Monday, February 13, 2017

Why Do You Work – for Money – or – for Job Satisfaction...?

Monday Morning Musings


In today’s world  it is naive to assume that people work primarily to achieve professional fulfillment and job satisfaction. 

As a matter of fact  they seem to work because  what they get on the job enables them to achieve whatever they want to accomplish off the job. 
At the lower levels in an organisation people work for survival  but at middle levels  many persons work for their leisure. 

Yes  most people work so that they can enjoy their leisure

Think about it.

Don’t we all work so that we can enjoy our leisure? 

You slog 5 days a week  so that you can enjoy the 2 days of weekend that you get off.

Do you work because you enjoy doing the job...? 

Not at all.

You work for the money they pay you – so that – whatever the money that you earn from working – you can use that money to enjoy your leisure – once your basic needs are met. 

I have observed this factor especially in many youngsters working in IT, ITES, BPO and many other industries  who wait for the weekend  to enjoy what they have earned by “toiling in the sweatshops for the entire week. 

Then  they blow up what they have earned during the week having a ball in the weekend.

Some call it unwinding

You wind yourself up during the week  slogging away doing something you do not enjoy doing.

And then  you unwind” yourself during the weekend – doing something that you enjoy doing. 

You wind. 

And then  you unwind.

It is like clockwork  as if you are a clock to wind and unwind...!!!

Of course  there a very few lucky persons who seem to have found their metier in their jobs and genuinely enjoy their work.
In most cases  on the job  employees have to “produce” – and there is no time for any enjoyment

Both Competition and Compensation levels are higher than ever before  and  the chief casualties of this competitive work environment are those traditional so-called motivators like “job satisfaction”.
Today – a typical professional may no longer have an undivided loyalty and commitment towards his job. 

Therefore  it is incorrect to believe that an employee’s work life is spent entirely in the pursuit of job satisfaction

Perhaps  an employee is not actively seeking job satisfaction as much as aspiring towards other important needs and considerations like own career progression, standard of living, quality of life, material gain and personal gratification.
For most people their job is a means to achieving their desired ends.

One of the typical propositions held by most people connected with Human Resource (HR) Management is that job satisfaction is positively associated with job performance. 

But in actual fact  does Job Satisfaction lead to improved Job Performance...?

Does a “satisfied” employee always “produce” more...?

It may be wrong to presume and take for granted a fictitious linkage between job satisfaction and employee productivity in all cases. 
In some cases  you may be shocked to find that while the so-called “job satisfaction” was increasing  the productivity of the individual was declining.

The reason behind this apparent paradox is the mistaken concept that a satisfied employee will devote his dedicated attention to his work.
“satisfied” or “happy” employee may begin to develop an attitude of self-complacency – and – an overall sense of well-being  and – consequently  his temperament may become one of ignorant submission and passivity  rather than one of positive action and active involvement. 

I have observed this behaviour among employees in many organisations  particularly in government and public sector organisations  where employment is secure  and  where seniority is more important than performance in career progression.

As a result  it is not too uncommon to see that the productivity of the employee does not always closely follow his upward satisfaction curve.
Another important aspect of this situation is the rate of Constructive Conflict.

If properly used and suggestively applied in the organizational context  the managerial implantation of a limited degree of constructive conflict does indeed shake these smug people and “satisfied” employees out of their lethargy – and enables them to achieve a certain individuality of action. 

Viewed from the perspective of the organization  the key issue is not having satisfied, happy employees  but maximizing productivity  the bottom line being increasing profit and achieving organisational goals
Yes  that is what the organization has to decide and prioritize  what is more important:

Does the organisation want to pamper  employees or maximize productivity...?

Does the organisation want to help employees in achieving their personal goals or is it more important to achieve organisational goals...

Is there a congruence between “Job Satisfaction and Job Performance...? 

Do “satisfied” employees always produce more...? 


An individuals NEED consists of two components:


With changing value systems  it may be wrong to believe that increased satisfaction means increased motivation as propounded by various conventional theories of motivation (Maslow’s Need Hierarchy, for example). 

Here it is vital to understand that “need” comprises two components: “Appetite” and “Desire”. 

Appetite corresponds to that part of each hierarchical level of need  the non-satisfaction of which can be expected to normally inhibit or deter progress up the hierarchy of needs. 
Desire corresponds with the greedy, relatively unjustified part of each hierarchical level of need  the satisfaction of which should not be viewed as necessary prerequisite.
With changing values  and  by habit and custom  yesterday’s desires become today’s appetite

The effect of extrinsic “motivational techniques” like job satisfaction will eventually be to increase need satisfaction threshold limits and draw more energies towards the satisfaction of desires. 
The myth of job satisfaction exerts severe pressures upon both the employer and the employee. 

The employer convinces himself that he must provide satisfaction on the job  and the employee rationalizes his behaviour and anticipates satisfaction.

In this two-faceted pressure approach  the entire organization and all stakeholders suffer from unwanted conflicts, unfulfilled expectations, and unkept promises.

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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All Stories in this Blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
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Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

This is an abridged and revised version of one of my early writings on Human Resource (HR) Management. I wrote this article more than 25 years ago, in the year 1992, and I have posted this article online a number of times including at urls:  and  and  and etc

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