Dreading going to work today? We’re all entitled to a fulfilling career, so if you’re in a work-related funk, now’s the time to act. But before you make any big decisions, it’s important to establish whether what you’re experiencing is just a temporary slump in job satisfaction or a genuine, long term discontent for your current career path.
Lisa Phillips, the author of The Confidence Coach, knows there’s a distinction between the two and that’s crucial when deciding what to do next.
“Get honest with yourself and work out whether your job satisfaction is down to the organisation you are working with, or the job itself,” says Lisa who, having retrained as a confidence coach after five years as an accountant, knows a thing or two about changing careers.
“Many of us feel stuck in a work-related rut because we feel powerless to change something or are pushing down our desires for a career change because we may feel scared of change or taking a risk,” she explains.
Instead of plodding along and hoping for things to rectify themselves, Lisa urges those feeling dissatisfied in their work to take charge of the situation.
“I often ask my clients to start caring more about how they feel,” says Lisa. When we take note and value our feelings, Lisa adds, we’re less likely to put up with a career that doesn’t bring positive emotions.
“Don’t sit around waiting for other people to change. Do it yourself!” Here’s how:
Look at the three key areas that are causing you to feel frustrated and then ask yourself ‘What can I do to help make myself feel better about this?’ Take responsibility for what is not working in your job and do something about it, whether that’s speaking to your manager about trying out a new role, asking for support from colleagues or making adjustments in your own workflow that could increase your ability to take control of tasks.
Examine whether work is the real issue
Outside stresses could be effecting how you feel about your job. If you’re going through a tough time in your personal life, this could be impacting your performance at work and your overall feelings about being there. Don’t make any rash decisions that could add to your stress levels at this time. Instead, put your career on the back burner and focus on your overall wellbeing for now.
It’s also important to give yourself the opportunity to separate your home and work life so that any stresses of either don’t bleed into each other. Take breaks, forbid yourself from thinking about work when you’re not there and make time, even if it seems you don’t have any, for leisure activities.
Identify what you enjoy
Make a list of the daily tasks that you enjoy. The chances are that these tasks – such as meeting new people or travel – will be closely aligned with your values. Try to incorporate these more into your day to day workings.
“If you do discover that the majority of the tasks you do at work do not align with your values, then the job may never feel good to you and it may be difficult to ever achieve that real sense of job satisfaction,” says Lisa.
Do more of what you like
After identifying the parts of your job you enjoy, try to implement more of these tasks into your working day or in your calendar to look forward to. This might also be a good time to put yourself back into a ‘learning’ position so that your job isn’t just about getting through the day – it becomes more about taking on new and different challenges to rid yourself of the ‘Groundhog Day’ feeling that’s bound to occur when you’re not pushed to try something you’ve never done before. Get around the office and meet other people in different teams, volunteer to collaborate with a department you’ve never worked with before – you might find something new and fresh in the challenge of unknown territory.
If this isn’t an option however, this may be a signal it’s time to walk away.
Know when to walk
You’ve tried new things, you’ve explored every avenue, so now it’s time to seriously consider whether your path is the right one.
“Deep down, I think most of us know when it is time to admit defeat and move on,” says Lisa. “Listen to your emotions and also remind yourself that if something is consistently making you unhappy, then you owe it to yourself to do something about it.”