Do you have one of those jobs where all of the right boxes seemed to be checked – good location, cause area aligns well with your interests, nice title, great benefits – but you are still unhappy? Sometimes the grass may always seem greener somewhere else, but once you get there, it winds up being just as bland and discouraging.
Rather than throwing in the towel and starting another job search, try taking steps now to transform the job you hate into one that you love! Ben Fanning’s The Quit Alternative: The Blueprint for Creating the Job You Love Without Quitting is a resource for those who find themselves in a pattern of routine disappointment, many times leading to job hopping. Here are 3 solutions I’ve learned from his book on communication, time management, and finding your inner motivation!
Complaint #1: No one listens to my ideas
Solution: Anticipate your colleagues’ needs and frame your ideas in such a way that those needs are resolved.
You want to feel like you are being heard, whether you are speaking with your boss or your coworkers. Focus on effectively getting your message across by framing it specifically for the person you are speaking with. Peak their interest by leading with the benefits your idea gives them – assume they are wondering “What’s in it for me?”
Action: Lead with “WIFM” (What’s in it for me?) . Fanning encourages structuring your message so that the answer to WIFM is mentioned at the beginning of any communication. This answer can be the subject line of an e-mail, title of a presentation, or spoken within the first few sentences of a conversation. Clearly outlining how your idea could not only be useful to them but implemented easily will build engagement and motivate others to respond quicker and more completely.
Complaint #2: My workday is exhausting and overwhelming
Solution: Take back control of your workday
If you are constantly refilling your coffee cup and stifling yawns throughout the day, it may be more than just needing more rest or energizing foods. Your day could be wearing you out! Only you know what you need to work productively. To find yourself yawning less and succeeding more, Fanning suggests the following actions to restructure your workday so it best suits your preferred work style:
Action: The Ernest Hemingway Technique. At the end of your workday, leave the last step of a project unfinished, especially if you know exactly what to do next. At the start of of your next workday, complete the project! This way, you know exactly what you need to do when you sit down and your desk and your workday begins with a task you can have finished before lunch (which is surely an accomplishment of note)!
Action: Stop advertising that you’re happy to do work you hate. Instead, promote the accomplishments you are proud of and the work you really like to do during meetings. The more you talk about work that you love, the more likely it is that these types of projects will come your way. This will shift your ratio of inspiring work versus depleting work so that the majority of your day will be energizing, not draining.
Complaint #3: I’m dreading how much I have to do this week
Solution: Find and use your inner motivation throughout the day
Getting caught up in the grind of your work week can distract you from what motivated you to get involved in this work in the first place. Unless you are task-oriented person, you may start to feel bogged down by all of your organization methods- to-do lists, reminders, calendar reminders, post-it notes, etc. Take time to reclaim your inner motivation and build it into your workday! Fanning encourages his readers to take on these action steps:
Action: Rewrite tasks with their value and importance. We all might be in the habit of writing a to-do list at the start (or end) of each day. Rather than focusing on the actual task, however, try writing down the result or value of actually doing the task.
For example, “Social Media Meeting” may sound like just another meeting I have to sit in on. “Include my team members in building online community engagement” reminds me this is an opportunity to collaborate with my coworkers and connects the task with something I value – building community.
Action: Get in touch with the bigger “why”- why do you actually go to work? You might want to try keeping a note at eye-level with a reminder of what motivates you to show up to work each day. Leave your “why I work” sticky note on your bathroom mirror, in your notebook, and/or on your computer so your reminder is always ready when you need it most – those moments when you feel like giving up.
You can also re-energize yourself by creating a motivating workspace. Your physical workspace can be a reminder of what motivates you to work. For some, this means keeping a picture of family, friends, or pets as a reminder that finishing your work projects means your at-home hours can be focused on the ones you love! Amidst my own wall of to-do sticky notes, I keep artwork that children have drawn for me as a reminder to finish my in-office work during the workday, so I can relax and enjoy the time I spend working with children.
Idealist Careers wants to hear from you! Share which of the actions you tried and what your results were! With your permissions, we’ll publish your contributions in a future article. Send responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.