Asking The Right Questions On Your Path To Job Satisfaction
Work-related stress is one of the most common causes of burnout. It is estimated that approximately one-third of working adults deal with some effects of professional exhaustion and dissatisfaction. Often, these cause symptoms such as lethargy, cynicism, and depression.
So if you’re feeling tired and unsatisfied at work, or asking yourself why you are where you are, it may be the right time to take a step back and assess your situation. By asking key questions regularly, you can prevent work-related stress and its consequences.
What is my professional purpose and mission?
One of the leading causes of burnout is a discrepancy between one’s core personal values and the job at hand.
First and foremost, you need to determine the things that you find important in your professional life. These can consist of anything. Some people find that the most important thing they get out of work is monetary compensation. Others will want a job that leaves them enough time to spend at home, doing the things they love. Some people want to travel for work, and others want to do something meaningful that helps them shape their community.
Once you’ve pinpointed your core values, you can go on to consider whether your career is in line with this purpose you’ve set out for yourself. If what you want is different from what you can get at your place of work, it’s not a bad idea to consider a career change.
Are my responsibilities causing burnout?
Sometimes, the line between task-based stress and burnout is blurred. Simple stress is caused by common problems such as facing a tight deadline. However, if you are constantly in a state of anxiety, dreading going to work or facing your teammates, something bigger might be up.
The demands put on employees are often the cause of excess strain. This is especially true for managers and team leaders, who are responsible for meeting expectations in terms of revenue or productivity. Do you find yourself in charge of things beyond your control? Are you being asked to deal with issues in a way that’s contrary to your internal value system? Are you able to assertively say NO to things that are far beyond your job scope?
If this is the case for you, a conversation with your employer might be in line. To ensure a healthy work environment, it’s important that you present these issues with the goal of working them out.
It’s also very likely that at least a part of these expectations comes from within. Is your drive to be efficient or responsible over-engaged? Maybe you are an overachiever and are pushing yourself too hard? If you find that the cause for your burnout is internal, you need to have an honest talk with yourself.
How does my work environment affect me?
There’s one more thing you shouldn’t forget. The structure and culture of your workplace are also crucial factors that might be contributing to professional fatigue and dissatisfaction. Simple things such as your working hours will reflect the structure. For example, if you have no influence over your schedule, you will be more likely to feel burdened. It is also reflected in the hierarchy, reporting lines, job responsibility matrix, etc. If these aspects are not in line with your preferences or the way you function they could be the source of daily frustration.
But there’s something even more important and it concerns your co-workers. Structure and quality of communication create an organizational culture which is the daily life within the company. That is, the way things are done at your workplace. So, do you have an open and honest relationship? Do you receive enough support from your team? How is your communication? Are your employers concerned about your personal and professional wellbeing? These are things that you may need to work on, together with your coworkers. If you find that a healthy company culture is impossible to achieve at your place of work, it might be time to move on.
What should I do to improve my professional wellbeing?
Your first step should be to differentiate between internal and external factors causing tiredness and dissatisfaction.
The external factors will undoubtedly come more easily. After all, most people have very clear ideas about what they do not want in their lives. Even more, it’s not difficult to figure out what aspects of your job cause stress and burnout.
You will have to do a bit more work in order to determine internal factors leading to dissatisfaction. This process will not only require you to be patient and honest with yourself but also face difficult truths regarding where you currently are, and where you want to be.
Your path to a happier work experience will lead you to these questions:
What percent of my stress is caused by external factors, and what by internal ones?
How do I influence these factors?
What have I already done in order to become more satisfied at work?
Which are the things I’m grateful for at my job?
What do I need to do to have a more fulfilling work life?
If you’re finding it difficult to pinpoint the source of your work-related strain, stress, and dissatisfaction, you can go through this list of suggested actions.
- Talk to your management. You can suggest more efficient ways of communication, work together towards setting priorities, or work out existing communication issues that are pressing on you.
- Give meaning to your tasks. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget why we’re doing something. Before tackling an assignment, it’s a good idea to think about its meaning and value. This can give you the motivation you need.
- Find new ways to work. Routines are easy, but it’s fun and refreshing to kick things up. You can experiment with your ways of doing something, which will bring some novelty and excitement back into mundane tasks.
- Create your own projects. Surely, there’s something you’d really love to be working on. Even small projects such as reorganizing your work station may help you get excited about going to work on Monday mornings.
- Talk to your coworkers. Communication is key to satisfaction in any relationship, including professional ones. If there are unresolved issues within your team, an honest and open conversation may help you get back on track and put old grudges to bed.
- Ask for what you need. A raise, a promotion, or to work on a different project. Don’t be afraid to ask your boss. They may very well agree with you. Even if they’re not ready to give you what you want, you’ll know where you stand, and can plan your professional life accordingly.
- Ask for advice. Surely, you know a person who’s satisfied and happy with where they are at work. Ask them how they got there, and what they did to ensure their happiness. They may give you some great tips you can easily implement in your own growth.
And then what?
There is, of course, the possibility that all of these actions don’t give you the results you want, or that they don’t work as quickly as you’d want them to. In cases like these, it’s crucial that you re-evaluate. Is it possible that you’ve set a timeline that’s too short? Or is the problem more serious? If you come to realize you’re never going to be happy at your current position, it’s not a bad idea to start thinking about an exit strategy and a more serious change.
Of course, you may find that this road is difficult to venture on your own. If that turns out to be the case, you can enlist the help of a professional to deal with burnout. Career coaching is a facilitated process that helps you construct and achieve a more favorable career path by asking all the right questions. It focuses on finding the best solutions for you personally while keeping true to your core values. If this is something you’re interested in, you can schedule your first appointment with me by clicking HERE.
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