It's You, Not Them

8 Things to Help You Get Over Yourself!

Job satisfaction ebbs and flows. It’s part of a natural cycle. We start jobs excited by what we can learn, accomplish and earn. We build traction and get a certain amount of recognition until finally we peak. That peak moment feels great. You’re at the top of your game and you’re enjoying it. As time goes on, you settle in and wait for that next moment of exhilaration. A promotion, a raise, a team to manage… whatever that next “peak” may be. When the changes don’t come, your satisfaction starts to plummet. You get restless at the thought of doing the same things repeatedly just to maintain the status quo. But that’s the job you were hired to do and when growth, in its various forms, doesn’t come as quickly as you’d like it to, you might need a reality check.

Dissatisfaction and a decreased level of engagement are not as easy to hide as you’d think, no matter how good an actor you think you are.

Instead of sulking around, here are 10 things you can do to recalibrate your mindset and make you feel empowered rather than imprisoned:

1. Reality Check: It’s easy to think of moving on, but in reality, it’s not that simple to do. Job searching and interviewing take time and your long lunches and escalation of personal appointments could raise suspicions. Also, remember that the grass is not always greener on another corporate playground. Depending on where you are in your life, you’ll have to decide if trading in your proven track record and starting from scratch are worth it.

2. Make a “Good List”: List all the things you enjoy doing in your current job and start doing more of them. Create smart projects that require you to use these skills frequently and you will find yourself more satisfied and fulfilled.

3. A One-Two Punch: Ask yourself, what two small fixes directly applied to your role would make you more engaged? Build a case as to why they will help you be more successful and go ask for them. You may end up with both or at least one… but you’ll never know unless you ask.

4. Talk to your Boss: Assuming you have a good relationship (or at least a decent one), you should make your boss aware of your excitement to tackle new challenges and your vision for growth within the company. If your annual review isn’t around the corner and you don’t have regular check-in meetings scheduled, put time on the calendar for coffee and let your boss know you’d like to discuss some ideas you have about your role and what you’d like to accomplish next.

5. Take Time Out: Generally, dissatisfaction can transfer from one area to another. Stepping back and making time for other things that stimulate you can be very valuable. A day off or even an actual vacation may be in order!

6. Be Patient: In order to know if this is a passing phase, you’ll have to see how long it lasts. A few weeks from now, a new project, client or deal may be underway that puts you back at the top of your game and re-engages you. Of course, if you find your dissatisfaction getting more pervasive and constant with little relief, it may be time to consider your options. At least you won’t be rushing to make a move in haste and will be confident in your decision.

7. Take Stock: Like with most things, it’s easy to lose sight of what you have until it’s gone. Imagine you were laid off. Other than a paycheck, what would you miss? Make a list… it can be anything from colleagues who have become friends, having your own office, great benefits and perks or the autonomy you’re given with your projects. Hopefully, somewhere on that list is being appreciated for your work by others and being the best at that one part of your job you do better than anyone else.

8. Know Thyself: Look back at your work history. What was your tenure at each company? What were your feelings about those roles at the time you decided to move on? Did you make moves for the right reasons? Did you always leave with a sense of dissatisfaction? It’s critical to recognize your own patterns and accept that it might truly be a cycle you’re repeating. This self-reflection and admission might be just the thing you need to recharge your batteries and re-focus your energy!