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7 Essential Keys To Finding Fulfillment At Work

7 Essential Keys To Finding Fulfillment At Work

Work. It’s what we spend the majority of our adult lives doing. We all want careers that are personally engaging and financially secure, and sometimes we need to make career changes to find that satisfaction.

I know that was the case with me. I had to leave a career that I found very unsatisfying (law) to find a new career (entrepreneurialism) that I wanted to dedicate my life to. Whether we are currently in a career that we love, or one we’d love to get out of, there are a number of strategies that if we create habits out of them, we will feel more fulfilled no matter where we are.

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So look at these “7 Essential Keys To Finding Fulfillment at Work” and see how you can apply them to your current situation. Even if you know that the job you are currently in is not the job for you long-term, I assure you that these strategies will make the process between now, and when you actually pursue your dream full-time, more fulfilling.

1. Define a personal mission and live it each day

What are your values? What defines you as a person? Write them down. Create a personal mission statement, something that defines how you are going to act independent of any external circumstances. Then apply it each day in your work, no matter what you are doing, or where you are. This will lead to inner-congruence and will make you feel like you live with integrity. This will make you more fulfilled in your work.

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2. Constantly set and re-set goals

Growth is where fulfillment exists, and there is no growth without goals. Set long-term, short-term and most importantly daily goals. Even if you aren’t working in your “dream career” you can still benefit from consistent goal setting behavior, and I promise, if you do it enough, you will find more fulfillment than you’ll feel without setting goals.

3. Make a specific goal to improve yourself, every single day

Improvement feels great, even if it is small improvement. Don’t set the standard for yourself what other people are doing. You are in a race with no one but yourself. Your personal satisfaction in a career is something that you alone must determine. Find ways to improve yourself. Things about your job description – there has to be things that you can improve that will benefit you down the road. Whether it be people skills, organization skills, management and leadership skills, improve each day and you will feel great about yourself.

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4. Be grateful – it could be a lot worse

This is the truth. If you are ever feeling sorry for yourself, take a moment and find someone else who is in a more dire situation than you (and there are many). A lack of gratitude in life is a sure way to get discouraged and depressed, but the reverse is also true. A person who feels an abundance of gratitude, no matter what his or her life looks like, will also feel an abundance of fulfillment.

5. Don’t be passive – take initiative

Your enjoyment in an activity is in direct correlation to the amount of emotional energy you invest in it. So dive in. Don’t sit on the sidelines. You won’t feel fulfillment that way. Find ways to be proactive. Volunteer for assignments. Again, even if your current job isn’t your ideal job, if you invest emotional energy in it, and be proactive, you’ll feel more fulfillment.

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6. Find ways to learn something new

Education is fulfilling. Learning new things feels great. Do an inventory of yourself. What is an area that you would like to improve, and how can your current job offer a setting for that type of improvement? You may need to put yourself out of your comfort zone a little for the growth to happen, but again, if you do it, you’ll feel more fulfilled.

7. Build positive relationships

It feels good to have positive people in your life. The more positive relationships you build in your current work setting the more fulfillment you’ll feel. Take time to listen to people; show genuine care and interest (the key here is being genuine, everyone can tell a faker). Show interest in people and they will show interest in you. Be a good person and you will build positive relationships.

More by this author

Ryan Clements

A lawyer turned marketing professional, entrepreneur and writer who writes about entrepreneurship, career and personal development.

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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