There are multiple reasons for unhappiness at work, and I'm going to concentrate on the reasons we can take personal responsibility for.
That is, today, in this moment in time, there's lots of things we can't do - alone anyway- and these include:
- We can't change a toxic leader - however much we might like to - we can only change our reaction to them.
- We can't stop someone playing their games at work - however much we might like to - we can only change our reaction to them.
- We can't stop a bully bullying - however much we might like to - we can only change our reaction to them.
- We can't change organisational culture over night - however much we might like to - we can only change our reaction to it.
- We can't change the nature of the work we're doing - however much we might like to - we can only change our reaction to doing it.
There are however in that moment many things we can do, and that includes changing our reaction to what's happening, and taking the necessary actions to reduce whatever it is that is making us unhappy in the work we do.
Let's start with the obvious question, the response to which may seem a little harsh.
How long have you been unhappy?
And if the answer is longer than 12 months.
Why are you still there?
Don't get me wrong I've been there, and certainly got the T-shirt, and stayed somewhere longer than I should ie longer than was good for me, and the organisation. Which means I can list many of the excuses for not leaving:
- I've put my heart and soul into this organisation for x years
- I'm not leaving because of x
- They need to fire z and then it will be ok again
- It will get better
- It will get better when x or y happens
- Another job won't pay me as well, or have as good terms
- It's the only place to work around here, in easy commute etc
- I'll lose my pension, holidays, flexible working etc
- I like my colleagues, and don't want to leave them
- Someone has to stand up to the bas£$£ds
- I won't go without a fight
I can hear the responses now:
- But that's what working for an organisation is all about Alison
- I won't find anywhere different
- It's the price you have to pay
- How you would like your working life to be like,
- What it's like now
- What needs to change to get from one to the other
- What actions you can take to make the changes
- What you can't change
Which then determines whether you take the necessary actions to stay or leave.
Pointing your finger at others, and saying they're responsible for your happiness or unhappiness is the reason you're unhappy. There's lots you can do, and as these actions are as unique as you are, I'll just list some suggestions, and include links to other posts I've written that would help you explore that action more fully.
- Get clearer about your values, what motivates you, and why you do what you do, and how a value might have got too big for its boots
- Clearly outline your ideal job
- Address recurring patterns that seem to repeatedly occur in your working life (the "that always happens to me" sort)
- Dealing with anger when your buttons are being pressed
- Develop your own prescription for positivity/happiness
- Don't spend time with miserable mackerels
- Releasing your 'adrenaline junkie' like tendencies
- Remember there's 3 versions of any story - yours, theirs and the truth! So it can be helpful to stand in the shoes of the other person and see the situation from their perspective.
- Ensuring you're in the right state of mind and body for the task in hand
- Starting the day as you mean to go on
- Switching off your auto pilot
- Not accepting that sub-optimal performance is the norm from yourself
Some inspiration from nature via my Landscaping your Life blog includes:
- Getting out of a rut
- Seeing the wood for the trees
- Taking your head out of the sand
- Finding your paddle when you're up a creek without one
- Persevering - after aurora hunting
- Changing your comfort zone to a comfort universe
- Letting the sunshine in - a case study of someone not feeling very positive about work
- Visiting the north pole of inaccessibility - when undertaking difficult tasks
Although there's many other tools I share on the Landscaping Your Life site what would help support any of the actions in the first list.
Other more general posts from this blog that might help include
- Have you reached a Choice Point in your life - based on the book of the same name
- NLP changed my life - and certainly got me taking responsibility for my life, and my reaction to other people and what was happening to me
- Don't die with the music still in you
- Why do I have to change - because often this is the reason we keep doing what we've always done, and not unsurprisingly get the same outcome
- Break out of the mould
- Appreciate others
- Getting back on track - yesterday blog shares a tool I often use with clients in this situation
If you'd like to take responsibility for the work you're doing, and your level of satisfaction about it, and need some support, you may want to consider getting a coach to help you.
There's lots of coaches who offer support in a variety of ways. The key is finding one who best fits the outcome you want, where you are now, and your personality. I'd be happy to be considered - do get in touch to find out more firstname.lastname@example.org +44 (0)7770 538159
The Purchasing Coach and Landscaping Your Life too