One of the things that I’m most grateful to my parents for is that the raised me to have a good attitude and mindset about the work field. They taught me not only the importance of employment but the importance of being a good employee and what exactly that looks like. My parents also taught me that as Christians, whatever we do, we do it for the Lord, even if that means taking out the trash or cleaning the bathrooms at work.
I’m unbelievably thankful that I am a millennial with a good work ethic and that I’ve been fortunate enough to work at some incredible places with some incredible people. I’m one of the lucky ones who found a job and company that I love and that makes going to work every day easy. But I’ve also had terrible job experiences that I’ve hated, and I know the reality of feeling stuck in those positions, dissatisfied, unfilled, and unappreciated. If that’s you right now, here are some tips to make lemonade and find some satisfaction and fulfillment right where you are.
Focus on what you ROCK at.
Even in my least pleasant jobs, there was always at least one task that I was awesome at, and even if I wasn’t recognized for it, I could have the satisfaction of doing a great job and the knowledge that in some small (or large) way, I was making myself invaluable to my team and company. If you can’t find one task that you get excited about or that you can be proud of, make one up and create a way to play up your strengths. I bet, in the process, you’ll discover some really cool things about yourself and maybe end up developing changes in your position that are a long time coming.
Reflect on Growth and Remember Your Motivation.
Similar to focusing in on your strengths, so much pride and satisfaction can be found in recognizing just how far you’ve come. Think back to your first couple of months in this position and remember the tasks you struggled with. I’d be willing to bet that your day-to-day challenges now are a lot more complicated than they were when you first started. Take some comfort in that. You’ve grown, you’ve faced challenges and come out better from them. And because of that, you know you can continue to face challenges in the workplace with your head held high.
In the same vein, think about your original motivation for taking this job. What were some reasons you accepted it? What did you find most appealing about the position/company/work itself? Sometimes time and negative situations can distract us from how we really feel so remembering how we got where are is a great way to find inspiration.
Hone In on Your Transferable Skills.
I talked about them in a previous post, but in case you missed it, transferable skills are the broader skills you develop in a specific position that can apply to any other position. For instance, a college student who is a summer camp counselor develops specific skills in child care. Child care in and of itself is not necessarily applicable to other jobs they might take, but camp counseling also develops leadership skills such as managing interpersonal conflict, working as part of a team, and problem solving. You can find transferable skills in any position so list out a few you might be developing at your current job, and focus on being excellent in those areas so that wherever you go from here, you will have made the most of this experience.
Be the Force of Change.
If your dissatisfaction and unfulfillment is a result of not feeling appreciated or respected within your company, that sucks and I’m so sorry. No one likes that feeling and because it’s dependent on others around you, there aren’t any practical steps to take to immediately fix it. However, I would challenge you to see this situation as an opportunity to be the force of change in your workplace. A lot of times, if you’re not feeling appreciated or respected at work, it has to do with the culture of your company and, chances are, you are not the only one feeling this way. That being said, company culture changes with the individuals within the company. If you want a more positive, more affirmative company culture, that starts with you. Positivity breeds positivity. By consistently showing honest respect, praise, and admiration to the colleagues around you, you’ll be laying the foundation for creating an environment of respect and support. While it’s easy to sit back and wallow in self pity for feeling unappreciated, the best thing you can do to change your situation is fight back with a positive attitude yourself and watch your environment change around you.
Hold Fast to Your Purpose.
When you are at a place of questioning why you’re in your position at work, remember that God put you there for a reason. When you don’t understand what the point is any more, or you’re frustrated and tired and burnt out, remember that, if you’re a believer, your job is not the thing you do all day from 9-5. Your job is to be an ambassador for Christ to the people around you. Your job is to show your co-workers His love and goodness and patience and peace. Spend some time praying about shifting your focus from the day-to-day practical tasks you face at work to the real reason God put you in that company, on that team, with those people, at this time. I promise, He will be faithful to redirect your thoughts and heart.