When you’re going through a rough patch at work, it can be tempting to doubt your entire career. One bad day leads to another, and before you know it, you’re regretting leaving med school for the marketing job that you’ve enjoyed for years. Before you start to panic, ask yourself these three questions to assess job satisfaction.
How long have you felt this way? Was it all of a sudden, or did it creep up on you, like vague indigestion? Could it be boredom? Many people don’t realize they’ve avoided challenges in their job, playing it safe as a career boosting strategy, and in so doing, condemning themselves to the same old thing year after year. It may be time to take a risk, to raise your hand for new duties or take on a new project. If taking a risk sounds too, well, risky, maybe some training or an industry conference could boost your morale.
Does this remind you of another time in your life? The anniversary effect is an unsettling mood that comes upon you, sometimes surprising you with its intensity, when you are approaching the anniversary of a troubling event in your life. Many of my clients actually come for help as these anniversaries approach. The death of a relative, the day they were fired from a job, a divorce, or even a tough season like winter can trigger strong emotions that bleed into our work life, affecting our performance and work relationships. I usually advise against big career decisions as these anniversaries are approaching. Self care is more important. Exercise, sleep, meditation, perhaps.
Speaking of sleep…Are you sleeping? We can only do so much if we aren’t sleeping well. How many hours are you getting a night? Do you take the need for sleep seriously? Have you ever found yourself awake late at night after looking at your smart phone screen too long? Research has shown a link between job satisfaction and sleep. Companies are taking the need for sleep seriously, too, and even starting to provide sleep coaches and other programs. It might be worth checking to see what kind of support your company offers.
So many things can affect our feelings about our work. It’s worth looking at the problem from different angles to feel better when Monday rolls around again.