and receiving a paycheck. However, if they don’t feel a connection with their present employer, there’s not much to stop them from jumping ship when a competitor can match their current salary.
Tight deadlines and inflexible work hours are two other causes of low job satisfaction rates. Many employees have to balance demanding family schedules, and the failure to create a realistic work-life balance can elevate stress levels to a dangerously high level.
However, many of these issues can be avoided when employees are self-employed, serve as consultants, or at least have the choice of telecommuting, which allows them to spend quality time working independently. And while these five careers are not for everyone, they’re a good fit for those who don’t want a boss breathing down their neck.
5 Plumbing – Median Salary: $49,140
Whether commercial or residential, plumbers install and repair a variety of fixtures, appliances, and plumbing components and systems. They assemble and repair sections of pipes, clamps, screws, tubing, and valves. Plumbers also install and repair dishwashers, water heaters, faucets, showers, tubs, sinks, and toilets, in addition to opening clogged drains and performing repairs on septic systems. Some plumbers work for plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning companies, while others are self employed. A high school diploma is usually the minimum requirement; in addition, some plumbers attend technical school, or learn their craft through an apprenticeship.
4 Web Development – Median Salary: $62,500
Web developers design and create websites for various clients. They use scripting languages, content creation software, and content management software to create an integrated product. Web developers also incorporate graphics, audio and video elements, and animation effects. They also ensure that the website is functional and meets the client’s needs for bandwidth, server load, and performance, in addition to being user-friendly and navigational.
Web developers may be self-employed or they may work for such companies as computer systems design firms. Aside from occasional meetings with clients, the nature of this job is conducive to telecommuting and working alone, since web development can be performed remotely. Web developers may have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in web design, or they may only have a high school diploma. However, those in more technical positions may need a bachelor’s degree in an area such as computer science or programming.
3 Technical Writing – Median Salary: $65,500
Technical writers convert highly technical and scientific information into easily understood content. They write product assembly, maintenance, and troubleshooting instructions for owners’ manuals, which may also include drawings, diagrams, and charts. Technical writers also gather usability information to help companies make revisions and updates that will increase usability. Some technical writers also help to write research proposals, and depending on their skills, they may also integrate graphics, sound and video into Web-based product information.
Technical writers may work for scientific or technical firms, or they may be freelance writers who work remotely. Most technical writers have a bachelor’s degree in journalism, communications, or English, and knowledge in a subject like engineering, medicine, or computer science.
2 Personal Financial Advising – Median Salary: $67,520
Personal financial advisors help clients manage money and reach financial goals. They offer advice on such investments as stocks and bonds, while factoring in risk management. Personal financial advisors also help clients to make decisions regarding such life changes as education expenses, or planning for marriage, children, or retirement. In addition, they help clients prepare taxes and select appropriate insurance coverage, and they monitor the performance of their clients’ accounts to recommend adjustments that can improve performance.
Most personal financial advisors work for financial or insurance firms, but many are self-employed. The minimum educational requirement for this position is a bachelor’s degree in finance, or a related subject such as accounting, mathematics, economics, or business.
1 Real Estate Brokerage – Median Salary: $80,220
Real estate brokers help clients to sell, buy, or rent residential or commercial properties. They help sellers to list and advertise properties and they host open houses for potential buyers or renters to view properties. Real estate brokers also advise buyers, renters, and sellers regarding market conditions and prices, and they negotiate purchase offers and terms, and counsel buyers regarding mortgage requirements. They may also manage properties for a fee.
Real estate brokers differ from real estate agents in that brokers are licensed to operate their own real estate company. The minimum educational requirement for real estate brokers is a high school diploma. They must also take real estate courses and pass an exam to become licensed.
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