Job satisfaction and employee engagement have always been hot button issues. While there are some indicators that engagement is on the rise, research confirms that the level of job satisfaction has been hovering around 50 percent for nearly two decades. Depending how you look at it, nearly half of America hates their job -- or half the population is satisfied with their occupation. Either way, there is always going to be a large portion of people who are dissatisfied with their work, and eager to change positions.
Employees seek meaningful work, leaders they can learn from and trust, and fair compensation. As an employee these factors are, to some extent, out of your control. Your attitude however, is always under your influence. Ask yourself if it serves you to focus on the doom and gloom of your situation. Empower yourself by looking for the possibilities, and advantages of having the job. When you are content, you are more productive, creative and willing to support your work environment than if you are disgruntled. Even if you do choose to leave your current position, if you make the most of where you are today it will serve you well in all aspects of life.
Personal perspective can be a powerful, transformational tool when you dread going to work each day. Your prevailing beliefs or "mental models" are what comes into play in this type of situation. To put it in simple terms, your mental models are what influence your thoughts, and ultimately your actions. It is only by examining your mental models that you can fully understand their impact, and become conscious of how your belief systems affect your behavior. Once you do this, it is easier to change limiting beliefs that are holding you back.
Here are a few tips to help shift negative mental models and limiting beliefs involving your job:
1. Identify the positives.
The first thing to do is to make a list of the benefits of your current situation. Think of it as a gratitude list for your job. Does it provide reliable pay and benefits? Do you have friends at work that you would have otherwise never met? Have you learned anything from this position -- no matter how (seemingly) minor -- or any new skill you have acquired that may serve you in the future? This will function as a positive reminder to you when you begin to dwell in negativity.
2. Look for new opportunities.
What are one or two things that you could do that would make your current position more satisfying or rewarding? Look for opportunities within your current position to expand knowledge, gain valuable experience, and network whenever possible. Make the best of the situation by seeking out people who may be able to provide mentorship, advice or training. Experience stays with you forever so perhaps there is a task force or a special project that would help you gain valuable experience and allow you to work with people you would normally not get exposure to. This may also instill more motivation and lead you to further opportunities.
3. Find meaning in what you do.
Embrace your ability to be of service. Think of ways that your job positively impacts others, in and outside of the work environment. Ask better questions and try to come to understand where your boss and co-workers are coming from -- even if their behavior challenges you. If they are "pushing your buttons" there is definitely something to learn from them. A service-oriented attitude will help rewire your mindset to identify a higher purpose and more positive aspects of the job. Don't give up too easily. Everything has meaning and purpose, if you adopt the right attitude.
4. Be mindful.
Be aware of your thoughts and question them often. I have a friend who talked incessantly about how much he hated the company he worked for, on a daily basis. Sure enough, they fired him. If you think you are silently -- and covertly -- resenting your job it won't take long before co-workers, customers, and inevitably your boss, are going to pick up on it. The expression, "be careful what you wish for" is a fitting reminder that you might want to overhaul your mindset. If you catch yourself dreading going to work, one way to reduce stress and negativity is to make time for mindfulness. Take "breathing breaks," by employing long, deep breaths to calm your nervous system throughout the day. It may assist you in rediscovering your center, and will lay the groundwork for a healthier perspective.
5. Connect with colleagues.
People want to be valued, listened to, appreciated, respected, and connected. These are universal needs that are a part of every facet of life. Take the time to get to know the people around you. You just may be pleasantly surprised that you are inspired by their actions and insights.