A lot of young professionals in international development aid or humanitarian aid are struggling when it comes to job satisfaction.
Why is that so and what can be done about it? Let’s take a look.
Like most other jobs, the contributing factors to enjoying your work in humanitarian aid to the fullest are often environmental, meaning they are directly related to the environment in which you work. Now, that doesn’t mean only the physical environment, but also the ethical, communicative and supportive environment you find yourself in.
Things like the level of trust your management inspires in you, whether you feel safe in your physical work environment, how much responsibility your job entails, the ease with which bureaucracy can be submitted, and so on are important things to consider. These are all, in some capacity, within the influence of the organisation you’re working for.
Other environmental factors that are not under your organization’s influence may include things like political situations on the ground, natural disasters in the region, or whether or not your living situation is family-friendly (for those wanting to raise children in the field).
Research has shown, however, that improvement of those factors that are within the organisation’s control can significantly improve the level of your, as an aid worker, job satisfaction, and therefore, your willingness to remain in the position.
Choice of mindset
Of course, the environmental factors of a job in humanitarian aid are very important and impact your ability to do your job well and enjoy it to the fullest, but you also have a part to play in this. You can approach such a job with a mindset of looking for the problem, or one of living in the solution.
Naturally, this is easier said than done, but with some practice, the approach to every situation you find yourself in, whether it be in the realm of your work or not, can be improved by choosing to look for the solution rather than the problem.
Identifying those situations which make it easier for you to live in the solution, compared to ones where you tend to find problems, is also part of this process.
The Solution: You do have control over the most important one: your mindset
Where to go from here?
So while you are not entirely responsible for how much you are able to enjoy your job in humanitarian aid, since you have no control over external factors, you do have control over the most important one: your mindset.
If you are searching for new jobs, or about to transition into a job in humanitarian aid for the first time, allow your intuition for noticing environments that bring out your tendency to find problems as compared to those which bring out your natural ability to live in the solution to guide you in your search.
And if you are currently stuck in a job in humanitarian aid that you are not enjoying, get in touch and I’ll help you figure out your next steps.