Top 3 Factors for Job Satisfaction

By Thomas Scott

Have you ever gotten lost in your thoughts in the middle of your morning commute, or on the second mile of your treadmill jog and found yourself daydreaming about your "perfect" career? What did it feel like? How did you see yourself spending your days? How was it different from your current job?

A 2017 Gallup poll revealed that 51% of the more than 100 million full-time employees in the American workforce are not engaged at their workplace, meaning they are just there. So, if you would categorize yourself similarly to 51 million of your unengaged peers, have you been wondering what — or who — is to blame?

Perhaps the more revealing question you should be asking is: WHAT IS MISSING? Let's explore job satisfaction and how you can find a career that you love.

What Makes a Job Satisfying?

According to the popular author Malcolm Gladwell, there are three requirements for satisfying work:

  1. Autonomy: being responsible for your own decisions and direction
  2. Complexity: work that engages your mind and your imagination
  3. Reward: a direct relationship to the amount of effort you exert and the rewards you reap

But what jobs meet this criteria? Ultimately, job satisfaction is subjective, and there isn't one right job that meets everyone's preferences. But being a business owner may be one of the most satisfying jobs across the board because it allows individuals to have autonomy, complexity, and reward in an industry that appeals to them. 

This idea is exemplified in the groundbreaking 2008 book Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. He briefly summarizes the lives of the Borgenichts, a Jewish immigrant family in the New York garment industry after World War II. Despite working back-breaking 18-hour days for next to nothing, the Borgenichts found meaning in starting their own garment business. 

Let's discover how being a business owner can provide job satisfaction and use examples from the Borgenichts as an example. 

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Gladwell states, "When Borgenicht came home at night to his children, he may have been tired, poor and overwhelmed, but he was alive. He was his own boss." For Borgenicht, he could do the difficult and time-consuming work because he was in control of his choices, not someone else.

As a business owner, you get to decide what you do every day. Although certain things need to get done to run your company, it is up to you how to accomplish those tasks. Do you want to run a specific marketing campaign? Want to take off early to attend your daughter's soccer game? Business owners can exercise entrepreneurial freedom to help them achieve financial success, work-life balance, and job security. 


Borgenicht's work "was complex; it engaged his mind and imagination." That is a large part of why his work was so fulfilling. Performing difficult work and solving problems that are demanding and intellectually stimulating can make it meaningful and energizing.

Gladwell asks, "If I offered you a choice between being an architect for $75,000 a year and working in a tollbooth every day for the rest of your life for $100,000 a year, which would you take?" Even for less money, working as an architect can be challenging and offer a meaningful complexity that is unavailable to a tollbooth worker. Ultimately, it's the obstacles in our work that help us grow, learn, and feel accomplished.


Gladwell writes, "And, the longer [Borgenicht] and Regina stayed up at night sewing aprons, the more money they made the next day on the streets." Business owners experience a direct correlation between the amount of work they put in and the payoff — whether that be financial or emotional. 

For example, as a home care business owner, the more work you put in, the more seniors you an help in your community.

Working for others may not yield the same results. As a salaried employee, you may put in hours of overtime and never be compensated for that extra work and effort. The direct relationship between hard work and the payoff can drive you to work harder and achieve greater success as a business owner.

Finding the Right Opportunity

If you find work that you love, you will be more likely to stick with it and enjoy satisfaction from your work and even personal life. But that can be tricky. Business ownership comes with its own set of unique challenges, and many businesses ultimately fail. Luckily, a franchisor can help you navigate obstacles easily and have a proven business model, helping you reduce headaches, heartaches, and financial loss.

Finding a franchise that is a good fit for you will help increase your motivation to succeed, your engagement, job satisfaction, and personal fulfillment. To learn about franchise opportunities in home care, tell us about you and your aspirations.

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Tags: Personal Growth