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10 Tips to Help You Love the Job You Have Now

10 Tips to Help You Love the Job You Have Now

Do you feel like you’re caught between a rock and an ergonomically incorrect office chair?

When it comes to your job, do you ever feel like happiness and success can’t coexist? I get it. I’ve been there. If you can’t seem to find joy in the workplace, it’s easy to blame the job, the people, or the culture. Maybe your job isn’t right for you. Maybe it is. Wouldn’t you love to figure that out once and for all before you jump ship?

No matter what your career, there are 10 ways to find more joy in your 9 to 5.

 1. Figure out your why

What brought you to this job in the first place? When you enjoyed it, what were you doing differently? This trip down memory lane creates awareness. It allows you to see what works and what doesn’t work. Equally important, it allows you to see the difference between where you are and where you’d like to be.

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2. Get a good reason to stay

Motivation can sometimes feel like a roller coaster, but your ability to push through the discomfort of staying is only as strong as your reasons to do it.  Set a goal and decide what you actually want to get out of this job (beyond the paycheck):

  • Do you want to learn more about your field?
  • Do you want to learn how to manage a team?
  • Do you want to learn how to resist the office candy jar?

Whatever your goals are, find compelling reasons why they matter to you. There’s a big difference between “I want to climb the corporate ladder” and “I want to be able to implement my ideas from a position of authority.” Make your reasons dramatic and sexy. If they don’t move you, nothing will.

3. Clean up your side of the street

Your job doesn’t define you, but how you do it does. Do you really want to be the person who does a half-assed job? Or do you want to be the type of person who does their job with concern and care? Sure, you can’t control how others act and whether your positive behavior will get you noticed. But your experience at your job isn’t about recognition, it’s about how you feel about what you bring to the table. That doesn’t just apply to your assignments, but to how you interact with your coworkers. Before meetings, set an intention to be your best self. Decide ahead of time to curb your reactivity, keeping your desired goal and outcome in mind.

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4. Find fulfillment

When you are engaged and challenged, you feel fulfilled. Quit waiting for something interesting to happen. Make it happen yourself. What can you do to be more proactive? Can you ask for an interesting assignment? Can you negotiate some changes in your job description? Your productivity hinges on your happiness. Go ahead, ask for what you want instead of taking what you can get.

5. Get some crap out of the way

If you’re anything like me, it’s hard to enjoy what you’re doing when you’re stressing over the piles of paper and unread emails waiting to be read. Set aside 15 minutes each day for housekeeping and organization. Breaking daunting projects into smaller tasks will help you move things from the “to do” list to the “did do” list, creating space and energy to tackle the projects you actually want to do.

6. Incorporate what you love into what you do

What are the things you’d be happy to do and never get paid for? What are the things that excite you? If you enjoy being the go-to person for advice, it doesn’t mean you have to quit your job and become a therapist, it means you should include that talent in your day-to-day. And remember, your talent might not be what you do, but how you do it. A good friend of mine has the ability to break things down into logical pieces and build them back up again in a new way. His strange way of looking at things makes him successful in his career. And if you think being competitive will increase your chances of success or happiness, think again. You’re more likely to find fulfillment if you use your talents to support others alongside you.

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7. Work with people you love

While you may not be able to change your coworkers, you can seek out people you enjoy working with. Tackle projects with those you connect with. Are there clients, companies, or donors you enjoy collaborating with? Get creative and think outside the box.

8. Get a little selfish

Set some boundaries. Whether it’s asking people to knock before they enter or not checking your work email at home. Boundaries create sanity. Often, the thing that will allow you to love the job you have is leaving your job at the office.

9. Make self-care a priority

At work: take breaks, avoid eating at your desk, and leave at a reasonable time. At home: get sleep, eat well, do things you love. While these may seem obvious, they impact our health, happiness, and productivity.

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10. Acknowledge your accomplishments

Did a great job? Fantastic! At the end of the day, come up with one thing you did well. Self-validation is the key to self-fulfillment. Ultimately, if you decide to love your job, you’ll love it. If you decide to hate it, you’ll hate it. It comes down to choice. Which will you choose?

Featured photo credit: http://www.lifehack.com via lifehack.com

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Published on November 12, 2020

5 Signs You Work in a Toxic Environment (And What To Do)

5 Signs You Work in a Toxic Environment (And What To Do)

What’s the most draining, miserable job you’ve ever had? Maybe you had a supervisor with unrealistic demands about your work output and schedule. Or perhaps, you worked under a bullying boss who frequently lost his temper with you and your colleagues, creating a toxic work environment.

Chances are, though, your terrible job experience was more all-encompassing than a negative experience with just one person. That’s because, in general, toxicity at work breeds an entire culture. Research shows abusive behavior by leaders can and often quickly spread through an entire organization.[1]

Unfortunately, working in a toxic environment doesn’t just make it miserable to show up to the office (or a Zoom meeting). This type of culture can have lasting negative effects, taking a toll on mental and physical health and even affecting workers’ personal lives and relationships.[2]

While it’s often all-encompassing, toxic culture isn’t always as blatant or clear-cut as abuse. Some of the evidence is more subtle—but it still warrants concern and action.

Have a feeling that your workplace is a toxic environment? Here are 5 surefire signs to look for.

1. People Often Say (or Imply) “That’s Not My Job”

When I first launched my company, I had a very small team. And back then, we all wore a lot of hats, simply because we had to. My colleagues and I worked tirelessly together to build, troubleshoot, and market our product, and nobody complained (at least most of the time).

