I can get job satisfaction
How happy are you at work?
Rate your overall contentment on a scale of 0-10, zero being “nothing feels good about it right now” and ten being “I absolutely wouldn’t change a thing”
Obviously all jobs have their ups and downs but working in a job, being in a role or working for an organisation which is consistently out of alignment with your values can create a feeling of discord, unhappiness, restlessness or de-motivation.*
When you find yourself dreading going to work or when work is negatively impacting your mood, relationships, motivation and energy on a regular basis, it might be time to re-assess your life values so you can make a change in the right direction.
Satisfaction, happiness and contentment can be linked directly to creating and living a life which aligns with your values and priorities, and these may change evolve at each life stage.
Values are the things you hold important in life. Our values make us unique. They are what make one person a great firefighter and another more suited to being a teacher, a lawyer, electrician, writer, a botanist or an Olympic athlete… Some people are influenced and motivated by a sense of contribution and meaning. Others require security, creativity, autonomy or power. Other values include honesty, integrity, safety, order, belonging, respect and reward, and the list goes on…
Without necessarily being conscious of it we are drawn to roles and situations which match our life values.
There is hardly ever one perfect job for life. The reality is that things change over time. We change, organisations change, the economy changes, our lives change, relationships change, circumstances change, our needs change, our motivational drivers change, our values change.
And that’ OK. The challenge is in recognising it’s time for a change and making an informed decision on what to do next for the best.
Here’s are some examples:
Without realising it, Karen values order, trust and respect and is also motivated by security and autonomy. She trained hard to become an accountant, enjoys her job and has worked for the last 5 years in a small yet established firm with prospects of becoming a partner. Unexpectedly, the owner is taken sick and the company is enveloped by a large accountancy firm. Karen inherits a Managing Director who doesn’t seems to acknowledge her opinions and ideas like her old boss did and wants to micromanage her work. As you can imagine, Karen feels unhappy, powerless and frustrated.
Integrity, authenticity and ambition have always been important to Emma who has worked her way up through the ranks to become Head of Marketing for a major fashion retailer. Since having her first baby and taking time off for maternity leave, Emma is now feeling demotivated and distracted back at work. Her priorities have changed. She is less interested in buying high fashion for herself as a significant portion of her and her partner’s income is now spent on childcare and baby needs. As well, she is struggling to find the energy and motivation she used to have to attend all the after-hours events that are expected in the role. Emma feels conflicted because she wants to give the same commitment to the job but doesn’t have the same passion for the brand that she used to. She feels guilty missing her baby’s bedtime when she has to work late. She doesn’t want to lose her marketing skills and enjoys the creativity and the social interaction she gets through her role.
As a life coach, one of the first things I would suggest to both Karen and Emma is that they evaluate their current life values. An easy way to do this is to take a list of commonly held values and to cross the unimportant and not so important ones off the list until you get to your top 10 values. Some of your values will remain static over the years and others will change, influenced by your age and life experiences.
If you rated your own contentment at work as 6/10 or less, then try checking your values against your current job situation.
Gaining clarity on your top ten values can help you to see where you are living out of alignment and can make it easier to see where to take positive action.
In Karen’s case, if she evaluates her values and can see then identify the lack of respect and loss of job security as the issues, it may motivate her to actively seek a new company with supportive management and offering the security she desires. Alternatively, she may decide to communicate to her boss what her values and needs are so that a solution may be reached. She may even decide to relax her need for security and set up her own business which will give her the autonomy she desires and potentially, better security in the long term.
An option for Emma may be to find a way to combine her fashion and marketing skills by moving away from high fashion adults clothing to a children’s clothing retailer. She may even consider planning and setting up her own online maternity and baby fashion store, which can be started from home. She might decide on a complete change of career direction, take a part-time role or go to full time parenting for a while. Understanding her current values will help her make a better decision on what is right for her and her family right now.
By taking time to learn about and understand yourself you can design the life that matches your unique personal attributes. In this case, aligning your work with your values can really help with overall happiness, success and contentment in a significant area of your life.
* If you are experiencing feelings of anxiety or symptoms of depression, please seek professional medical advice.