What gives us job satisfaction working in clinical research?
I love to see people thrive in their work; I get a buzz out of seeing people put their talents to work in clinical research and feel good about it. The more I learn about the people I work with, the more I see how everyone has a unique recipe for creating job satisfaction ‘on their terms’.
Work can be viewed as a job, a career or a passion. There are advantages in seeing work in all three ways. A job can provide you with a pay cheque and a pension, both very important for survival. Work can also lead you to a career path with opportunities for professional development, creating expertise, position and/or power depending on the role. If your work is also your passion it can bring many internal rewards like energy, joy and a deep sense of purpose.
Here are a few ingredients that have helped some people create their personal recipe for job satisfaction.
I often encourage people working in clinical research, even if they don’t manage staff (or not yet anyway) to look into leadership and management courses. These courses often give you the opportunity to learn about you, your personality traits, your preferred style of working and your strengths (Myers Briggs, Belbin, and Strength Finder). This self-knowledge helps you to see how you can grow and develop in any role; without it I think it can be difficult to find happiness and success at work. Self-awareness is the first important ingredient of job satisfaction.
We may not always want to admit it but we love to be challenged…we thrive on it in fact and the field of clinical research provides plenty of opportunity to test us. A more positive way of viewing a challenging task is to see it as an opportunity and not as a problem. Some like to use their creativity to help them find solutions to situations whereas others are motivated by their competitiveness. These personal strengths can be investigated in self-awareness exercises.
The third element that we will discuss is: variety. This element helps us avoid boredom, as being bored often contributes to job dissatisfaction. The field of clinical research offers so much variety, there is no reason to be bored. If you have the opportunity to do so, try taking on aspects of clinical research that may not be part of your current role, ask to help with an IRAS application, attend a PPI meeting, join the SOP committee or shadow a colleague who works in a completely different area of research to you. It is quite possible that through learning about various aspects of clinical research, you will find some inspiration about options for future roles.
This can be a tricky on in today’s busy world. Increasing pressure in the workplace certainly does not help. Constant pressure to open more studies, meet recruitment targets, be ready to data locks and study close downs may have you lingering at work beyond your contracted hours and giving work ‘headspace’ when you are with family and friends. In the long term, this can have detrimental effects on your health and relationships. A healthcare professionals we know health is about more that eating right, regular exercise and getting those precious 8 hours of sleep. Health is about balance, maintaining good relationships, contributing to something meaningful and taking time out to smell the roses, journal or whatever it is that helps you fill your cup. Be bold, make choices today that will bring work and life into balance for you; lead by example.
Work plays a significant role in our lives and when we do work that is very meaningful, the rewards grow exponentially. It is all about your motivation to do what you do, the intention you set in choosing what you spend your time working on and finally your commitment to the goal. No matter who you are or what you do (nurse, entrepreneur, lawyer, cleaner or retail buyer), you will encounter challenging times, mundane tasks and overwhelming schedules but it the why you choose to do what you do that will keep you on track and focused. What is your reason for working in healthcare research? Can you see how you are contributing to our health and well-being? Can you see how you change a person’s experience in the NHS through your empathy, compassion and professionalism? Can you feel how you are changing the culture in the NHS by bridging the gap between research and service so that one day we will be seen as one team? Get clear on your personal reason for working in clinical research and I am sure that you will be able to nurture that passion within your role. We work in a rich environment, people and their health are our focus, research must be carried out safely and efficiently but with kindness, compassion and care. Somewhere in that rich environment you have your reason to do what you do, and we are glad you do.