According to Deloitte’s Shift Index survey, a whopping 80% of Americans are dissatisfied with their job. Now, I’m sure the possible reasons are endless and ever-varied, but what if I told you that you possess the power to change this?
One key component of happiness, or at least satisfaction, with your work life is feeling empowered at work. In this article, I’ll give you 5 tips to empower yourself at work and hopefully be significantly happier with your job! And hell, if these tips don’t work, take comfort in knowing that you always have the power to quit and change jobs.
How to Empower Yourself At Work:
1. Tell Your Boss How You Really Feel.
Some of the most common reasons for dissatisfaction at work are not liking what you do, not liking who you do it with, or it being over or under-challenging. Whatever the reason is for your unhappiness with your job, speak up about it. Tell your boss how you feel and what’s bothering you about your job.
If your boss can fix it, chances are they will, and even if they can’t, at least you’ve gotten it off your chest and there isn’t resentment boiling up inside of you. You’ll usually be pleasantly surprised about how your job satisfaction and opportunities improve when you’re transparent and ready to find a solution.
2. Ask For Feedback.
One of the best ways to develop professionally and improve your performance at work is to ask for constructive feedback. Feedback can have a bad stigma because most people don’t get feedback unless it’s for something they did wrong or poor performance. But, by consistently asking for feedback, you’ll find that you finally get positive feedback and more of it than you expected.
This constructive and positive feedback can motivate you and give you confidence in your job, while feedback about things to improve on will clarify what you need to work on. This will shine light on problems you may not have noticed, or known to improve had you never asked for feedback. So asking for feedback can make you a better worker in two ways: motivation, and knowing what to work on. Win-win! Just make sure you know how to value and accept constructive criticism before applying this tip.
And don’t be shy to ask multiple people for feedback, the more the merrier. When you’re open to the guidance, lessons, and expertise of a wide variety of people you get a better overall look at yourself as a professional and you create a greater opportunity for well-rounded growth and development.
3. Create Career Goals Based on Your Needs, Not Those of Others.
You’d be surprised to know that a lot of people don’t even really have long-term career goals, or don’t know what their dreams are. Figure that out, and make your career goals exactly what you want, not what someone else wants, or what works best for someone else. Knowing what you want, planning out how to get it, and getting on track to achieving it is an incredibly powerful motivational tool and the best way to empower yourself at work.
Sometimes the big picture and the “end-game” can be the only thing getting people through hard projects, or long hours. It spurs drive and determination and makes you feel accomplished and not as worn out when you put hard work in, or have long days at the office. It makes any bad times or hard days worth it and gets you to keep truckin’. People without goals can easily get depressed and start to feel monotonous in their jobs, or lack motivation because well, what’s it all for? Without career goals, you’ll feel idle, like you’re treading water day after day without going anywhere. That’s why having career goals and making your own career plans is one of the best ways to empower yourself at work and bring satisfaction back to your job.
4. Figure Out What Happiness Is To You.
Possibly the most important tip to ensure happiness and satisfaction with your job—when setting those career goals in Tip 3—make sure those goals involve something you’re passionate about and actually love doing. Success and happiness look different to different people, and that’s fine because the only opinion that matters here is your own.
Think of something you love doing and figure out how to make money doing it as the old saying goes, then you’ll never work a day in your life. If your career goals involve jobs and work that you hate doing, guess what? You’ll still be unhappy and unsatisfied in your job even if you follow every other tip on this list. To empower yourself at work and in life, it’s imperative that your personal dreams and passions align with your professional goals. And if you take nothing else from this list of tips, just take this one tip.
5. Let Go of Fear.
Following from Tip 4, don’t be afraid to follow your passion and make it your career. Don’t be afraid to follow the career plan you set out for yourself and take the leap to the next stage. The number one reason people stay in jobs that they are unhappy with is fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of leaving a steady paycheck, fear they won’t find their dream job, fear their dream job doesn’t exist, fear of failure, fear of doing something new, etc.
The problem with letting these fears control you is that they’ll force you to stay in comfortable, but unsatisfying jobs for eternity. You need to shake things up for things to change for the better. And maybe you do fail, or maybe you follow your dream and it’s not what you thought it would be like. So what?
What’s life without a little failure and bumps in the road, it’s all character building if nothing else. And in the end, at least you’ll have had the courage to try and you won’t live your life asking yourself what if, and kicking yourself for not exploring your passions. It’s always worse to wonder what if, than to have actually tried to achieve your goals and failed.
At least you have the peace of mind knowing you did all you could. And hell, sometimes you find a dream job you would’ve never considered had you not failed at the first dream. If you’re afraid to fail, you’ll never reach for the stars and even give yourself the chance to attain happiness or a fulfilling career.
As Thomas Jefferson put it, “if you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.”
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