I recently noticed a question on LinkedIn, regarding things interfering with job satisfaction, and thought this was an interesting topic to look at. Just a couple of days previous, I had seen popular questions about what people would change in their work environment, career or goals if they could, and how they would look back at the recent past in a few years.
When it comes to things interfering with job satisfaction, there seems to be a focus on the current state of world economy and on personal job security, having the right work/life balance and compensation, but I would believe people are afraid to answer such questions with great detail in a public forum (although one person answered that “dealing with mindlessly penny-pinching clients” was the one thing interfering from his job satisfaction). None of the answers showed a person who loves their job – although quite a few seemed negative due to unemployment instead of fighting the situation and making it a good time to evaluate their lives – maybe it’s time to try something different, such as a ‘workcation‘.
In the other discussions about looking back ‘from the future’ on career and goals, people asked for less negativity/more positivity from co-workers, getting rid of the HR department, getting “nicer management”, being taller etc while a few considered that every stage in life is relative, and that it is part of human nature to never be completely satisfied. Looking at more answers, some critisized themselves for their need to be or appear succesful, being less stressed and other situations or traits relating to what we are trying to walk away from with this blog. Looking back at the discussions, it is clear that the answers depend much on how a question is given, considering the negativity in one thread (looking at interference of satisfaction) while seeing many positive responses in other threads (discussing how you would look back at your past a number of years from now).
One career-related story I enjoy hearing is the Mexican fisher parable (as seen in ‘4-Hour Work Week‘ by Tim Ferris, and other places) – about a fisherman who talks to an American with a Harvard MBA, who tries to convince him that creating an fishing ‘empire’ would be a good thing, even though it would only lead him to the situation he is in already. Think about where you want to go, and realise what you already have. Don’t forget that difficulty is part of life, rising to challenges is part of the human spirit, and that if you want to feel at ease with yourself and your life, you need to start looking more at what is right than at what is wrong in your life.
If an evaluation of your current situation tells you something is wrong in your work life, such as being at the wrong company, having the wrong colleagues or being on the wrong career path, try to start with small changes – ignore the unimportant to stay focused on the positive, exercise to produce endorphins leading to a more positive mindset, challenge yourself and give yourself great awards and put up some extra positive reminders in your place of work of how amazing life can be – I have a photo of my niece smiling, a laughing Buddha statue and a set of photos of places I want to visit and things I want to do and achieve. If you feel you have tried enough to make changes in your current situation, consider which part of it you don’t like about it. Look at if it’s the current colleagues, the physical work environment, the management or something else putting you down. Finding on what puts you down lets you focus your efforts, and decide between possibilities, such as:
- Career shifting; Usually, creating a completely new career is demanding work, but can also be very rewarding. However, often people who consider a change of career are unhappy with parts of their situation which don’t relate directly to the actual work they do, but instead has to do with people, work environment, location or other things which could be changed without an actual career shift. Have a look at the 10-step Workthing+ guide to career shifting or Careershifters if you consider this type of change
- Change of department or location; In large corporation, there is often a possibility of changing to another department or moving to a new city or even a new country. Consider if you are actually unhappy with your current location or department, and could be energized by a change of scenery.
- Remote work; Not all people are comfortable with the idea of working from home (or from the coffee shop around the corner), or believe they have the possibility to move their work outside the office, but with more connectivity comes more possibility, and working away from the office becomes easier every day. If you work on a computer, there is excellent collaboration software available (ranging from free to the cost of small diamonds) which is becoming more common even when working in the same office. Ask the manager for working from home one day per week as a trial, do your best on the remote work days, and then ask for more days when you can show proof that working from home is your most productive time. I recommend reading ‘4-Hour Work Week‘ for more tips on remote work.
- Start your own business; Something you can do while still employed is to start your own business – everyone has at least one great idea, and should take the opportunity to show the world what it is. This doesn’t mean you should rush into anything, but instead take the time you can spare to research the possibilities, start networking and create a prototype – or perhaps create a website. There are many tools available for entrepreneurs, and there’s no reason to hold back. If you want ot know how to get started, write in the comments and we could write about it soon (other requests are of course also welcome)
Do you have any ideas and experiences to share for someone stuck in a job but afraid to quit in these difficult economic times? Have you made positive changes in your work environment to give you new motivation and a different view of the situation? In a later post, we will have a look at what you can do to improve your current work situation, giving tips on things you can do to change your physical work environment for the better. We will also have a look at the possibility and benefits or drawback of working remote instead of in the office.