Never Truly Satisfied (with Life and Work)

Mick Jagger sang, “I can’t get no…”


Can we truly ever be satisfied?

You probably know the extremes. Someone who is 100% content. Maybe their day evolves around the couch and the TV. Then there’s the other side of the spectrum, someone who is 0% content. They push, drive, and stay busy 23 hours a day pursuing goals and ambitions.

It’s the conundrum of the high-achiever who is never satisfied. And the worker who is never fulfilled by her work.

How does our identity fuel our work?

Or is our identity fueled and shaped by our work?

Here are two quotes to exemplify.

You will never be truly satisfied by work until you are satisfied by life.

Heather Schuck

Be steady and well-ordered in your life so that you can be fierce and original in your work.

Gustave Flaubert

Work and Personal Fulfillment

Both Heather and Gustave offer intriguing insights into the connection between work and personal fulfillment, a theme that resonates deeply with many in today’s workforce. Their analyses, rich in detail and scope, approach the subject from distinctly different vantage points, evidencing the multifaceted nature of the relationship between one’s career and sense of personal satisfaction.

Schuck emphasizes the holistic nature of satisfaction.

…never be truly satisfied by work…”

Her quote suggests that a sense of dissatisfaction in other areas of life can bleed into our professional lives, limiting our ability to find true fulfillment in our work.

Flaubert, on the other hand, focuses on the impact of personal structure on professional effectiveness.

Be steady and well-ordered in your life…”

This resonates with the experience of many – the high achiever who feels unfulfilled despite professional success, or the overworked individual who lacks the energy or focus to excel at their job.

Work Stemming from Identity

Heather, on one hand, advocates for a vision where work is inherently linked to an individual’s identity and self-expression. She argues that fulfillment is attained through the pursuit of a career that aligns with one’s passions and values. This perspective emphasizes the importance of finding meaning in one’s work and the role that personal growth plays in achieving a fulfilling career.

Work Served by Identity

In contrast, Gustave examines the issue through a lens that focuses on work-life balance and the importance of boundaries. He posits that fulfillment is a product of harmony between one’s professional and personal lives. By advocating for a compartmentalized approach, Gustave suggests that individuals should seek satisfaction in their jobs, but warns against allowing work to overshadow other aspects of life.

Though Heather and Gustave diverge in their viewpoints, their discussions converge on the crucial understanding that how we integrate our professional endeavors into our broader lives can significantly impact our overall happiness and fulfillment. Through their contrasting analyses, they collectively underscore the complexity of navigating work’s role in shaping our identities and personal satisfaction.

Does Work-Life Balance Matter?

Perhaps true satisfaction lies not in achieving a perfect equilibrium between work and life, but rather in recognizing their interconnectedness. By addressing dissatisfaction in one area, we can cultivate a sense of fulfillment that permeates both our professional and personal spheres.