Do you find yourself dreading the start of the workweek? Or wishing the workday away? Are you no longer enthusiastic about your job?
You might feel unable to simply change jobs. Consider ways to improve your job satisfaction by changing how you think about your work.
If you've gone sour on your job, think about what motivates and inspires you — and how you approach your work. For example:
- It's a job. If you approach work as a job, you focus primarily on the financial rewards. The nature of the work might hold little interest for you. If a job with more pay comes your way, you'll likely move on.
- It's a career. If you approach work as a career, you're likely interested in advancement. Your current job might be a steppingstone to your ultimate goal. What's important is to be regarded as a success in your field.
- It's a calling. If you approach your job as a calling, you focus on the work itself. You're less interested in financial gain or career advancement, preferring instead to find a sense of fulfillment from the work itself.
One approach isn't necessarily better, and you might find elements of all three perspectives important. Still, if you're unsatisfied with your job, it's helpful to reflect on why you work.
Think about what drew you to your current job and whether it might be a factor in your lack of satisfaction. Understanding what motivates you in your work can help you reframe your expectations and make choices to increase your satisfaction.
Regardless of why you work, there are strategies that might help breathe new life into your job. For example:
- Understand your work's significance. Think about how whatever you do helps other people or contributes to society. Perceiving the value of your work can increase your job satisfaction.
- Help others at work. Making extra efforts to help clients or co-workers can make your work feel more meaningful and increase your job satisfaction. Think about taking on a new project for a client, or mentoring a colleague.
- Change tasks. If possible, try to focus on the parts of your job that you find most meaningful. Ask your supervisor if you can have additional training or take on new tasks. If your company is launching a new project, volunteer for the team.
- Collaborate with valued colleagues. Spending time with toxic co-workers can lower your job satisfaction. Spending time with positive colleagues, to the extent you're able, can re-energize you.
- Practice self-care. Behavior that promotes your physical health — such as exercise, good nutrition and stress management — can help you feel positive at work and increase your job satisfaction.
- Be grateful. Gratitude can help you focus on what's positive about your job. Ask yourself, "What am I grateful for at work today?" If it's only that you're having lunch with a friendly colleague, that's OK.
- Look for silver linings. Looking for benefit in a negative situation can help you get through it. If possible, focus on the temporary nature of a stressful period at work. Focus on the potential payoffs, such as higher pay or more opportunities.
- Nurture your passion. If your job satisfaction has waned, but seeking a new job isn't a realistic option, you might consider your current job as a welcome paycheck that allows you to focus your energy on interests outside of work. Sometimes work is simply a means to enjoy those things you're truly passionate about.
Whether your work is a job, a career or a calling, you can take steps to restore its meaning. Make the best of difficult work situations by maintaining a positive attitude.
Be creative as you think of ways to change your circumstances — or how you view your circumstances. Doing so can help you manage your stress and experience the rewards of your profession.