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What Is the Connection between Job Satisfaction and Stress?

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  • Written By: Tara Barnett
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 16 November 2016
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While there is a connection between job satisfaction and stress, it is important to differentiate between the kind of stress that ends in satisfaction and the kind of stress that leads to burnout. Many people find that dealing with a highly stressful job that provides excellent rewards is fulfilling and challenging, and even more people find that periods of stress within an otherwise low-key job are acceptable if the stressful time leads to recognition. The type of stress that reduces job satisfaction is the type that is constant and provides the worker with no benefits. In many cases, stress of this type can cause a reduction in job satisfaction that will eventually lead to extremely unhappy employees.

Factors impacting job satisfaction depend on the individual employee, but it is safe to say that people who experience unwanted stress typically also experience less satisfaction from work. Job satisfaction and stress are often thought to relate solely in this way, but there are other connections to be considered as well. For example, an employee with otherwise high job satisfaction might be more capable of dealing with periods of extreme stress related to employment because he or she feels that the stress is worthwhile for the benefit of the company. Likewise, companies that value employee happiness create additional ties between job satisfaction and stress because, in order to maintain satisfaction, managers and other company officials must be highly attuned to situations that cause stress.

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Even though there are commonalities between many workers, some people find that no amount of stress can reduce job satisfaction. The kind of stress that would cause some people to burnout in a profession is the very draw of the job for others. Stress is, in this sense, subjective. It is an experience of being overwhelmed that can be either positively or negatively valued by the worker. When it is negatively valued, job satisfaction goes down, but when it is positively valued, stress may even improve job satisfaction.

In most cases, the connection between job satisfaction and stress is simply one of being intertwined. It is not always possible to elucidate the exact ways in which these two experiences are related except on the individual level, which is why it is important to encourage workers to consider their own needs and to keep tabs on signs of extreme stress. Stress can lead to mistakes, which leads to frustration, which can in turn cause extreme unhappiness with one's profession. Job satisfaction and stress must be monitored in order to be maintained, and the same person may find that he or she has different needs at different times.

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KoiwiGal
Post 3

@Fa5t3r - I think the link is even more crucial than that. I've tried to work in places where I just didn't like the work and it is extremely stressful.

Even a job where I don't dislike anything, but just don't feel satisfied with my daily activities is stressful. You spend a huge chunk of your life at your workplace. If it's boring it's going to be a source of stress.

Fa5t3r
Post 2

@pleonasm - I think the big difference here is between chronic stress and temporary stress. A doctor, for example, might feel stress during an operation but is able to let go of that stress once the operation is over. Another doctor might not be able to let go of the stress, because they are constantly worried about the next operation. The first doctor is probably going to experience much greater job satisfaction than the second (all things being equal) because they aren't constantly associating their job with stress.

They say that the mood you're in when you leave a job is the one that you remember having had all day whether that's true or not. So if you leave work feeling stressed and unhappy, that's going to start to seem like the only possible emotions you can have at work.

pleonasm
Post 1

Stress isn't always a bad thing. Basically only you can tell whether work stress is something that you are willing to put up with or if it's something that's going to make your life worse.

I mean, a firefighter is going to have a relatively stressful working environment but that doesn't necessarily affect their quality of life. Some people like being under a certain amount of stress and it adds to their job satisfaction rather than detracting from it.

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