If you are a relatively junior employee at your company, though you carry out a very important role, you may not always be recognised. You might also face some of the following challenges:
Little fulfilment at work
Long working hours
Conflicting demands on your time and loyalty
Little balance between personal life and work commitments
Time management pressures
Strained relationships with the important people in your life
Tight personal finances
Lack of any say at work
Internal politics and a rigid company structure
Bullying within the workplace
Few promotional opportunities
You are therefore faced with a number of dilemmas in your workplace.
On the one hand you want to be involved in rewarding, enjoyable and fulfilling work, get recognition and promotion for your efforts, and be appreciated for the key role you play in the company.
On the other hand you want a balanced life with time for the things you really want to do with a full and interesting social life. Of course you want to have clarity about your career, job duties and you want to continue to be healthy, fit and stress free.
So what’s the best way forward?! How can you too achieve a zen like happiness at work?
One key to resolving these seemingly conflicting challenges is to get clear about just how much you love the work you do. Is what you do something you jump out of bed every morning, or would you rather be doing something else?
How motivated are you with your work? And how do you cope with the day to day routine office work?
A UK survey last year found that almost 2 out of 3 people are dissatisfied with their jobs. And I am sure there is a similar situation in the USA and other parts of the developed world. This means that they are either apathetic about finding what they really love doing or they are resigned to being in this situation.
No matter how good things are in other parts of your life such as family, social life and relationships, work is a major part of your life, and not to be neglected.
Since for now you have chosen to be in the job you are in, it is up to you for the time being to make the most of what you do. Of course in the long term, you can either change your job or even embark on a new career. But for now, you can get to love more of what you do right now.
Assuming that in the short term you are not able to change jobs, there are a number of things you can do to begin enjoying more of what you currently do. Ask yourself – is it the job or is it you? And what can you do to make your current work more enjoyable?
Stop acting the victim. YOU are responsible for your life and if you can’t immediately change the job you are in, then it is up to you to make the most of it.
Here are some simple tips for getting to enjoy your current job.
1. On the way to your workplace, get yourself motivated to face the day. Think of how the work you have allows you to have your life outside of it, such as a great social life. A positive attitude will make the day more pleasant and productive.
2. Keep your work in perspective. You can only do the best you can in each situation. Look beyond yourself and your work, and consider the bigger picture. Do some voluntary work to gain a broader outlook. Find a way to contribute to society in general.
3. Remember that you are more than your work. Do not have your identity too strongly tied to the job you do. Give up thinking that your work life “should” be a certain way. Such expectations of what you were supposed to be, as set by your parents and teachers, stop you from enjoying what you currently do.
4. Plan your time. In your to-do list include long term projects as well as the more imminent things that need doing. Prioritise your to-do list – do the most important things first. When performing any task, ask yourself – is this the best use of my time? Schedule in enough time for your studies etc.
5. Concentrate on the task at hand. Do not let yourself be distracted by worrying about all the other things to be done or losing energy over the undesirable situation you find yourself in. Stay in the moment.
Be ruthless and take care of a task before it gets on a possible procrastination list. For example, sort your morning post immediately in one go – open it, file it, act on it or bin it there and then.
6. Clarify anytime you are not sure or where you are faced with conflicting demands. The more clear and upfront you are with your manager and the other people you work with, the better it will be for you in the long term.
7. Delegate wherever appropriate. Decide if there is anything that can be delegated, or that more fairly belongs to someone else’s work load. Always remember the “3D” rule – do it, dump it or delegate it – never handle a piece of paper twice.
8. Have regular breaks. Get away from your normal workplace even if only for five minutes. Try taking a break from the laptop, emails and do leave the mobile behind. Make sure that you do have that lunch break – it is not just for food but also for fresh air and a mental break.
Eat a healthy lunch and if you must snack, make sure it is healthy too – an apple rather than a bag of chips. Look for ways of energising yourself other than from adrenaline and caffeine.
9. Learn to relax no matter how challenging the work gets or how demanding your bosses become. At the end of the day it is only a job, and you are much more than that. In years to come, you will look back and wonder what the fuss was.
10. Contribute towards creating a pleasant work environment. Do not gossip in the office as it just creates negativity all around. Do not listen to any gossip either. Minimise your time with people that you do not resonate with or like.
Learn to have more fun at work. Laugh more and chill out. Perform with a more fun orientated approach.
11. Review your day before you leave for home. Look at what worked well, and what could be improved the next day. If you feel satisfied with the day’s work, then why not reward yourself later that day. You deserve it.
12. Switch off once you leave work. You are already at work a third of your time, so do not continue to keep it buzzing in your head during your supposed free time. Mentally say good bye to your work space the moment you leave for home.
See your work as a game. Life is meant to be fun and if you are going to spend a third of it at work, you might as well enjoy the game.