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Job satisfaction is the level of contentment a worker feels about their work. Job satisfaction is correlated with career success, and is intrinsically desired by most people—including many members of the effective altruist community—independently of its impact on career outcomes.

Job satisfaction appears to have only a weak link to being well paid, and “passion” for an area is a poor predictor of levels of satisfaction when working in that area. 80,000 Hours conducted an analysis of the literature on job satisfaction and identified the following “six key ingredients of a dream job” (80,000 Hours 2016):

  1. Do work you’re good at
  2. Do work that is useful to others
  3. Do work that allows you to feel a sense of “flow”.
  4. Work with supportive colleagues
  5. Do work that allows you to meet your basic needs
  6. Do work that fits your personal life

They summarise these six criteria as “focus on getting good at something that helps others.”

Further reading

80,000 Hours. 2016. We reviewed over 60 studies about what makes for a dream job. Here’s what we found.
80,000 Hours’ overview of job satisfaction.