When Tony Scwhartz (CEO and founder of the Energy Project) and his team interviewed Intensive Care Unit nurses and doctors at the Cleveland Clinic (one of the top four hospitals in the United States), they discovered that both the nurses and doctors felt overworked and under appreciated. The hospital often had chronic staffing shortages, and nursing staff rarely had time for meals or breaks. They often worked 12 to 14 hour shifts without eating anything and sometimes without even sitting down.
The only thing that kept the nurses fully committed to their work was the deep sense of satisfaction they derived from caring for the patients. They survived almost entirely on spiritual energy – the feeling that what they were doing made a significant difference in the lives of their patients. Interestingly, although the surgeons were paid better wages than the nurses and had a higher level of prestige, they brought less passion to their work than the nurses did; this was because the surgeons felt much less emotionally connected to the patients. One doctor said he felt like he was working in a factory, only seeing his patients when they were knocked out and for a brief time after surgery.
How do you feel about your current job? Did you know that your level of job satisfaction and fulfillment are not always linked to your level of compensation. Your mindset and understanding of your purpose are the leading causes of fulfillment. If you are making a contribution and are working for something greater than yourself, you are very likely to derive a high level of satisfaction, regardless of how much you’re being paid.
Take a few moments to think about the bigger picture of your job. For example, if you teach, think about how the knowledge you are imparting onto your students will help them to make a useful contribution to society. Focus on this bigger picture and you will find fulfillment.