“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs
Do you find meaning in your work? Do your employees find meaning in their work? A friend of mine who works at a coffee factory often complained to me, “Take this job and shove it!” He didn’t feel like he could make a difference in the world.
I don’t believe that’s true. Anyone has the potential to make a difference. You just need to learn how to, “Take this job and LOVE IT!”
Finding your purpose and loving your work is important, but it’s hard to do when we’re faced with stress and frustrations. Before anyone can “take their job and love it,” they need to identify their frustrations.
3 Frustrations That Keep You From Loving Your Job
Previous to writing my book Balance Matters, I completed a survey of over 1,000 people asking them to identify and rank their top three job frustrations, and this is what I discovered:
1. Not Enough Money and Not Enough Training
One does lead to the other. Increasing your knowledge in your field whether, through formal education, certificates, or professional training, is a great way to set yourself up for future raises and promotions. Training and skill enhancement also leads to more self-confidence and increased performance.
If you feel your pay doesn’t match your role, fixing that starts with asking. Asking starts with being informed. Review your job description and evaluate how it’s changed since you’ve started. Grab a red pen and underline what’s changed and add how you’ve stepped up your game. Then do some market research to gain an understanding of what your experience is worth in today’s market. Share that with your manager in an honest and open conversation.
One gift the pandemic gave us is working from home. Mexico Autonomous Institute of Technology published survey results that, “workers reported being more productive working from home than they expected to be, compared with 14 percent who said they got less done. On average, respondents’ productivity at home was 7 percent higher than they expected.” Not only does this mean a boost in revenue for the company, but it also means more money in your employee’s pockets. They save money on commuting, lunch, and in some cases maybe even child care. The average person can save about $4,000 a year by working remotely, according to FlexJobs.
One of the most important drivers of employee engagement is development. “Organizations that have made a strategic investment in employee development, Gallup finds, report 11% greater profitability and are twice as likely to retain their employees.” Development and training are ongoing if you want to maintain a high-performance workplace. This article from Gallup shares has some great insights: click here. However, if you are looking for someone to jump-start your Workplace Training & Development, check out my brochure.
2. Feeling Unappreciated
Have you cried at work? You’re not alone. According to Monster, 80% of us have shed tears in the name of feeling underappreciated at work. Sadly, many people don’t get the appreciation they deserve and we all want and need genuine praise.
In my opinion, employers often appreciate good workers but do a poor job of communicating that appreciation. You may need to open that door and start the conversation.
Even though you may not feel appreciated at work, it’s still important to show and feel appreciated in other aspects of your life. Take the time to write a note, give a card, or send a small gift to a friend or family member. One thing I enjoy doing is sending a “Digital Drop” based on the book How Full is Your Bucket. If you have a Gallup Access account, you can sign in to access digital drops. Check out the book to learn more about how to fill buckets with appreciation.
According to Gallup’s research, employees who do not feel adequately recognized are twice as likely to say they’ll quit in the next year. How a manager engages the team, sets expectations, and provides feedback has a strong effect on how much an employee “loves their job.”
Start with an initial check-in with your team around how they are doing then share something you appreciate about them. Something unique, honest, and specific. Then set yourself a consistent time for this check-in and appreciation. Research shows once a week has the best results.
Lastly, encourage your team to appreciate each other. Create a culture of praise so no one is left feeling unappreciated.
3. Dead-end Career
Sometimes the best way to love your job is to find the right job, and it might not be the one you’re in. I’m amazed at how many people remain tied to an empty career with an invisible chain.
You should ask yourself three questions:
- Do I truly understand how I can make a difference in the world with my work?
- Am I in a career that matches my aptitude and passion?
- What keeps me from spreading my wings to fly toward a meaningful career?
If you answered “No” to the first two and have an answer to the third, it may be time to consider overcoming the third and flying towards that meaningful career. Maybe you have an idea of what that is already or maybe you need some help identifying that. The truth is, you can’t LOVE your job and find your passion until you do.
Have you noticed an employee who looks like life has been sucked out of them? It might be easy to discount them, unappreciate them, and stop developing them (all things on this list that are top frustrations), but the best thing you can do is have an honest conversation to get to the root of their frustration. Then you can decide how to move forward. Maybe that’s developing them towards a role or responsibilities that is more aligned with their strengths and skills.
“Your fit with anything — a person, a neighborhood, a pair of jeans — is what makes that thing yours. Fit is what makes it worth having. Finding your job, or purpose in life is no different.” – JAKE HERWAY