Is job satisfaction more important than job security?

Some people think that job satisfaction is more important than job security. Others think that people should not expect to enjoy a job and having job security is therefore more important.
Discuss both views and give your opinion.

Getting paid to do something you love is often cited as the employment ideal, but this holy grail is not always a possibility. Indeed, many people are left with the dilemma of chasing a dream versus compromising in the name of stability. Whilst there are valid arguments for both decisions, I would argue that choosing which is appropriate is highly subjective and very much depends on the degree of love and purpose in one’s life overall.

Advocates of stability state that it provides a reliable source of income upon which a life can be built. In effect, these people see the rewards of work (i.e. money) as a tool. When a downtrodden worker justifies his pain by saying ‘I work to live, not live to work’, the implication is that although employment is not enjoyable, the financial benefits act as either a means of survival or a springboard to other interests.  

Contrary to this are those who believe work should be agreeable, not a punishment. Such people are less likely to compartmentalise work and happiness, and would argue that as work accounts for a large percentage of one’s life it should be tied to satisfaction, not isolated from it. Essentially the argument runs that, unless battling for survival, deliberately doing something that induces misery is a tragic waste of life.

Both arguments make sense and are difficult to refute. However, personally I believe that an individual’s requirement from his job is part of a larger equation relating to happiness and purpose, and one Sigmund Freud alluded to when he stated that the two things man needs to be happy are love and work. Life is made up of a few key fields – work, family, interests – and when we lack love and purpose in one area, we seek it in another (similarly, if we find it in one area, we are less likely to be concerned about locating it elsewhere). Thus a lack of job satisfaction is tolerable to a person who has love or purpose in family, whereas a mind without such strong home ties will place more emphasis on gaining happiness via employment. A person lacking love or purpose in any field – as experienced by the character in Thomas Mann’s ‘The Joker’ – is likely to slide into depression.

In conclusion, my opinion is that the questions as to why we work and what we seek from it are very much linked to how we are coping in a wider sense. A job is only one piece being fitted into a larger puzzle, and how much stress we place on it as a tool or a source of happiness is dependent on the success we are achieving elsewhere. This is why the supposed perfect life is not only the perfect job but success across the board.