By Deborah Dietzler, Ed. D.
Those in the workforce today find themselves in a place unheard of generations ago, a time when the concept of loving your job was not an expectation. In those decades, people were happy to have a job and often stayed with one company for the duration of their careers.
Times have changed. As a society, we are more mobile than ever. Our access to technology enables us to work around the clock and in just about any location, from a home office to the coffee shop. Changing jobs has become the norm.
We are fortunate to have so many choices within our reach — these allow us the luxury of exploring other opportunities when we find ourselves in a job that is not fulfilling. If our work-life balance is negatively affected, if we don’t feel appreciated for our contributions, if we are passed over for that promotion we felt we had earned, we can find a multitude of new positions advertised within a few keystrokes on our laptops.
The reality is that you will spend more of your waking hours engaged in your job than in other activities, so it stands to reason that you would want to be involved in work that you find rewarding. Like any relationship in your life, the one you have with your job is one that requires investment on both sides.
As with many aspects of life, attitude is at the foundation of success. Approaching your work with a positive attitude will play a huge role in your job satisfaction. Start by assuming good intentions of those around you. Check in with yourself frequently to address any negativity that may be seeping in and make a concerted effort to examine how you might adjust your attitude. Many hiring supervisors are quick to share that they hire for attitude, because it is easy to train a motivated employee.
Control the things you can control and make every effort not to portray yourself as a victim if you find yourself in difficult circumstances. Explore ways to resolve conflicts before escalating them. Managers and directors view those employees who present solutions as being especially valuable. Always remember that constructive feedback is received far more positively than chronic complaining.
Take the time to clarify your supervisor’s expectations. You might be surprised to find that you have put unnecessary pressure on yourself, as many people demand more of themselves than anyone else ever would. These conversations can be an integral part of job satisfaction, as employee engagement is a popular theme at present. Demonstrate the desire to confirm that you are delivering what’s needed for success.
Once you have a clear sense of what you need to accomplish, prioritize your tasks so that you arrange your work each day to allow for maximum effectiveness and personal satisfaction. It feels great to walk out the door with the feeling that you’ve been productive. There are many online resources to help you if time management is an area where you could use a refresher.
Be sure to take breaks where appropriate. While it may seem like a great idea to work through lunch, the time away from your desk is valuable. Many jobs require long periods of sitting, which can compromise mental sharpness. Walk for a few minutes or do some stretches while seated at your desk. Set timers to remind you of the need to move so you can reap the benefits of resting your mind with a brief focus on physical activity.
Remember the importance of perspective. No relationship is free of challenges. There will be difficult days. Many counselors suggest that before getting angry with a partner, you stop to ask yourself whether this issue will be important in ten minutes, ten hours, ten days, ten weeks, ten months, or ten years. This advice can also prove beneficial in your relationship with your work.
Finally, there are times when despite your best efforts, a job change is in order, and Goodwill is here to help. Career Connector is an online resource that’s available 24 hours a day. You are also invited to visit your local Goodwill Career Center where career coaches are ready to help you find a job you’ll love. Click here to get started!