Job satisfaction depends to a great degree on what one expects from a job. Expectations vary as people tend to approach work from one of two perspectives: as a job or as a career. So, what’s the difference?
As a job, it’s “show me the money!” The work itself may hold little interest; it’s the income that matters. If a job with better pay comes along, you would not hesitate to move on.
As a career, you’re most likely motivated by personal goals, status, and long-term stability. You want to get the education or training to climb the professional ladder as far as possible.
Whether you choose work for money or to advance a career, every job has characteristics in common: you have working hours, you are responsible for accomplishing work tasks, and you get paid. However, jobs vary tremendously in working conditions and in many other ways.
Turn to the handout Top Ten Job Expectations. What are your job expectations? Consider the following questions:
Would you take a job with good pay but bad hours?
- How about a job with good pay but low job security?
Jobs versus Career
Emphasize that no one of these options is necessarily better than another. The high prestige and high paying jobs are not always the most satisfying. For instance:
Stress, overwork, and a high-pressure workplace put doctors and lawyers near the bottom of the job satisfaction scale.
Many people choose to stay at low-paying jobs with less status because they love the company or their co-workers, find fulfillment from the work, or prefer the lack of stress.
Refer to the Teacher Resource Survey Reveals Most Satisfying Jobs and give a few more examples that would resonate with your students.
Turn to Top Ten Job Expectations and do a round-robin, asking each intern to read one expectation aloud. Point out the additional information on page 2 about Employee Benefits. Quickly explain the terms used. This may not be important to young people for their first job, but it will become increasingly important in their work lives. Ask if they have any other job expectations to add. Take time for a short discussion, giving examples, or asking provocative questions such as the ones listed in the instructions.
Personal job expectations
This activity provides students with an opportunity to explore what is satisfying about their internships, either through personal experience or the experience of a colleague at the internship site.
This activity gives students an opportunity to reflect on their internship experiences and the key takeaways from related lessons, such as what skills, techniques, and concepts can be applied to college and future work.