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Because we were all in it together, with the same shared vision in mind, cooperation mattered so much more than job titles. Unfortunately, it’s not always that way.

In some workplaces, people adhere to their job descriptions to a fault:

  • Need help with an accounting problem? Sorry, that’s not my job.
  • Oh, you spilled your coffee in the break room? Too bad, I’m working.
  • Can’t figure out the new software? Ask IT.

While everyone has their own skillset—and time is often at a premium—cooperation is important in any workplace. An “it’s not my job” attitude is a sign of a toxic environment because it’s inherently selfish. It implies “I only care about me and what I have to get done” and that people aren’t concerned about the collective good or overall vision.[3] That type of perspective is not only bound to drain individual relationships; it also drains overall morale and productivity.

2. There’s a Lack of Diversity

Diversity is a vital part of a healthy work environment. We need the opinions and ideas of people who don’t see the world like us to move ahead. So, when leaders don’t prioritize diversity—or worse, they actively avoid it—I’m always suspicious about their character and values.

Limiting your workforce to one type of person is bound to prevent organizations from growing healthily. But even if your work environment is diverse in general, the management might prevent diverse individuals from rising to leadership positions, which only misses the point of having a diverse work environment in the first place.

Look around you. Who’s in leadership at your company? Who gets promotions and rewards most often? If the same type of people gets ahead while other individuals consistently get left behind, you might be working in a toxic environment.

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However it manifests in your workplace, keep in mind that a lack of diversity is a tell-tale sign that “bias is rampant and the wrong things are valued.”[4]

3. Feedback Isn’t Allowed

Just as individual growth hinges on being open to criticism, an organization’s well-being depends on workers’ ability to air their concerns and ideas. If management actively stifles feedback from employees, you’re probably working in a toxic environment.

But that definitely doesn’t mean nobody will air their feelings. One of the telltale signs of toxic leadership is when employees vent on the sidelines, out of management’s earshot. When I worked in a toxic environment, coworkers would often complain about higher-ups and company policies during work in private chats or after work hours.

It’s normal to get frustrated at work. That’s just a part of having a job. What isn’t normal is when dissent isn’t a part of or discouraged in the workplace. A workplace culture that suppresses constructive feedback will not be successful in the long run. It’s a sign that leadership isn’t open to new ideas, and that they’re more concerned about their own well-being than the health of the organization as a whole.

4. Quantifiable Measures Take Priority

Sales numbers, timelines, bottom lines—these metrics are, of course, important signs of how things are going in any business. But great leaders know that true success isn’t always measurable or quantifiable. More meaningful factors like workplace satisfaction, teamwork, and personal growth all contribute to and sustain these metrics.

Numbers don’t always tell the whole story, and they shouldn’t be the only concern. Measure-taking should always take a backseat to meaning-making—working together to contribute to a vision that improves people’s lives. If your workplace zones in on quantifiable measures of success, it’s probably not prioritizing what truly matters. And it’s probably also instilling a fear of failure among employees, which paralyzes employees instead of motivating them.

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5. The Policies and Rules Are Inconsistent

Every organization has its own set of unique policies and procedures. But often, unhealthy workplaces have inconsistent, unspoken “rules” that apply differently to different people. When one person gets in trouble for the same type of behavior that promotes another person, workers will feel like management plays favorites—which isn’t just unethical but also a quick way to drain morale and fuel tension in the office.[5] It only shows how incompetent the leadership is and indicates a toxic workplace.

For example, maybe there’s no “set” rule about work hours, but your manager expects certain people or departments to show up at 8 am while other individuals tend to roll in at 9 or 10 am with no real consequences. If that’s the case, then it’s likely that your organization’s leadership is more concerned with controlling people and exerting power rather than the overall good of their employees.

How to Deal With a Toxic Work Environment

The first thing to know if you’re stuck in a toxic work environment is that you’re not stuck. While it’s ultimately the company’s responsibility to make positive changes that prevent harmful actions to employees, you also have an opportunity to speak up about your concerns—or, if necessary, depart the role altogether.

If you suspect that you’re working in a toxic environment, think about how you can advocate for yourself. Start by raising your grievances about the culture in an appropriate setting, like a scheduled, one-on-one meeting with your supervisor.

Can’t imagine sitting down with your supervisor to air those problems on your own? Form some solidarity with like-minded colleagues. Approaching management might feel less overwhelming when you have a “team” who shares your views.

It doesn’t have to be an overtly confrontational discussion. Do your best to frame your concerns in a positive way by sharing with your supervisor that you want to be more productive at work, but certain problems sometimes get in the way.

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Final Thoughts

If your supervisor truly cares about the well-being of the organization, they will take your concerns seriously and actively take part in changing the toxic work environment into something more conducive to productivity.

If not, then it might be time to consider the cost of the job on your well-being and personal life. Is it worth staying just for your resume’s sake? Or could you consider a “bridge” job that allows you to exhale for a bit, even if it doesn’t “move you ahead” the way you planned?

It might not be the ideal situation, but your mental health and well-being are too important to ignore. And when you have the opportunity to refuel, you’ll be a far more valuable asset at whatever amazing job you land next.

More Tips on Dealing With a Toxic Work Environment

Featured photo credit: Campaign Creators via unsplash.com

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