Fed up of feeling fed up with your career?
There are a multitude of polls and surveys that have been conducted which tell us about people’s levels of happiness and satisfaction in their jobs. Results are varied from study to study, country to country and industry to industry, but one thing is certain… there are quite a number of unsatisfied and unhappy workers out there.
A global poll conducted by Gallup of one billion full-time workers said that only 15% are engaged at work and a whopping 85% are unhappy in their jobs.
A study carried out by Mindspace revealed that around 24% of British workers are unhappy and do not feel valued in the workplace and are looking to make a change.
A 2020 report from Investors in People stated that half of all UK employees were considering a new job. Workers were looking for jobs which were higher paid, provided a better work-life balance and a job where they felt valued.
Do you feel like one of these statistics? Do you hear yourself thinking or saying all the time how much you’d love a new job and that you’re going to quit your current one, but without actually taking any action?
If you do, have you ever considered what it is that is really holding you back? What is stopping you from taking the plunge to find employment where you’re satisfied and fulfilled?
On the face of it, it seems quite simple and straightforward doesn’t it? If you’re not happy, satisfied and fulfilled at work, then why not move on? Why not find something that fills your cup and rocks your boat? Just what is it keeping some of us in this perpetual state of unfulfillment?
The reasons could be many…
Despite the fact you’re unhappy or unsatisfied at work, perhaps the comfort of knowing the ins and outs of your job, your colleagues and your place at work outweighs the fear of the unknown of making a change. After all, change can feel scary and something a lot of us would prefer to avoid. Perhaps it’s easier to choose comfort (albeit an uncomfortable comfort) over stepping into that stretch zone.
Or despite the fact you’re unhappy or unsatisfied at work, you may have responsibilities and duties you need to fulfil, we all have bills to pay and many have families to support. Do these responsibilities outweigh our need for personal satisfaction or purpose at work? Or perhaps even it stops us in our tracks from beginning to even explore other options, because we tell ourselves we’re stuck.
Or maybe we just have no idea what we even want instead? That said, do we give ourselves the time to explore potential options and possibilities… have you ever considered what your dream job description might look like and written it out; ideal salary, hours, working pattern, responsibilities and duties, ideal colleagues, travel and so on. It’s a good exercise if you feel a bit lost about where to even start, to put down a list of all the absolute non-negotiables with your work to help focus the search.
The scenarios of why we may stay put are endless, but ultimately, what underpins all of it is our personal values. Our values are formed over the course of our life and they’re the moral principles and standards that motivate our actions and our inactions.
Freedom, comfort, excitement, security, peace, contribution, convenience, loyalty, pride, joy, wealth, abundance, challenge, achievement, commitment, love, reliability, honesty… these are a few examples of values. Our values are those things which are most important to us, whether you recognise them or not, they influence our lives in both the most subtle and obvious of ways.
We all have two types of values:
- Our core operational values – these are the unconscious drivers, the ones that keep you doing what you’re doing in areas of your life even when you may feel unhappy.
- Our idealistic values – these are the ones around how you would like your life to be.
In a perfect situation our careers would fulfil both our core operational and our idealistic values, but oftentimes, they might just meet our core operational ones with no idealistic ones in sight, which is when dissatisfaction may peak.
It is helpful to do some work to identify what your values might be. Knowing what the most important things to you are, can help to act as a guide in making decisions and also help to identify what specifically about your current situation isn’t aligned with your values.
For example, if one of your main values is wealth but you’re not getting paid anywhere near what you’d like, this will create some incongruence for you. Similarly, if you value love or time spent with family and you’re having to work overtime every day, this is likely to create personal conflict for you.
If you’re not sure of what your values are, this may manifest in feelings of conflict or dissatisfaction without being able to put your finger on it. It may bring about that feeling of wanting to quit and feeling trapped or dissatisfied at work. Perhaps if we could put our finger on which value wasn’t being fulfilled, we might be able to make some smaller changes without leaving the job altogether, to bring about some increased alignment to our values.
If this resonates, the four tips below are for you:
1. Identify your core and idealistic values – there’s lots of resources online to support with this or you can ask your coach to complete a values elicitation with you
2. Identify where your job is not meeting your values and the areas in which it does align – dig deep into what you’re currently getting out of your job that’s keeping you there? If you have values such as financial security, loyalty or conformity, it may be fulfilling these?
3. If you can identify some areas where your values aren’t being met perhaps some small changes can be made to help - for example, maybe you have a value of achievement but feel you don’t get enough recognition at work, perhaps it’s a quick conversation with your manager.
4. If your job is meeting so few of your values and you don’t feel like it can improve - set a career goal for yourself that is taking both your core and idealistic values into account.
Doing the work to honour our values allows us to truly step into the driving seat, helping to identify and understand what action to take in order to fulfil and align to those missing values.
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