Stuck in a job that you hate, trapped by the need to pay the bills and play it safe, dreading the day ahead, waking up with a dead weight in your stomach – they’re awful feelings that many people face on a daily basis.
A global survey conducted by Gallup in December 2019 found that out of the world’s one billion full-time workers, only 15% of people are “engaged” at work. So a massive 85% are not satisfied with their work. And given that we average 37 hours a month (ONS, December 2019) working, that’s a lot of hours to build up resentment and bitterness. So, how can we turn the tide to get genuine job satisfaction? Award-winning entrepreneur and director of Literally Public Relations Ltd, Helen Lewis pinpoints 5 steps to real job satisfaction.
The most obvious, but definitely not the easiest option, is to hit the ejector seat button. Run for the hills. Escape. Of course, that’s not always possible but even knowing you have options by dedicating time to building up your LinkedIn profile, checking out job opportunities online, considering what you like and don’t like about your job, and what skills/experiences could be transferable to a different role. Spending time really thinking about your current situation, rather than ploughing through each day, can be daunting, but if you do take the time out you may discover that there are options open to you. You’re not as trapped as you first thought. Even that knowledge in itself can be empowering and help you feel a bit better.
Chat with your colleagues/boss
If you work for someone and/or in a team, maybe it’s time to consider having a heart-to-heart about how you’re feeling. It could be that the work you’re doing is not challenging you, you’ve been on ‘rinse and repeat’ mode for too long, and you need to shift things around. If you don’t communicate how you feel no one will know. Obviously, you’ll need to gauge the situation – if your boss or your team mates are not particularly helpful, nice or receptive, then this option might not be for you. But consider if there is anyone who you could trust to open up to.
Invest in yourself
Make yourself feel better by taking some time away from the thing that’s causing you stress: work. Book a day or a week off work. Literally, remove yourself from it. And make sure you do lots of things during your time off to help you feel more like the old you again. Exercise, meet friends, treat yourself to a small present, sleep and recharge. When you’re burnt out or approaching burnout, it can feel like you can’t take any time out or the whole world will come to an end. But you’ll feel better for doing it when you return to work.
Make some lists and take some action
Start with a list of what you love about your job versus what you don’t like. Then make a list of the skills you have and the skills you’d like to learn. You can make a list of what you’d like to be doing work-wise in five years or ten years. Every day you could challenge yourself to do one thing during work that will help you feel better, that could be a work-related goal or it could be that you take a proper lunch break, go to the gym after work, or tackle that task you’ve been putting off for weeks.
If you feel lost, get yourself back on the map again
If you feel like you’re drowning in work, or maybe you don’t feel like you are being challenged enough, if you’re feeling lost in work then now is the time to regain that control. How? You need to take back to the power and remember that you and only you are responsible for how you respond to situations. Meditation is a fabulous way of getting back on track again. It provides clarity when you’re so busy you feel like your mind is going to explode. It can also provide glimmers of inspiration and light at the end of the tunnel.
Remind yourself what you’re working for…
Very few of us work for no reason. The primary reason, of course, is money. But there are often many other reasons for us doing the particular job we do. If you’ve forgotten what you’re doing this for you can create a vision board, or simply jot down on a piece of paper, your reasons for doing the job you do. It could be money, but beyond that, it’s so you can enjoy the home you live in, have enough money to buy that coffee on the way to work each day, see your children wear nice clothes, or have that weekend away with your friends. It could be more basic – food on the table, a roof over your head. Or it could be deeper than that – to make a difference, to reach more people with your message, to change the way something is done or perceived. Whatever your driving force, find the time to reconnect with your reasons for working.