A previous client of mine named Tom had been working at the same sales job for the nearly a decade.
He ambitiously went for it out of college and gradually worked his way up the corporate ladder. But after years and years of the same thing, day after day, John started to feel less and less satisfied.
It wasn’t that he had a bad job; in fact it was a great job. He got compensated well and felt a sense of security. He was good at what he did and got accolades for his performance.
The issue was he was completely unfulfilled. The work didn’t fit who he was and what he ultimately wanted. He worked long hours doing something that he didn’t enjoy and was struggling to stay engaged in his work.
Does this sound familiar?
Despite job-satisfaction being on the rise since 2014, according to the Conference Board Job Satisfaction survey, still under a half of U.S. workers (49.6 percent) are satisfied with their jobs.
If you’re in the 50% that is dissatisfied with your work here are a few ideas to help you.
1. Create clear and challenging goals
If you aren’t engaged in your work it’s because you aren’t growing or learning. Being challenged, pushing ourselves, and gaining new skills are important to keep engaged in our career.
Create and work toward meaningful goals that are intrinsically rewarding and challenging, yet still attainable. This will enhance self-efficacy and can maximize work skills, both of which can improve your work engagement.
Monitor your progress along the way and marshal the needed supports and resources to help you achieve these goals.
2. Get aligned with work values
We’re all different when it comes to the job characteristics that are most important to us. If you aren’t engaged or satisfied with your work it may be because your work isn’t fulfilling certain work values.
Work values relate to the type of environment we work in, the people we work with and the level of autonomy and achievement we prefer.
If you want more independence explore how to create more work autonomy. If you want more recognition find ways to get in a position where you can influence others.
Do your best to develop strategies to attain valued work outcomes, or find outlets beyond your career to get these values fulfilled.
3. Prepare coping methods
When we don’t feel satisfied with our job it can be directly related to stress and burnout. Sometimes a little R&R is all we need to get reinvigorated with our work.
If your job is highly stressful identify ways to manage or modify distressing work conditions. Seek out support from a colleague or talk to your employer to access the right tools, training, and resources needed to do your job.
Make self-care a priority and nourish yourself mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Matthew Kelley calls this having a Rhythm of Life where we dedicate at least 15 minutes a day to nourish ourselves in these areas.
4. Incorporate signature strengths
We have certain personality traits, or signature strengths, that when incorporated into our work energizes us and fuels our motivation. Likewise, we have personality traits that are weaknesses and tend to drain our energy and vitality.
When we start to use our strengths more often in our work we’ll be more engaged and enthusiastic. Find ways to use the character traits that are naturally energizing for you.
For me this is a love of learning and curiosity. When I’m learning new things and have a variety of different experiences work is more rewarding and I’m more galvanized.
5. Nourish relationships
According to Officevibe, work relationships are a major factor in our job-satisfaction. The people we’re surrounded by at work either enhance our emotional well-being or detract from it.
If you don’t have someone on the job who you consider to be at least a work friend, it’s time to nourish some relationships. We all need someone to talk with, to confide in about our worries, and to share in our joy.
Whose one person you work with you’d like to get to know better?
Photo credit: Phil and Pam Gradwell