Recently, I was approached and asked how it was possible for me to enjoy doing a job that I did not get paid for; this individual was referring to the mentoring of children that I do for different schools and religious organizations. I replied by saying that “I enjoyed playing an active role in shaping the future of a new Nigeria”. These children are the literal leaders of tomorrow; and it is what they are taught today that influences how they think and act tomorrow.
Although teaching shares no connection to my current postgraduate program or my part-time role as a solicitor, I quite enjoy doing it. I get excited every time I arrive at my church and the children scream out with pure joy, simply because I am there. However, not everyone is this enthusiastic about their job.
In 2013, Gallup polled 230,000 full time and part time workers in 142 countries. The study revealed that only 13% of workers ‘felt fully engaged’ in their jobs, 24% reported that they were ‘actively disengaged’- meaning they hated their jobs, while a vast majority - 63% reported ‘feeling unengaged’- meaning they were unmotivated by their jobs and simply floated through each workday, waiting to get paid.
Adding the last two categories (people who were less than fully engaged at work) shows a staggering 87% of workers worldwide who do not derive any form of satisfaction from doing their jobs . But why does this occur? There are different reasons for job dissatisfaction among people today, some of these reasons include but are not limited to:
1. Lack of enthusiasm.
2. Lack of career direction.
3. Poor relationship with colleagues.
For the purpose of this article, I will be focusing on these three common reasons and highlighting how you can overcome them to find job satisfaction in your workplace:
Lack of enthusiasm
Enthusiasm about your job is fundamental to finding any form of satisfaction. If you want to be enthusiastic in the workplace, you will have to make some effort to find something at work to be positive about, no matter how small it may be. While working in a slaughterhouse, David Williams began saving for his education and his new life as a married man. David used this savings goal as a constant source of motivation for showing up every day in the slaughterhouse; and this made him actually enjoy his time there, because he knew it was a stepping stone to something greater in the future. Having an underlying bigger picture to hold on to will help you remain enthusiastic about your work life despite the drudgery of your day-to-day activities.
At this juncture, I would like you to answer some important questions:
- What is the underlying big picture you have at your job?
- What is the one thing about your current job that you can become enthusiastic or even remotely positive about?
If you can answer these questions, then you can begin to be enthusiastic about your current work life.
Lack of career direction
The issue of career direction refers to the situation where you do not know where a particular job is leading you. If you have this issue, I would advise that you put yourself out there and attend peer review meetings, conferences and seminars to help you polish your career focus and gain insight into alternative career paths that you could take.
For instance, you could look up people at the top of the field you work in or are interested in, then through social media and other methods you could retrace the individual's steps to get an idea of how they go to where they are. You could also attend seminars/conferences where they speak to hear their thoughts and even reach out to the individual to get career advice and/or get them to mentor you.
I would also advise that you have brainstorming sessions with your colleagues about career trajectory and the potential for growth at your current job; hearing the views and career goals of others may help to instill a new sense of purpose about your work life and provide a bit more clarity into where you think the future of your career lies.
Poor relationship with colleagues
Your relationship at the workplace has a significant impact on your level of job satisfaction. A good workplace relationship aids team cohesiveness, helps coworkers support each other and also reduces stress . If you currently have a poor professional relationship with your colleagues and want this to change, here are steps you can take to repair it:
1. Recognize your own culpability
It is easy to demonize your colleague for certain things that they have done, but it is very likely that you are contributing to the problem as well. To even begin to repair the poor professional relationship, you have to understand your role in the situation.
2. Make the change collaborative
If you decide on your own that you’re going to improve your relationship with your colleagues, you are likely to be disappointed quickly and feel like you’re wasting your time when they fail to respond to your positive gestures or (yet again) display any irritating behaviour. To really get results, you and your colleague will have to make this change as collaborative as possible. This way you will both be able to brainstorm ways to make your work lives better.
3. Change the relationship dynamic
Even with the best of intentions, it is very possible for you and your colleagues to fall out again and disintegrate into old patterns. To avoid this, you will need to change the relationship dynamic by actually writing down what is usually said by each party, so that you can identify patterns of how you both relate to each other and correct these patterns before the relationship disintegrates again.
Job satisfaction is dependent on a variety of factors; the ones highlighted in this article are just a few common ones that are within our control. It is important, therefore, that we take proactive steps to achieve a sense of purpose in the work place as this will enable us gain from the experience and create a sense of satisfaction, no matter how bad things may seem.
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 S Adams, Unhappy Employees Outnumber Happy Ones by two to one Worldwide available at www.forbes.com accessed 8th July 2017.
 D Williams, Lost your Passion for Work? It’s your fault(and how to get out rut) available at www.forbes.com accessed 8th July 2017.
 D Ingram ‘Importance of Forming Workplace Relationship’ available at www.bussiness.com accessed 8th July 2017.