Did you know that a popular question on Google is “How do I look happy at work?” Yikes! Instead of just trying to look happy, wouldn’t you like to be truly happy at work? Of course, you would. Unfortunately, for many professionals, the reality is that they are unhappy in their jobs and trying to look happy isn’t going to cut it. While reasons for taking a job can vary, and taking a job because you need to pay your bills is an incredibly valid reason for doing so, there are things you can do to feel more fulfilled at work in the long run. Let’s consider four keys to greater job fulfillment to help you move towards the right career fit for you.
Honor your values. Many times, feeling unhappy at work is because we are not honoring our values. Can you list your top three personal values? If you are unsure, this is an important step that is linked to job satisfaction. When we don’t honor our values regularly, we end up feeling less than fulfilled and satisfied and like we are not being authentic. Once you have identified your values, determine 1-2 ways to honor your values at work starting this week.
Continue to challenge yourself. Another reason for feeling unhappy at work is because we get bored or just burned out. This can come from repeating the same tasks over and over again, leveraging strengths we no longer want to use, or just feeling like we’re in a rut. To break free from this vicious cycle, find ways to challenge yourself on a regular basis. Accept a project that you wouldn’t normally accept, work on a task you aren’t very good at, take a class to learn something new! Try learning platforms such as LinkedIn Learning to enhance your skill set and feel refreshed and challenged.
Create a career plan. Another factor in job dissatisfaction is not having a game plan. We accept a job and five years later we are still in the same job, wondering where the time has gone. If you want to advance in your career, you have to work for it. And to do that, you have to create a plan. Start by thinking about where you want to be in 10 years. What job title, what office, what kinds of things do you want to be in charge of? Then work back from there, five, three, and one year, setting smaller goals for yourself to reach your long-term goal. This will help keep you focused and motivated, knowing that you are on a road with a goal in mind.
Find a mentor. Many professionals make the mistake of not having a mentor. Mentors can contribute greatly to job satisfaction since they have more experience and have reached career goals beyond yours. They can guide us in the right direction and help us avoid common pitfalls in our own career journey. They can help us see the light at the end of the tunnel when things get difficult at work and help us grow to be more effective professionals.
Take time this week to determine how you can use each of these keys for greater job fulfillment. Spend 30 minutes on each one, developing a plan of action that you can implement over the course of the next month to work towards greater fulfillment in your career.