Career Coach Says Employees Must Shift Focus from Job Satisfaction

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), May 6, 2008 | Go to article overview

Career Coach Says Employees Must Shift Focus from Job Satisfaction


Byline: Kim Mikus

A career coach from Lincolnshire believes there is hope in the workplace despite uncertain economies and job markets. A big part of the equation comes from within.

Jeffrey Garton recently published "Career Contentment: Don't Settle for Anything Less." In his book, Garton addresses how the employee is in charge of assessing and viewing his or her life, career or circumstances in a way that will create a contented state of mind. The book serves as a roadmap.

Garton, who gives seminars around the country on the topic, says career contentment is your state of mind related to your career.

Garton speaks to both employers and employees. Last week he gave a presentation to a group of medical executives at Loyola University on the topic of career contentment, which he says is different than job satisfaction.

Contentment is a key aspect of our work and professional lives that has slipped under the radar.

His philosophy goes against the theories he implemented during a 23-year career in human resources at Philip Morris Cos. "Job satisfaction is a myth," he says. In order to find career contentment, you have to be in a field and job that's meaningful.

What contributes to career contentment includes how you think, feel and act in order to have and enjoy the career you desire, he says.

He looks at his corporate career as an example of career contentment. He worked for Philip Morris at a time when both the brewing and tobacco industries were under constant litigation. As a result, job and working conditions were frequently dissatisfying due to reductions in pay increases, bonuses and benefits. Positions were eliminated as people quit or were encouraged to take early retirements. He said if people complained, they were put on the list for the next round of layoffs.

"I tolerated these conditions for nearly 10 years and to this day, I believe these were some of the best years during my entire career. Even though dissatisfied with conditions, I was content in the belief I was on track to fulfill my calling and purpose," he said. …

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