Working at something you’re passionate about or making a lot of money alone won’t necessarily make you happy at work either. It turns out, being on a career path with opportunities to move forward is almost as coveted as getting a raise.

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Working at something you’re passionate about doesn’t automatically lead to job satisfaction. A large paycheck alone won’t necessarily make you happy at work either. It turns out, being on a career path with opportunities to move forward is almost as coveted as getting a raise.

The majority of professionals of all ages, responding to a 2019 CNBC/survey Monkey* online poll, said that more training or learning opportunities would most improve their job satisfaction after a higher salary. Having more paid time off came in second, and a more flexible schedule was third.

The survey noted that dissatisfied workers are more likely to cite a lack of career advancement than not feeling well compensated. “Four in 10 workers give their companies a negative rating on how well they help their employees advance their careers,” said Jon Cohen, SurveyMonkey Chief Research Officer.

If you’re unhappy at work, explore your options. Many companies have in-house training and/or pay for outside professional development. Some provide tuition reimbursement for college or university courses. With many top colleges and universities offering degree programs online, you may earn a degree on your company’s dime.

Schedule a time to meet with your boss. Talk about projects you’ve been working on and express your interest in career advancement. Ask about upcoming projects, particularly stretch assignments that will allow you to build your skills. Find out what he or she considers areas for improvement and welcome suggestions on how to better yourself.

Make an appointment with human resources to discuss professional development. Find out if your company has a formal mentoring program. If not, take steps to find a mentor or, better yet, a sponsor who will advocate for you on your own. Networking will play a part in this.

Most people think of networking as finding people to help them find a job. If you’re serious about career advancement, you need to make sure people know you and what you’ve accomplished. As with any relationship, it’s essential to nurture the relationship. Never begin by asking for help.

It’s unquestionably more straightforward if your employer has formal career paths or career ladders. Or if your boss or HR can help you build one. But, as with most things in life, you need to take responsibility for your career.

*The CNBC/SurveyMonkey online poll was conducted among a national sample of 8,664 professionals across industries. The data was weighted for age, race, sex, employment status, and geography. For more details, click here.

This post originally appeared on the career intelligence Resume Writing and Career Services blog.— Published on February 8, 2021

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