I know psychologists describe human satisfaction in terms of autonomy, competence, and relatedness. I tell my student that my job is the greatest I could ever hope for. I research and teach Spanish literature and they pay me money to do it. It almost seems unbelievable.
I experience high levels of autonomy in my job. Nobody tells me what I have to write about, and I can design courses of my own that reflect my own interests. Aside from class time, office hours, and a few meetings, I can organize my time however I want. I am trying to think of a job with as much autonomy as mine and I cannot think of one.
Autonomy also brings competence, in the sense that I can be responsible for my own areas of competence, developing them with no interference from anyone else.
Relatedness, in contrast, is a sore point. I have a hard time "relating" to students sometimes (to use a favorite word of theirs). I don't collaborate on research with anyone. I like my colleagues very much but I don't spend a lot of time with them every day. Autonomy and relatedness are inversely correlated much of the time. I value autonomy very highly, but I am suffering a bit from the isolation of academic life, especially since my personal life is rather miserable too.