Job Satisfaction

It might be a bit presumptuous of me to talk about job satisfaction, given that I went from school to aged pension with less than a total of 5 years in paid employment, but hey, that might be give me perspective rather than being a disqualification.  Most of my thoughts are borrowed, as I cherry-pick from the 2 non-fiction books a week I have read for the last 40 years.  Hey! that comes to about 4,000 information books.  I suppose you have to be unemployed to enjoy the luxury of time to read all that stuff.

So what I have gathered about job satisfaction is:-

  1. It is the second most important factor in determining one’s happiness.  The most important being good deep personal relationships.  I leave that one to the dear reader.
  2. A very important factor is the ‘discretionary role content’.  In other words are you a ‘programmed operator’ who is instructed to provide output B in response to input A, or is your judgement required.  Are your personal talents involved in decision making?  If not you are on the production conveyor belt and unlikely to achieve satisfaction at work.
  3. Are you valued by your colleagues?  If no, then get new colleagues.  If you don’t own the business, then mass firings may not be an option, but taking your talents elsewhere always is.
  4. Do you think your work is making the world a better place for someone?  I do, and that is what sustains me through the very ordinary and humdrum chores of making beds and mopping floors and large amounts of washing.  

I have the daily requirements of meeting guests and servicing cottages, and I get a genuine buzz with serving people.  Not being subservient, and no way is it bowing and scraping, but it is providing something that people seek and need.  Even better anticipating their needs and suggesting something they might be reluctant to ask for.  The maintenance part is quite varied and I cope as it arises.  I recently rebuilt a part of the bridge near Blackbean Cottage.  All the old wood was 40 years old and well past its use by date.  Having taken it all away, I had the problem of constructing the new span.  The carpentry was elementary, the problem was where to stand while constructing it.  It was over a swamp where I would sink to my crutch in the loose decaying leaves and debris.  So I put the old boards in the swamp to stand on.  They sank about 300mm down under the ooze so I had to remember where they were.  So I spent the day nearly knee deep in gunge and only once missed a hidden board to sink right down and floundering around clutching a post to pull myself out.  At the end of the day I hosed myself off but found my lower legs still stained blue/black.  It took considerable scrubbing in the shower to remove most of the stain.  To many, this would sound like a day in purgatory, but I had built something that would last another 40 years , so for me was a good day.

A couple of days ago, I set of with nothing more ambitious in mind than shopping in Atherton.  I was stopped at a cattle grid where a steer had got its rear legs jammed in the bars.  It was right in the middle so it was stuck and I was stuck.  I phoned 2 numbers for the owner of the steer and property but got answering machines.  I phoned my son in law, Blue, who lives close and runs cattle and he reckoned that we would have to shoot it and tow it out with a chain breaking its legs, but it would be past caring at that stage.  Then he remembered he knew a relative of the owner so phoned them, who didn’t know his mobile number but thought of someone who might.  Many phone calls later he was found.  You can do that in the country.  We met at the cattle grid and found the steers legs well jammed up between the the top bars and the support bars.  It took an hour of levering the legs this way and that, 2m crowbars, ropes, boards and straps to get him out of the grid.  All of that time the steer was trembling in fright and trying to kill us.  Even when we had wrestled him out and dragged him clear, and our noble intentions were clear, he was less than appreciative with murder and mayhem still on his mind.  I thought it prudent to climb on the truck.  We did a good job.  He could easily have broken his own legs in a frantic attempt to escape. 

So I arrived in Atherton to do the shopping well plastered in mud, but in a country town nobody notices or cares.  And I was pleased and satisfied with my unexpected task for the day.  In a town or city if something goes wrong, you phone it in.  In the country you deal with it.


  1. Jouni says:

    Good read, I recall a similar story from my days on the Cattle property at Wonder vale. Is the sauna working ?

    • Hi Jouni,
      Yes cattle can be quite dim and get themselves into all sorts of trouble and fight like mad as you try to help. Sauna is working, but dry wood stocks very low. Dec/Jan I am full so no chain sawing up trees and splitting them too sounds like gunshots. Got well flooded for the last few days and hydro and ram pump not working. Some of the pipes to both of them got carried off in the flood and bent up. Have to source replacements on Mon. I was cut off by the raging waters at the creek crossing on my baby sitting day for my 2 grandsons 3 1/2 and 1 1/2 and even a 4WD with snorkel was too risky so ended up having them 2 days and 2 nights. Perilous situation. I was down to the last nappy. Fortunately no guests here and the weekend guests I informed they couldn’t get here

  2. Simone says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed reading this Paul. Literally brought a big silly grin to my face. Very excited to see the Blackbean bridge soon, too.

  3. Jordan says:

    A lovely read Paul. Thank you for making me smile 🙂

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