Take control of your job satisfaction - Hays careers advice

True job satisfaction is tricky to find and even trickier to maintain, yet it’s essential to our well-being in and out of the workplace. Think about it, most of us spend the majority of our time at work, so feeling fulfilled in what we do every day will hugely affect our quality of life, not to mention our day-to-day productivity, performance and career success.

So, stop and reflect for a second. How satisfied are you in your day-to-day role? Are you just going through the motions, feeling disconnected from what you do, and the reason you do it? If so, then you need to take matters into your own hands.

Whilst your boss should take some responsibility for providing you with a fulfilling work environment, and be there to support you when needed, the level of job satisfaction you feel is ultimately down to you, and you only. So how can you take ownership of this?

Why do you do what you do?

We know that employees are not just motivated by money. Feeling a sense of purpose for what they do in the context of the wider business goals, their industry and even society, plays a part in how engaged they are in their jobs.

Perhaps a sense of purpose is what you need in order to feel more fulfilled. Think about why you are important to the business. What were you hired to do, and what impact have you made since joining your team? Now think bigger. How do you personally fit in with and contribute to your company’s vision?

You have unique value and a reason to come to work each day. Rediscovering what this is can make you feel more purposeful and connected to your role, and can serve as your first step towards improving your job satisfaction.

Remember your career goals

What are your short term and long term career goals, and how does this job help you to meet them?

Think about the ways in which this job can enhance your career, from the skills you could add to your CV, to the useful connections you can make. Remembering how your current role can help you meet your career goals will give you yet another reason to turn up every day and give your best, knowing that every day is contributing to your next career move.

Teach yourself something new

Up-skilling is a sure-fire way to propel you towards achieving your career goals and to improve your job satisfaction. Ask yourself, what do you enjoy about this job? Is there scope for you to learn more in this area? There are plenty of ways to upskill yourself, whether this is something you do by yourself. i.e. through reading books, joining free webinars etc., or with the support of your manager, i.e.  enrolling on a course or finding a mentor.

In taking these steps, you will soon find that your new skills serve to re-ignite the initial passion you once had for your job.

Ask for new challenges

On that note, maybe your role has become repetitive and, dare I say it, easy. Look for opportunities to push yourself out of your comfort zone, and ask your manager to help with this, whether it’s taking on a new project or being given some extra responsibility. This will add more variety to your day-to-day role, boost your self-esteem, and hopefully, get you noticed by the right people.

However, be aware that there is a fine art to taking on new challenges. You certainly shouldn’t run before you can walk, or let your immediate priorities slip. For some more practical advice surrounding this subject, check out my colleague’s article here.

Steer clear of negative attitudes

If you’re unfortunate enough to work with some negative, passive aggressive or just plain aggressive people, then I would advise you try not to let their attitudes affect you. I understand that sometimes this is tricky, especially if you work in the same office, or you need to communicate with one another about work related topics. However, if you can remain polite, diplomatic and professional, whilst refusing to let their negativity rub off on you, you will notice an improvement in your own positive mental attitude and overall job satisfaction.

Re-establish your work-life balance

A guaranteed way to damage your job satisfaction is to work yourself into the ground. If you can’t remember the last time you left the office at a reasonable time, or you find yourself worrying about work during the evenings and weekends, then it’s no wonder your workplace wellbeing is suffering.

Take measures to re-establish a work-life balance. One way of doing this could be to review how effectively you are using your time in the office. Are you working hard instead of smart? Are you placing too much importance on the wrong tasks? Perhaps you are getting bogged down by office distractions? If so, then read some of our advice how to improve your productivity during working hours, therefore reclaiming your time as your own.

If your workload is simply unmanageable, then it’s time to speak up. The alternative is becoming overworked, overtired and eventually, unproductive, and this won’t benefit anyone.

Hopefully, by now, you can see why it’s so important to take a step back and reassess why you no longer feel satisfied at work, and what you can do to rectify that. It could be a case of reminding yourself of your goals, purpose and what you have to offer. It could be a case of culling bad habits, whether it’s letting negative people get you down or staying in the office until 10 pm every day. Either way, worry not; your workplace satisfaction is not lost, you just need to know how to take control of it.

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Author

Rowan O’Grady is the President of Hays North America.

Rowan began his career with Hays in 1995, joining Construction & Property (C&P) in London, on the Trades & Labour desk, before helping to establish C&P in Dublin when it opened in 1996.

He was promoted through to regional manager, and then joined the team that  spearheaded Hays’ entry to the Canadian market in 2001. Rowan left Canada in 2004, to return to Hays in Ireland but returned in April 2009 to oversee all of Canada.