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Job Satisfaction in Older Workers: Associated Factors

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  • 0:01 Job Satisfaction
  • 2:53 Satisfaction in Older Workers
  • 4:29 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Devin Kowalczyk

Devin has taught psychology and has a master's degree in clinical forensic psychology. He is working on his PhD.

What do older people want from their job? How does working for your entire life change when you start getting older? What do average workers expect? This lesson explores all of these factors.

Job Satisfaction

Have you ever had a job you enjoyed? I have. I really like the job I'm doing right now. How about a job you truly detested? One where getting up and going was a drag and something you dreaded. That happens a lot too, but so far, I've been lucky enough to avoid such problem jobs in the rat race.

Psychologists have done studies on factors of jobs satisfaction, which are measurable aspects of work that influence perceived happiness. There are things that happen which increase or decrease the happiness we have about a job. When too many factors are negative, we begin to dislike a job. There are bad days when there is something wrong or the world seems against us, but as long as the factors return to a generally positive way, then we will like our job again. If the factors continue to drag us down, we begin to detest the job we are working at.

Before looking at what factors are most significant to older people, let's look at what factors are out there that psychologists have looked at in general. First off is working conditions, which is to say the environment, both social and physical, that the work takes place in. Sometimes jobs can be really good and in a new building with good lights and air conditioning/heating, but the people who work there are just terrible. On the other hand, sometimes the people are great, but you are working out of a terrible office that smells like the inside of a garbage can. Both the social and physical locale influence how we feel about our job.

There also needs to be the opportunity for advancement, which is to say employees must be able to obtain promotions. This can be in terms of title, pay or rank in the company. Many companies have something akin to a military hierarchy where you have the lowest doing the work, and each layer is responsible for more workers until you get to the top and you are responsible for everyone.

Many people want appropriate workloads, which means stress of employees is on par with training and expectations. There are people out there who risk their lives by trying to stop fires from burning down buildings or by trying to stop people who are committing crimes. Obviously, these tasks are expected and appropriate for firefighters and police officers. However, if you were a machinist on the floor, and you were suddenly expected to run into a burning building, well, then you wouldn't have an appropriate workload.

The last area I want to talk about is financial reward, which is a combination of appropriate workload and opportunity for advancement. An individual must feel that they are paid for the work they will do. People in general expect good pay for the work they do.

Satisfaction in Older Workers

We have discussed some of the factors which influence job satisfaction, but as we age, our priorities change. Sometimes, what sounds good in our youth is of little interest in our old age.

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