If you are like most people you spend a large amount of time engaged in your work. But do you enjoy what you do? According to the 2014 Job Satisfaction Survey conducted by the non-profit research firm the Conference Board, less than 50% of American workers are satisfied at their jobs. But why are people dissatisfied?
Are workplaces so horrible? Is it possible that there are just so many bad bosses out there that people are pushed into misery? Must work be a drudgery that we suffer through for 40 years (or more) then reach the paradise of retirement? I don't think so.
If being an entrepreneur isn't the right fit for you, is satisfaction possible in a job? Although you may need to change your job to be more fulfilled, I believe that for many of us we can have a better job without going anywhere. Let me show you how changing the way you work can change your life.
Live the Vision
Some time ago I worked in a public school district. I managed the school's computer network. My days were filled with complex technical issues and problems that were far removed from the students. But when I stepped back I could see the vision of the organization. We, as a connected group of faculty and staff, were training the next generation to make the world a better place. My part may not have been in front of a classroom directly engaging young minds, but their education was materially affected by what I did every day.
If you want more satisfaction in your work then discover the vision of your organization or team and live it! See your part in the big picture and work knowing that what you do is part of a greater whole. Everyone wants to have significance. So be significant by making your workplace better through your contribution.
Strive for Excellence
Sometimes I have been guilty of doing sub-par work. You know what I mean. Putting in just enough effort to get the job done in a satisfactory way. Not really trying, simply killing time. Do you know how I feel after I finish a task in that manner? Lousy. Drained, tired and a little depressed.
Other times I push myself. I put my whole heart into a task and go all in! I work harder and expend a LOT more energy. Do you know what I feel like after that? Excited! Ready to do more and full of life!! When I strive for excellence I come away fully engaged and completely satisfied. Striving for excellence can make the most mundane of tasks something you can be proud of having completed.
Help Your Colleagues
In every job and entrepreneurial venture I have had there has been a common theme. In some way I was involved in helping others. I'm not telling you this just to say I'm special. I'm telling you this because of a simple truth.
Helping others is like helping yourself. - Henry Flagler
When I take the time to help a coworker, whether or not that directly affects me, I'm making a positive deposit toward their success. When you lift someone up you are also lifted up by the power of generosity. Giving of yourself will make you happier and more satisfied in any situation.
Encourage Positive Change
Here is a guiding principle in every area of life, including your work. Do what you can to make things better. I love to look at a job, department, or organization and think, "How can this be improved?" It's not just an exercise in positive thinking. Often ideas have come during these times that resulted in increased income for the company.
Ask yourself questions such as:
- Where can we reach other markets?
- What are opportunities for new revenue streams?
- How can I help remove waste and improve efficiency?
- What can I do to improve the bottom line?
When you take personal responsibility for making your company more successful your engagement will increase greatly, along with your job satisfaction.
You may not have the most glamorous job in the world, but if you have a job then consider it a blessing. Many may be envious of you. Do what you can to become an engaged part of the vision, put forth your best effort, help others and make your organization a better place. Follow these strategies and you may just find your job is actually a very satisfying endeavor.