There are a few lucky people in the world who are doing exactly what they want for work and enjoying every single minute of it. These people feel that they could want nothing more from their work than what they already have. They are completely fulfilled and experience work as being in complete alignment with all other aspects of their life and indeed enriching all other aspects of their lives.
For most of us however we can only dream about a work environment like this. For the vast majority of us we fall somewhere in between hating every minute of every working day and feeling that things at work are pretty good but could definitely be better. We are not as happy as we want to be or as we feel we should be while at work.
Establish why you are dissatisfied:
There can be many reasons for being dissatisfied with our work life. We may be in a job that we don’t like or that we can’t do very well. We may be underemployed based on the talent or capability that we have or want to have. We may be working with individuals who we don’t like or that don’t seem to like us. But whatever the reason for our dissatisfaction there are always things that we can do to make our situation better.
It’s all about attitude:
There are two things in particular that we can do to change our satisfaction level with the work that we do and with the people we work with. First, we can make changes in how we interpret the experiences that we have at work. We can make changes in how we respond to what happens to us.
What does this mean? To begin with it’s important to recognise that happiness is a relative thing. Take for example two extremes. At one time or another in our lives we have all met someone working in what seems like a menial task and maybe even an extremely unpleasant task who literally bubbles with cheerfulness and joy of life. On the other hand at one time or another in our lives we have all met someone who is exactly the opposite. Even though they appear to have things pretty good, nothing is good enough. Nothing is done right. Everything is an insult to them. There appears to be no way to make this person happy no matter what happens.
So what is the difference between these two individuals? It’s all about attitude. Consider this proposition. The person who is happy with their work is someone who has chosen to be happy. On the other hand, the person who is miserable has also made a choice. Their choice is to be miserable. Our first lesson then is to accept the fact that we are mistaken when we adopt the attitude that our happiness depends on external circumstances. That is, we need to abandon the mistaken belief that we can only be happy if a set of circumstances that we have arbitrarily decided on are met. We have to give up on the idea that we need to make a certain amount of money to be happy. Or that we have to have a certain type of boss or have to have a particular type of career, etc. We have to stop placing the responsibility for our happiness on external conditions.
Choose a new perspective:
Let’s look at an example that we can all relate to. Everyone at one time or another in their career has had the obnoxious boss who piles work on us, never praises us and only criticises everything that we do. We can choose to be miserable or we can look at the situation from a different perspective. This is called ‘reframing’. Reframing means consciously choosing to interpret the situation from a different perspective. We might for instance try to think about how miserable this person must be in their personal life. Or we could look at the huge burden of work facing us and think that this is teaching us how to take more responsibility and get stronger. We could also think that it is helping us develop a sense of patience. Another way to look at this is to think that this is teaching us a valuable lesson about how we should treat people when one day we are in management. The important message is that we can choose how we respond to adversity. If we choose to reframe experiences in a positive light then we will have a far more favorable work experience. And be more productive.
Do something different!
The second thing that we can do is to diversify. This is done in two ways. We can diversify the things we do at work. This might mean volunteering to work on a new project or try learning a new skill. In this case it means that our value at work is spread out over multiple tasks so no single failure or harsh treatment will be such a blow to us. The second way to diversify is to do more in our lives. Too often we seem to work and only to work. In addition to being out of balance it places too much pressure on the work experience as the vehicle for personal gratification. We need to have other ways to get emotional reward s other than from the people we work with. It is also much easier to engage in reframing when the stakes aren’t quite so high. It’s easier to change our perspective on the events occurring at work when we know that there is much more going on in our lives that what happens during the work week.
So in conclusion, following these two pieces of advice can contribute enormously to improving your experience at work. They can also help you to be a happier employee and to do better work.
Author: Michael Davis is a career counsellor with more than 25 years of experience in private practice. He is internationally certified as a Master Career Development Professional (MCDP) and have been recognized as a Global Career Development Facilitator(GCDF). You can check out his site at ResumeSamples.net.