Do you complain about your job, feel irritable with coworkers, and/or dread going into work? It’s not unusual to get down about your job once in awhile, but chronic, every-day dissatisfaction demands a closer look. Maybe it’s time to find out what is going on!
My 4 tips for helping you be happier in your work are below—and they can help anyone.
But first, it’s helpful to take time to figure out exactly what is going on. One of the most common symptoms of a quarter life crisis is job dissatisfaction. For example, it is common for people in their 20s and 30s to begin wondering if they are in the right job, even though it is one that they used to enjoy. It is also common to start having irrational doubts about your competency. Regardless of the reasons, there are things you can do to help.
Before you start planning your exit strategy, explore these 4 ways to help you be happier in your work.
1. Tune into what you LIKE about the work you do.
Remember what it was that you liked about this job and why you took it in the first place. Has something changed? If so, figure out whether it is in your control to make your role more similar to what you initially envisioned (even if it is just your attitude). If not, or if you never really liked this job, it’s probably time to move on. Life is too short to spend your working hours miserable.
2. Advocate for yourself to get the appreciation you need.
Let’s admit it – we all need to feel appreciated. Unfortunately, managers often forget to verbalize their appreciation, which can lead you to doubt whether you’re valued and if your work is good enough. In addition to a lack of verbal feedback, like a simple “thank you,” there are other things that cause employees to feel unappreciated.
- Some of the most commonly reported reasons that people feel unappreciated at at work are:
- Being underpaid
- Not getting a raise in a while
- Not getting a promotion
- Not being recognized for work on a project
- Being denied a request for time off
- Supervisors not making time for employee reviews
If any of this resonates with you, think about what you can do to remedy it. What needs to change? Is it time to ask for a raise? Would it be helpful to speak with your boss about your concerns? Are there changes you can make in your work that would get you a promotion? I cannot tell you exactly what to do because everyone’s circumstances are different. What I can tell you is to not be passive and don’t accept the status quo. Start small, seeking feedback in a way that bolsters your self-confidence and also highlights an accomplishment. Doing so may open a regular dialogue by showing that you are interested in feedback and are proactive about contributing to the mission of the organization.
3. Know your path.
Your path is your career journey that leads to the fulfilment of your vision. Sounds corny, right? But it’s so incredibly important. You have to know where you want to go, your current job has to be on the path leading there, AND you have to be figuratively moving. In other words, are you growing and is there potential for future growth?
When starting a new job, people usually feel like they’re growing because they’re adapting to a new job description, new work culture, new systems and procedures, and new personalities. After you settle into a job, the growth slows down or may completely stop. If you’re not aware that this is happening, it’s easy to become stagnant. This stagnation leads to boredom and burn out.
If you conclude that you are in a job on YOUR path and that there is opportunity for growth, identify ways in which you can be more challenged and stimulated. Perhaps, there are new skills you’d like to develop. Maybe there’s a new project or team you’d like to join or even lead. Be proactive.
4. Create work-life balance.
People think that “work-life balance” means working less. It doesn’t. Yes, there are those that work too much and simply do not make enough time for family, friends, and other pursuits. Those people don’t need me to tell them to work less—they know. There is something that can help everyone else who feels unfulfilled in their personal and work life: self-care.
Caring for yourself and your relationships outside of work can reduce job burnout.
How do you spend the time you are not at work, and is it fulfilling? If you are not taking care of yourself and your relationships, you can spend 90% of your time at the office, or only 20%, and still be equally dissatisfied with both work and life outside of work. On the flip side, if you take care of yourself and your relationships, you can work a lot and still be happy and satisfied, because the time you are spending outside of work is enriching and rejuvenating.
While it’s common, and necessary sometimes, to focus much of your attention on work when starting a new job, this can lead to burnout over time. It’s not a good long-term strategy if it’s interfering with your ability to take care of yourself (i.e., get enough sleep, exercise, eat well, socialize, and relax) and your relationships. A lot of people struggle with figuring out what enriches them, but it is so very important to do if one is to be happy at work and outside of work.
Mayo Clinic, Job Burnout. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/burnout/art-20046642
About the Quarterlife Center (QLC):
Our QLC Counselors specialize in working with individuals and couples in their 20s and 30s in a supportive, caring, confidential setting. We will work with you to help you identify your passions, achieve your goals and thrive in your life.
We offer the following services to clients:
If you’d like more information or you’re interested in scheduling an appointment, please contact us at 1-844-QLC-TALK (1-844-752-8255) or email us here.