If you started 2015 dreading a return to work, you are not alone. The 2014 Jobvite Study reported that 51% of US employees were actively seeking or open to the possibility of a new job. Breaking news…that’s over half of us! Half of us are not really happy with the place where we spend 70% of our waking hours on any given day. So are we just a nation of disgruntled workers who think “the grass is greener on the other side,” or should we individually take responsibility for not developing a higher level of satisfaction with the job we have.
Let’s be honest. We start a new job with a surge of excitement and enthusiasm. We engage, collaborate, encourage, and envision. We identify problems, suggest solutions, seek new opportunities, and generally “think outside the box.”
But…after a period of time…many of us pull the throttle back a notch. Our focus turns to “what needs to be done” rather than “what could be done better.” We settle. Settle for a little less pressure at work and a little less job satisfaction as a result. The surge of excitement and enthusiasm is replaced by a steady trickle of plodding through the day.
It is about this time that we start eyeing new opportunities…convincing ourselves that if we worked for the company across the way that addictive feeling of enthusiasm and excitement would still be there.
So how can we make the job we have into the one we want?
1. Re-engage with your co-workers. Remember how it felt when you were new. It felt like people were always discussing ideas and plans with you. You were conscious of your co-workers names and remembered that Linda had a daughter playing Little League on the weekend and that Phil was headed off to Seattle because his father was ill. Talk to your co-workers…and not just about work.
2. Respect the end of the day. Are you one of those workers with a laundry list of projects and finding it hard to head home or do you spend your evenings worried about what is facing you the next day? This can easily lead to a resentment of your workplace. Reprioritize, talk to your boss, and find a way to respect your life outside work as much as your time in the office.
3. Seek feedback. When you were new in the job you were very conscious of how you were performing. You sought feedback from your customers, your peers, your boss, and the cleaning lady who only popped her head in on Fridays. You felt energized and empowered when they said that what you were doing was noticed. Ask again.
4. Find opportunities for professional development. Just because you are in the same job doesn’t mean that you can’t learn. Research the courses, training, and conferences available in your industry or line of work. Present the case to your boss and you might be pleasantly surprised when your employer sees the value in developing the skills of one of their employees.
5. Ask for a raise. You need to justify it but perhaps you feel like your hard work has gone unnoticed for the last 2 years. Most employers aren’t readily handing out raises in the present economy. They may be discreetly avoiding the issue unless you bring it up. Make a list of your accomplishments, ask for a meeting with your boss, show him or her what you have achieved, and ask for commensurate recognition.
Taking a step back to re-evaluate the way you are approaching your current job may be all that you need to realize that it is not the job that is the issue. Love the job you have!