It's that time of year again! We can always expect two things on Thanksgiving: a hard-earned food coma and a moment to go through a list of the people and things in life that you're grateful for. Well, your job is no exception.
When you bring up your career around the Thanksgiving table, you can expect plenty of input - from your dear uncle's sage advice on retirement planning to the advice from an older sibling or parent. On the one hand, if you complain about your job to your unemployed brother, don't be surprised if you get a curt response: "At least you have a job!" Or if when you mention to your mom that you're bored at work, she may suggest that you leverage downtime as an opportunity to pursue the gig economy.
The key for you to survive and thrive this weekend involves listening to those supportive family members and most importantly, to yourself. Take time for reflection and introspection. By figuring out what you're grateful for at your job, you will gain clarity and vision on the role, and the next step in your career. Need help getting started? Try rating your gratitude for the following key elements of your current job. It will help you determine if things are working out, or if it's time to move on.
1. Your boss. Your boss is a significant part of your employment - their recognition for you, their support of you and their confidence in you. If you find yourself expressing thanks for your understanding, incredible boss, congrats! Relish it and appreciate it. If the opposite is true and your boss is toxic, then it's time to seriously start looking for a new job.
2. The environment. Do you work in an inclusive environment, where it's a joy to come to work, you respect the company's values and also the workspace? Is your commute not only doable but dare I say enjoyable - a time to listen to your favorite podcast, or if you live in a city, rock out to a brisk 30-minute walk each way? As you write your gratitude lists, rank them as to what's most important to you (this will serve you well if you start looking for a new job) but really, the different aspects of the environment should be at the top. Ultimately, do you like where you work?
3. Flexibility. Do you have flexibility to work from home? Are you easily able to make doctor's appointments and take care of your personal life without feeling chained to your desk? Do you have autonomy? If you answered "yes," be grateful - some of your friends and colleagues at other companies may not be able to say the same.
4. Work-life balance. Do you have a life? If no, why not? As our work lives blend into personal and vice versa, it's imperative to appreciate a balance, not necessarily every day but at least overall. When I was a former recruiter, countless candidates told me they needed a new job because they were burned out and life was passing them by. If you don't have this right now, it should absolutely be high on your gratitude list - the one you use when seeking it a new employer.
5. Salary and benefits. For many, this is at the top the list - it's the number one work motivator across all generations, according to a recent survey from Monster. Was your annual salary increase enough to make you feel grateful (if you got one at all)? Thankful for that annual bonus? If the answers to these questions are no, then it's time for you to explore external options. Salary isn't just salary - it's tied to how you view your own worth and the message the company sends about how much they value you.
6. The work itself. Are you challenged, excited to present new ideas, learn new skills and rock out to your job? Or are you stifled, oppressed, or, let's say it together now: Bored. When your workload becomes lackluster, overwhelming/unbearable, boring or insert negative adjective here, you're not doing yourself any favors by staying put. Here's the thing: Work should be adrenaline pumping! You can't expect a whirlwind every single day, but it should at least make you pop out of bed in the morning rather than want to pull the covers over your head. When you're grateful for work, a lot of other things like a great boss, solid pay, benefits and flexibility fall into place. And when you have nothing to be thankful for besides a steady paycheck, remind yourself to never settle. You deserve more.
7. Colleagues. When you're fortunate enough to be surrounded by smart, creative, inquisitive awesome people, it shows! You like to go to the office, enjoy the company and probably produce better work than you would otherwise. On the other hand, if your colleagues backstab and undercut you, that's clearly a toxic workplace. So, if you're able to be grateful for colleagues who are your awesome work family, that's a pretty big win. And if not, it's time to re-evaluate your current situation.
8. Time off. Lastly, be grateful for time off from work over the long holiday weekend, unless you work in retail or a related field where work is required. Unplug. Take a few steps back like you do on vacation. Appreciate life and return to this list from a macro level, tweaking it and knowing you don't have to wait until Thanksgiving rolls around to evaluate what you're grateful for and, often more importantly, reasons why you should look for a new job that gives you more reasons to be thankful.