It’s a universal truth that no job is perfect. There are always activities and situations we may not like about our jobs. But as some of us have learned, the grass isn’t always greener somewhere else. Oftentimes, it makes sense to consciously work at increasing your satisfaction and happiness in your current job rather than jumping to a new one.
A few things to consider:
What are your Top 5 strengths and are you utilizing them at high percentage? We are all happier when we are doing things we enjoy. So it only makes sense that we enjoy doing things we’re good at – things that come naturally to us. If you don’t know your top 5 strengths, spend a few minutes taking the strengthsfinder assessment at: www.gallupstrengthsfinder.com
Once you know your top five strengths, ask yourself how often you are using these strengths in your work. If you don’t have a good feel, track it for a week. The more often you are called upon to use these skills/strengths, the likelier you are to feel good about your work
What energizes you about your job? There are activities that drain us and activities that energize us. To increase your satisfaction at work, you need to know what tasks or parts of your job energize you and then find ways to spend time doing those. It may be by delegating “draining tasks,” scheduling your day more carefully, coming in early or anything else that works for you. Regardless, you want to spend as much time on the energizing activities as you can. Remember, it’s not always the amount of work that exhausts us. In fact, if you’re working at something that energizes you and gets you excited, hours can pass before you even feel tired.
What drains you most about your job? We all have those activities that drain us just by thinking about them. Is there a way for you to offload the activities that drain you to others? Remember, everyone has different strengths, and the activities you find draining might actually appeal to others and play to their strengths. If you can’t offload, schedule a specific amount of time to do the draining tasks and get them out of the way. Or consider doing these activities at the end of the day so they don’t bring you down.
What can you stop doing to free up time for more important priorities? This may take some thought. Once a week you should ask yourself if you are doing activities that are either non-productive or have limited impact. Are there reports you can stop producing? Are there meetings that either could be stopped altogether, or cut back? For example, go from an hour to 30 minutes, or move a weekly meeting to every other week. Many times these slight adjustments will not negatively affect you and your team’s output, but can free you up to once again focus on the activities that are highest priority and hopefully using your strengths.
If you’ve gone through the exercise above, and have the epiphany that your current job doesn’t leverage your strengths, then perhaps it is time to look for a new job. If that’s the path you choose, you can now do so with the confidence that you have identified your strengths and what you like doing. This is great information to have as you begin a search for a more fulfilling job.