Not everyone loves their job, but before you walk away from a steady income, consider a simple shift in mindset –­ it might just mean the difference between job from hell and job satisfaction.

Work overload, tight deadlines and late nights are some of the things that can make you miserable at work. On the other side of the coin, being in a role that doesn’t challenge you can also wear you down. According to a 2017 survey by CV-Library, the UK’s leading independent job site, more than a third of people are dissatisfied in their jobs.

Johannesburg-based life coach Helena Dolny offers change management training in the workplace. She says that a change in mindset can transform one’s experience in the office. Some of the ways you can feel more fulfilled in your role are seeking out learning opportunities, creating enough elbow room not to feel micromanaged and finding meaningfulness in what you do.

Author Annie McKee agrees, writing in her book How To Be Happy At Work, that one of the key factors in a contented working life is finding a sense of purpose. While your situation might seem hopeless, it’s important to stay positive and keep up your morale. Here’s how…

It’s not always easy to establish a good work/life balance, but it’s key to personal and professional success. ‘An out-of-work identity is important,’ says Dolny. ‘You hardly ever hear someone say, “I wish I’d worked harder in my life.” Most people say they wish they’d spent less time at work and more time with their family, friends or on self-development.’ One way to achieve balance is by finding interests outside of work. Take up a hobby or join a course you’re interested in. It will help broaden your horizons and give you a sense of purpose beyond your 9-5 life.

A common cause of unhappiness with one’s job is repetitive or boring work. ‘Create a challenge for yourself in the workplace,’ advises Dolny. ‘Start learning new skills and volunteer to help your colleagues in other departments on projects they are working on.’ She adds that sitting at your desk waiting for your manager to give you work is counterproductive. Show initiative. ‘Doing different things boosts creativity and gets different parts of the brain working so this is a good way of developing a new perspective on work. Bosses are also far less likely to micromanage employees who show initiative and interest than those who always wait to be told what to do,’ she says.

Common mistakes people make are working late, taking assignments home and working over weekends. Dolny says working strictly within normal office hours might be unrealistic, but that setting boundaries is important. For example, you could make a rule that you don’t pick up work-related calls in the evenings. She adds that dinner time is for eating with family and friends. An important part of this strategy is not feeling guilty. If you you know you’ve done your best, there’s no reason you should feel anxious about taking ‘me’ or family time out of working hours.

It’s not always easy to speak up, but not speaking up when you feel you have something important to say can lead to loss of self-esteem. e trick, says Dolny, is to be con dent in your opinions while being respectful of other points of view. If you feel strongly that your boss is wrong about something, approach them privately and suggest there might be an alternative solution. It’s also important to be a presence in your workplace. If you keep to yourself, never voice an opinion and never show interest in work activities or your colleagues, you can’t expect to be noticed. Dolny recalls a client saying he was leaving his job because ‘my boss doesn’t acknowledge who I am as a person.’ at’s because he didn’t show or tell his boss who he was as a person!

Dolny adds that feedback can help you to learn and grow from your failures or mistakes. Have an informal chat every so often with your boss on how you are doing, instead of waiting for the end of the year and being disappointed when you don’t get a bonus or a raise. ‘Request feedback to stretch yourself as an individual,’ says Dolny.

Even if you have the most tedious job in the world, you can find ways to make some aspects of it meaningful. For instance, if your job involves a lot of time sitting around between busy periods, read up on subjects that interest you in your downtime. Another way of adding meaning to your work is by developing strong relationships with your work colleagues. Make an effort to get to know your co-workers – show an interest in their lives and families. You might make valuable friendships you would otherwise have never discovered.

Good reads for your bookshelf:
  • Learned Optimism by Martin EP Seligman (Vintage, 2006)
  • Happier by Tal Ben-Shahar (McGraw-Hill, 2007)
  • Give and Take by Adam M Grant (Penguin Books, 2014)
  • Eat, Move, Sleep by Tom Rath (Missionday, 2013)
  • The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor (Crown Business, 2010)

By Lisa Thabethe
CHANGE YOUR MINDSET CHANGE YOUR MINDSET Reviewed by Michelle Pienaar on February 06, 2018 Rating: 5
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