We can all get frustrated at work. Sometimes, beyond frustrated.
Seamlessly never-ending workloads, unrealistic deadlines and last-minute “emergencies”. Days or periods when going to work can seem “soul-sucking”.
Many people when they get to this point, believe a job change is in order, “fire up their resume” and update their LinkedIn profile. This may be the right course of action for some people, however I caution anyone looking for a change to simply change jobs for the sake of change itself.
It is the age-old “run-to” vs. “run-from” question that we each need to answer honestly.
“Running from” is thinking a job change itself will leave your current frustrations all behind without a career goal and plan in mind. In my experience coaching leaders and employees, people who have “run from” eventually find out it is same stuff, different location.
“Running to” is making a career change with a specific goal and plan in mind. More importantly, it is moving you towards your purpose or passion. If this is the case, a job change is in order.
There is a third option. We can empower ourselves to take back control of our daily work lives, rekindle the passion in our career and find our “soul”.
Connecting with your Purpose
Take a personal day, or carve out some quiet time to reconnect with your unique passions and dreams. Answering simple yet powerful questions like:
- What are some of my proudest life accomplishments/most difficult challenges and why?
- What have I learned about myself along my journey to date?
- What am I good at?
- When I am lost in the moment and truly enjoying myself I am (fill in the blank)
- What do I want my impact to be in life? How do I want to be remembered?
Simple, yet powerful.
The key in answering these questions is to focus on you and you alone. Not your job, your company, your family or friends. Just focus on yourself, and reconnect with the talents and passions you bring to the world.
Once you have done this, apply it to your job. How can you apply and live your purpose at work?
Most companies have a mission statement, set of values and/or company purpose statement. How do this relate you your individual purpose? How can you live your passion while at the same time advancing the needs of the company? What things would you like to be doing more in your job? How can you be the author of those changes that serve both the needs of the company and yourself?
Then build your business case and present it to your manager.
Many people believe they do not have the freedom to alter their “job description”. Yes, there are core elements of everyone’s job that may not be able to be changed. However, in my experience, people who have completed these steps and present it to management from a “win/win” perspective many times get exactly what they wished for.
Even in the worst case scenario and no changes can be made in your job, you have clearly defined your “run to” strategy, and can start looking elsewhere to pursue your purpose. Inside or outside your company.
“Raising a Colleague”
As a working mother, I know all too well the demands and pressures of being a mom, wife and business owner. There never seem to be enough hours in the day, and the list of “to-do’s” gets longer and longer.
For all the demands it places and how frustrated I can get at times, I would not give it up for anything, and I have yet to meet a working mother who would give it all up either. Why? Because the act of giving unconditionally, raising a child and seeing them develop, gives you a deep level of satisfaction and meaning.
This may sound unconventional….but why not do this for others at work? Are there millennials just starting their career you know could benefit from your experience? If you are a manager, who do you have reporting to you, and how can you help your people grow? Is there a project team that could benefit from your knowledge?
Sometimes the simple act of taking the focus off of yourself, and focusing on others can be a powerful way to re-energize yourself at work.
This may also connect with your purpose. For example, if you like developing others and have an aspiration to get into a management position. As an added bonus for managers, the more talented and capable your team is, the more time you have to pursue other passions or interests at work.
As the old adage goes, “it is better to give than to receive”. So long as you are invigorated by it, and it does not place another unwanted demand on yourself.
Find your “Corporate Soul Mate”
When was the last time you had a mentor at work? Or what I will call a “corporate soul mate”.
Actively seeking out someone at work you look up to or aspire to be like can be a motivating factor in your job. Whether your company has a formal mentor program or not, there is nothing stopping you from meeting with other women you can be a mentor. Take them out for lunch or a coffee. Have a specific topic, or set of topics in mind. Share your experiences with them and ask them to do the same.
My strong advice is to not make it a “pity party” and discussing what is wrong with your company, management team or other co-workers. Instead, focus the discussion on personal learning and growth.
Many times this works better if it is not set up as a formal “mentor” relationship, but rather as an informal meeting to connect with each other.
Why stop at people in your company? You can seek out others externally as well. You may be surprised just how willing people are to help you if you frame it up the right way. Plus, you are also building a powerful network at the same time.
Like all relationships over time, they can become stale and need to be re-energized. That does not always mean a separation or divorce is in order.
Look for ways to “spice up” your relationship by taking these simple steps to breathe new life into your career.