Self

How To Learn To Love The Job You Have — Instead Of Always Looking For Something Better

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Thoughtful woman working in coffee shop

Are you like many Americans who have difficulty finding fulfillment at work?

According to a 2019 Conference Board survey, approximately 50 percent of employees were not satisfied with their jobs.

Moreover, another survey found that 18 percent of their survey respondents who ultimately quit their jobs did so because they didn't feel fulfilled.

Unfortunately, most people will have difficulties finding fulfillment in their next position. Just 50 percent said they had the necessary skills to attain fulfilling work. Hopefully, this is not your situation.

But, if it is, there is another angle you can explore. You can improve your experience in your current job.

After all, what good is leaving an unfulfilling job only to land at another unfulfilling job?

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How To Use Your Work Habits To Increase Your Work-Life Fulfillment

Face it, it's not possible to clearly separate your work and personal life. So, you have to look at fulfillment more holistically — "Is my life fulfilling?"

What's more, the time you dedicate to work represents a substantial part of your day.

Let's do the math. More than likely, your job and commute together consume 10 hours per workday (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and US Census Bureau), and a good night's sleep requires between seven and eight hours per day.

That leaves you with at best just six hours of personal time. And, that time is at least partially committed to personal obligations and chores as well.

Therefore, you have to seek opportunities for greater fulfillment anywhere and at any time you can habitually fit them in: at work or on your time off.

Fulfill Your Own Mini-Mission

For you, as an individual with specific skills and interests, your workplace's mission statement could seem vague, far-reaching, beyond your personal scope of interest, and even marginally aligned with your own life mission and personal values.

So, why exactly do you work here again?

Well, the job could satisfy a subset of your needs and preferences (e.g., income, location, building professional credibility). Still, the lack of satisfaction is killing you. But, you could be more fulfilled if you changed your work habits.

Here are 6 work habits to help you find fulfillment in your current position.

1. Create your own mini-mission statement.

Each year, write your own mission statement for both your personal life and work. Highlight a few goals aligned with this mission. Then, create steps to achieve both.

Base your mission on what matters most to you. Make sure to incorporate both work and personal values and objectives.

Habitually take steps forward to move forward with your mission. Even very small ones. This helps you stay present. And, remember whatever you do now connects to your broader vision so you're always moving forward.

Creating a mini-mission and supportive strategies or work habits requires you to be familiar with your values and what's meaningful to you.

If you don’t have that clarity yet, do your personal reflection and self-discovery work first. Without it, you’re apt to flounder and become demoralized with the process.

Additionally, don't set your mini-mission in stone. Allow yourself some flexibility review and revise it regularly (perhaps every few months).

However, if you want to modify it, do so with some reflection and deliberation in order to maintain the clarity and potency of your intentions and actions.

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2. Create your own sub-goals at work.

This work habit is more appropriate for you if you have some flexibility in the type of contribution you make to the larger work effort. Additionally, this approach entails a lower level of effort than the mini-mission does.

All you need to do is identify within your current scope of work a discrete goal that would increase the valuation of your work and, hence, increase your fulfillment. Then do it.

An illustration will clarify what this work habit entails.

Let's assume you work on a business development team drafting proposals for new programs and funding.

You have a strong commitment to women's empowerment, but your technical area is broader. You rarely design programs specifically for women even though your company has a reasonable gender focus.

To increase your fulfillment, set a realistic goal for yourself. Identify where you could apply your expertise to the company's prospective portfolio on women's empowerment or where you could recommend, justify, and craft an additional women's empowerment component to a planned proposal.

Create metrics for yourself such as three successful submissions per year. In this way, you shift the focus of your work without proposing to significantly alter your job description or change position.

3. Focus more on your values at work.

Too many people see their work-life separate from their personal life. In a sense, they leave their personal self at the office door.

They focus on their responsibilities, obligations, tasks, projects, and managing their professional relationships all within a given work culture.

For some, this may correspond well to their aspirations and they feel fulfilled. However, others feel they have to find fulfillment outside work. That can be a burden and demoralizing.

If this sounds like your current situation, instead of segregating your life, express some of your important personal values at work.

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For example, if you value sharing your experience and being of service to younger, newer staff members, offer to mentor someone. Alternatively, share your skills and knowledge through informal presentations and discussions.

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4. Do more of what motivates you.

If you know what motivates you, find ways to bring that into your regular work. For example, if you like challenges, seek or create interesting challenges for yourself.

Alternatively, if you like teamwork or collaboration with others, socialize more and look for opportunities to work with interesting people doing interesting things.

Whatever motivates you, find ways of bringing more of that into your workday. Make it a work habit.

When you embed your personal objectives into your workday, you open up space to create an improved work-life balance.

Maybe you're someone with parent or caretaker responsibilities in the evening, which makes it difficult to impossible to cultivate your personal interests. If so, a break in the workday might be your only option to secure quality personal time.

Don't let pressure from others or guilt rob you of something meaningful to you.

5. Define work boundaries.

Set unbreakable start and quiet times so you can get more out of your life outside work. Protect your lunch hour, using that time for what you want to do.

Sure, you'll undoubtedly be asked to break these boundaries. That's OK sometimes. Just don't make it a regular work habit.

6. Incorporate quality personal time into your work schedule.

During the day, take a break from work and go running or work out. Create a lunch-time book club if you prefer reading and socializing to exercise.

If you take back the break time that was actually yours anyway, you'll find you have time to do some things you really love.

So, to find more fulfillment without leaving your current job, you must develop work habits that create more fulfillment.

Take the time and effort to reassess, tap into your values and what has meaning for you, and creatively weave them into your workday.   

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Patricia Bonnard, Ph.D., ACC is an integrated coach and energy healer offering a blend of conventional coaching, embodied practice and energy healing to help clients make important life decisions creatively and authentically. Join one of her virtual personal growth workshops to learn how.

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