Our perspective shapes our world and our interaction with it.
You text your bestie: “Rly need a friend :("
It's been an hour and you haven't heard back.
If you run this through your positive thought filter you might think “She’s probably busy since it’s her day off. Hope she's having a great time!"
If you’re in a negative space you might start to spiral: “Why is she avoiding me? SERIOUSLY…she can’t be bothered to reply? How many times have I dropped EVERYTHING to help her at a moments notice? Who does she think she is? She’s NEVER there for me. I’m so sick of her...”
You shoot off a nasty, passive-aggressive text only to receive a reply a few hours later. “Sorry, battery died and no charger. U ok??? Want me 2 call?"
Now you feel like a jerk.
Perspective in the office can take many forms and each of these forms plays a vital role in the group dynamic as well as the company as a whole. If these perspectives are not properly managed it can be a miserable experience for you, your manager, your co-workers, and clients. In order to be happy in your job, most of these things need to be relatively aligned.
Personal Perspective: Are your salary, benefits, and/or any other perks enough to keep you happy when balanced against the stresses of your workday? Is your work challenging enough to be fun or is it so difficult that it's begun causing excessive stress?
- Management Perspective: Are you solving problems or causing problems (creating more work for them)?
- Group/Department Perspective: Do people think you are contributing to the team or are you seen as lazy/not carrying your own weight?
- Company Perspective: Are you an asset or a liability? You’re either generating revenue or you're costing them money (hours worked and productivity/revenue you generate weighed against intrinsic costs of salary, paid leave, and/or benefits)
Carefully balancing everything in order to be an ideal employee (who feels valued and appreciated), while being paid what you’re worth, having fulfilling work you enjoy, and having a life outside of the office are what most people consider “the total package”.
What do you do if your personal perspective is off (you hate your job) or your boss treats you like crap? Maybe your group acts like you aren’t pulling your weight; or perhaps it’s the opposite, and you’re seen as 'The Expert'. People are interrupting you constantly - distracting you with their questions. Perhaps you’re afraid you’ll be next in line for layoffs because you know they can hire some fresh-faced kid straight out of college at half your salary?
Instead of living in a constant state of stress…Why not just do something about it? Be an active participant in your work-life and try to turn the situation around. You don’t HAVE to live with the pain of doing something that you hate for 40+ hours a week.
Here are 3 tips for ways to handle situations where you’re just not happy with your job.
Be Honest With Yourself
Whether the situation you’re in is your fault or not, you have to accept that you had a role to play in it. By not realizing that you have to put in the effort to make changes you're basically just a kite being blown around by the winds of circumstance. Until you crash to the ground…hard. You're deep in this situation and NO ONE is going to be as impacted by it as you are. So, you need to be the one to fix it.
You hate your job.
Sit down and examine why you dislike your job and how that likely makes you a less than ideal employee as well as list out how it effects the various perspectives
- Personal Perspective: Your work bores you to tears. Every day is like groundhog day. There's no challenge or interest left. Almost every morning you’re grumpy and try to avoid talking to your co-workers whenever possible.
- Management Perspective: Whenever you have a few extra minutes they notice you're surfing the net. Some of your projects have been late or need a lot of last minute edits.
- Group/Departmental Perspective: Every time someone comes to you for help, or to request your assistance or participation, you seem to be pissed off.
- Company Perspective: You use up every single sick day and probably have at least one warning in your file that if you miss any more days this year you’re likely to be terminated.
Take Personal Accountability
Now it’s time to be personally accountable for how you let things degrade this far. You sent in your resume, interviewed, accepted the job and came to work. No one held a gun to your head and forced you into lifelong service/corporate slavery. This was your choice. You may not have had many options at the time or may have made the decision based purely on need, but the decision was made by you, and you alone. Take responsibility for the fact that you are in this situation because you put yourself there.
How are you responsible for the situation you're in?
Think about the actions that you took which are directly responsible for the negative/toxic environment and how they affect the various perspectives.
- Personal Perspective: You accepted the position and continue to work there.
- Management Perspective: You’ve never sat down with your boss/management and talked about what skills you would need to have in order to take on more interesting projects, how to get additional responsibility, or what lateral positions you might possibly be qualified for.
- Group/Departmental Perspective: You never take on extra work, stay late, or offer to help anyone. You do the bare minimum, talk only to your peers when absolutely necessary, and leave as soon as humanly possible.
- Company Perspective: You’re a liability - bottlenecking other projects, creating a toxic environment, sucking up resources
Take Control of Your Future
Finally, it’s time to take control of your circumstances and your future. Be an active participant in modifying your experiences for the better or considering how to best go about getting all of your ducks in a row to move on to a new position. Depending on your reasons for disliking your situation, it might be best to start over fresh at a new company because there’s too much bad blood or there just isn’t an opportunity for you to be happy there.
How can you take control of your future? (Stay)
Consider the ways you can improve upon your existing situation within the company
- Personal Perspective: Get a promotion, new responsibilities, or a new position within the company (lateral move). Get additional education (certificates, internal learning, college course, etc)
- Management Perspective: Retaining an employee who is productive, knowledgeable, and interested in growing within the company.
- Group/Departmental Perspective: Asking co-workers if they need assistance once you’ve completed projects. Volunteering to work late to assist on a project (garnering goodwill). Training co-workers on things you specialize in. Making contacts in other departments and doing “special favors” which don't cut into your workload. Participate in group outings or events.
- Company Perspective: Retaining an employee who provides value and becomes a great return on investment (through training, resources, etc).
How can you take control of your future? (Leave)
Consider the ways you can improve upon your existing situation by leaving the company
- Personal Perspective: Find a job at a competitor who aligns more with your values.
- Management Perspective: Allow them to find someone who is a better fit with the group and reinvent yourself at a new organization.
- Group/Departmental Perspective: Get away from the toxic environment, possibly make friends in the office, and enjoy interacting and engaging with your co-workers.
- Company Perspective: Obtaining a new employee who will eventually provide value.
If you aren't happy or satisfied with your current job you DO have the ability to change your situation. Evaluate the various perspectives and see if it's time to make shake things up at your current position or take action on making an appropriate change.
If you'd like to learn more about how to find a job that brings you joy and fulfillment why not schedule a no-risk, no-obligation Strategy Session. (Don't worry, first one's on the house.)
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