If this graph describes you, we need to talk! Unfortunately, only 45% of employees feel satisfied with their job, and a recent Gallup poll showed 79% as not engaged or actively disengaged.
So what do you do if where you are is getting farther apart from where you want to be? While drinking is certainly on option, it’s often not a long-term winning strategy. Here are 10 ways to start bridging the gap:
1. Write down the things you like and dislike about your job. From the list of things you don’t like, are there any that can be resolved or things that can be done differently to limit them? From the list of things you like, are there ways to spend more time doing those or take on more responsibility involving those things? Even if you don’t get paid to go above and beyond, you would be surprised at the value of volunteering for activities in areas that you enjoy.
2. What educational benefits does your company offer? It’s never too late to do something new. My mom became a flight attendant for SW Airlines when she was 51 years old. Way to go mom! Are you interested in furthering your education or exploring additional career fields?
3. Focus on the things that you have control over. Is there anything you can change about yourself or the situation that could make things better? Trying to change others is about as effective as me trying to dunk a basketball…not gonna happen!
4. Focus on life outside of the office. Are you enjoying relationships, hobbies, and interests outside of work? Be careful not to tie your identity to your job. While it is certainly preferable to love what you do, it shouldn’t define you.
5. Set goals, both personally and professionally. Remember, if you’re not deliberate, you’ll end up where you’re headed. Identify some goals you would like to achieve in different areas of your life, and write them down. Identify specific actionable steps you can take each day to bring you closer to accomplishing your goals.
6. Try a different approach. Make an effort to challenge yourself to find new ways of doing the same things. While some tasks require specific steps, others can be done differently as long as they achieve the same outcome. Get creative!
7. Eat lunch outside of the office at least once a week. Don’t underestimate the importance of taking a break and getting a much needed change of scenery. Try new places, eat with different friends or colleagues, and get away once in a while. It helps to keep a fresh perspective.
8. Build relationships. Research shows that having a close friend at work can significantly increase job satisfaction. Just be careful of who you hang out with. Negative people who gossip and complain tend to attract other people who do the same. Try to be around positive people. Attitudes are contagious.
9. Modify your expectations. Let’s say you have a supervisor that makes you crazy. Most people expect their boss to demonstrate amazing leadership skills, however, most supervisors or managers are promoted because they did a good job in a certain role, not necessarily because of their ability to inspire and lead. If someone continually fails to meet your expectations, make an effort to either better communicate your expectations or modify them.
10. Realize that everyone is doing the best they can. Our son Evan is not doing very well and we have to face some uncomfortable realities. Even though I “know” how to communicate and act, I’ve been under considerable stress and have fallen short in a whole lot of areas. We never know what others are experiencing. Try to cut people a little slack. You never know when you might need the same.
And if you do nothing else, keep your sense of humor! Drew Carey once said, “Oh, you hate your job? Why didn’t you say so! There is a support group for that. It’s called everybody, and they meet at the bar!”