Friday 11 March 2016

Are you unhappy at work?

Apparently a third of workers in the UK are unhappy at work according to Monster UK, and reported on HRGrapevine - with only 12% of workers loving their job. The sample size wasn't huge 2844 - but is supported by other surveys.
How would you answer the question about your level of satisfaction/happiness with the work you do?

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
As your coach I'd be asking "Is that true" for every one of these excuses, and I'd also be asking if the cost of the benefits outlined above are greater than the cost to your own happiness, and ultimately your well-being and long term survival? 

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
We may have to agree to disagree on these points. We can however agree on the need for you to assess: 
  • 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.

Some inspiration from nature via my Landscaping your Life blog includes:

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

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 +44 (0)7770 538159
Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach and Landscaping Your Life too

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