Is your objective for working to pay the bills or to fulfill your calling and purpose? The answer is usually both. You work for the pleasure of using your talents but you also expect to get paid, and since you have to work the experience should at least be tolerable. Sometimes it’s not.

Blame it on your boss, rising costs, shrinking pay and benefits, long hours, limited resources, office politics, a difficult commute, poor working conditions, unfriendly co-workers, layoffs and the lack of advancement, or maybe you chose the wrong job. It’s guaranteed there will always be some element of your work that is dissatisfying.

Despite the efforts of employers from around the globe to improve satisfaction, these same problems have been around since your grandmother was an intern, and they’re likely to affect your grandchildren when they begin working. What was tried has not worked or you wouldn’t be reading this.

What will it take: More money, less work, greater flexibility, nicer people, or guaranteed jobs and health care? Did it really help when you went from casual Fridays to all casual? Of course, but it’s never enough.

Dissatisfaction is inevitable because nothing in this world is absolutely perfect and not everything is likely to go your way. It’s also human nature to eventually expect more or want something new or different.

Here’s the point: Satisfaction is transient and unreliable. It’s dependent on you or someone else fulfilling a condition or expectation before you’re made satisfied. You have no control over the employer or anyone but yourself and this is why the same dissatisfactions are still unresolved after decades of trying to fix them. They will always exist as long as people work and remain dependent on someone for something.

Job satisfaction is dependent on what the employer provides in exchange for your hard work, time and talents. Even the intrinsic satisfaction you get from working is still dependent on the employer making your job available and possible to perform. So perhaps what you’re longing for really isn’t the employer provided satisfaction so much as it is your own career contentment? There’s a difference.

Career contentment is not dependent on other people or material things but on how you reason to recognize the acceptable middle ground, and also your choice of work and whether it fulfills your calling and purpose. When you’re in the right job, you can be content even if not happy or entirely satisfied. It’s a state of mind that is completely within your control, and so too is your choice of employers and meaningful work.

Contentment is not just a matter of doing what you love but intentionally putting yourself into situations where you can love what you do with or without the satisfactions. It’s why some people are content to stay in jobs others find dissatisfying, and why some people choose to step down from highly desirable jobs. They intend to fulfill their calling and prefer not to ignore or waste their talents in exchange for transient satisfactions.

Career contentment has nothing to do with settling for less but rather establishing a priority mindset that enables you to think clearly and to endure in order to have the career you desire, or to courageously pursue what gives your career contentment. You will unless you’re working just for the satisfactions, in which case you can stay and complain, but how content is that?

If you lack job satisfaction it’s because you or the employer failed to fulfill some condition or expectation, and there’s a good possibility you may never be completely satisfied. However, if you lack contentment, it’s because you don’t know how to recognize it or you’re in the wrong job. Here’s what you do:

1. Learn to reason and recognize the acceptable middle ground in any situation. Dissatisfactions are inevitable in an imperfect world and it’s unrealistic to depend exclusively on others to make you satisfied.

2. Honor your genuine callings by recognizing your contentment where you are, or by courageously pursuing it elsewhere. It’s your life and career and neither you nor the employer will benefit by your complaints or wasting your talents in the wrong job or career.

3. Satisfactions are great but are here today and could be gone tomorrow. Stick with work made meaningful by the use of your talents to fulfill your calling and purpose and avoid jobs that require talents you don’t have or are not motivated to use.

The campaign to retire job dissatisfaction raises your awareness about these options and teaches you how to recognize and benefit from your own career contentment rather than depend on employers to make you satisfied.

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Author's Bio: 

Jeff Garton is a career coach, author and host of VoiceAmerica’s “Career Contentment Radio.” His background includes a career in HR with the Philip Morris companies. He now leads the worldwide Campaign To Retire Job Dissatisfaction. For more information, and to join the campaign, visit: http://www.careercontentment.com.