Are you surprised if I tell you one in four (25%) Australians are unhappy in their job?
This number comes from an article published on Human Resources Director in August 2019, based on a new research commissioned by the Nutritional Therapy Association of Australia (NTA). A staggering 70% of those unhappy employees wanting to pursue a different career.
If you feel unhappy artwork, you are not alone.
Why so many people are unhappy at work?
It may not come as a surprise that the three main contributing factors are: not-enough pay, office politics and work not being challenging enough.
There are many studies or reviews out there that outline the reasons on top of the three factors I mentioned above. For example, lack of recognition or appreciation, inadequate of training & development and distrust of leadership seem to be some most common reasons.
You may also hear from your friends or read from the social media posts that more and more people want to be able to spend quality time with their families, have a better lifestyle and find more fulfilling work.
The statistics back that up too, about 68% of people are seeking a career that can offer a better work-life balance and 47% want to work in a career that they are actually passionate about.
But wait a minute, apart from these external factors that we may not be able to control, is there anything else we need to consider?
Yes, there are!
Intrinsic Factors For Fulfillment at Work
There are some intrinsic factors that are key to our fulfilment at work.
We spend a lot of time at work and we need to consider our interests, motivations, needs, values, skills, and previous professional experiences that shape our expectation and satisfaction at work.
It may not be a common practice to ask ourselves questions related to these factors and it often takes a little time and effort to gather insights about who we are and what do we really want.
Another really important thing to consider is that we change as we grow physically, emotionally and spiritually.
What seems to be fulfilling or challenging or fun when you are in your 20s can be drastically different when you are in your 40s.
If you are like me, there was a time when the idea of becoming a mother seems so far away, while travelling (and partying!) around the world and working 100 hours a week has a certain thrill and excitement added to life.
Then, fast forward a few years, all of a sudden, the idea of conscious living, nutritious meals, healthy lifestyle (think yoga, meditation and aromatherapy), deep-and-meaningful relationships, and a BABY seems to be the perfect picture.
I may be a little over-the-top with my comparisons, but to be very honest, that was really my transformation.
I can tell you what motivates or satisfies me at work now is totally different compared to 10 or 5 years ago.
Over the Christmas and New Year holiday, I had some time off and I really think deep about this topic. I have been coaching and consulting for quite a number of years and I have worked with many different types of clients and businesses.
At this stage, I know what I love to do most is to coach women who are in transition, especially women who want to change their career or start their business, or mothers with young children who want to achieve more success with their work without sacrificing their quality of life with their family and personal well-being.
I am passionate about helping them to find more success AND joy in their career or starting their business to fulfil their inner calling.
And at the same time, I like to help them to find the right work-life balance, and at times, right work-life boundaries.
It is a dream for me, and I am sure many women have the same thing. We want to have a great career AND great relationships with our partner and friends, quality time to nurture our children, good health, look good and feel good.
Not being superficial here, but how often you feel when you are pulled between work and family, the first thing starts to go is your wellbeing? It simply means we don’t get to look after our body, mind and spirit, our physical appearance and emotions just reflect that fact.
And that motivates me to coach, write books & blogs, create digital courses and speak at events to share what I know and help women to do that.
And that’s ME – the type and area of work that fuels me, excites me and ultimate bring fulfilment into my life. It helps me to be a better wife, mother, daughter, friend, colleague and human being because I have joy in what I do, which takes up a lot of time and energy in my daily life. It gives me the buzz when I get up in the morning.
But this knowing and understanding about who I am now and what do I want takes time and work to discover. There are clues that came naturally to me, mistakes and pain that made me learn and people who help me to discover the insights and encourage me to show up for myself.
If I tell you the big reason why I can honestly say I am happy with my life is that I get to do what I enjoy to do and I believe it serves a purpose too.
That’s why I’d say if you are unhappy at work or feeling stuck in your life in general, it is super important to look deeper into your own motivation and interest because they absolutely affect your personal life.
You want to find out if:
A) You have out-grown your role or job and need to make changes i.e. move upward or move on
What used to excite you or challenge your capacity may no longer be valid. There may be a restructuring in your company or office politics just got out of hand. You may not like your job or your boss. You may have been in your role for a few years and it is time to get a promotion or change area. Your job may have changed like you used to be more customer-facing but not anymore and you miss the interaction. Or the other way round. Your needs have changed but your current job cannot accommodate them. You may or may not need to quit your job but you need to find out what is making you unhappy and hence the next move.
B) You are in the wrong company or industry now and a career change may be on the menu
You may not like the culture in your company, or what used to be OK, but now it is not. You may discover you are really not suited to work in that industry due to the nature or culture of that industry. You may be used to enjoy high-pay-and-long-hours before, but it no longer motivates you. You may get into this job by accident, and you are good at it, but after some time you realised you actually don’t enjoy it once you have mastered the job. You may look at your boss or his/her boss and go, I actually don’t want to spend a few more years to get to where they are. Or you just need a change, you are a multi-passionate person and you now want to learn a new skill or work in a different industry. You just don’t know how to match your skills and your interests just yet. You need to work out how to make the transition and where you want to do.
C) You want to start your own business but not sure it will suit you or what business to get into
You may have been fed up with work with either scenario A or B and wondering maybe starting your own business can be a solution. You may or may not know what business you want to get into yet, or you are not sure if your personality or current life stage is suited for running your own business. You want better work-life balance but also worried that becoming your own boss may have more freedom but the trade-off can be more stress and time. You want more clarity and strategy to take the next step.
D) You want to start your own business but you are worried about …
You may know what business you are passionate to get into but you are not sure how to start, what model or structure you should follow, what is your knowledge or skill gaps, etc. More importantly, how to transition from being full time employed to run your own business without being financially irresponsible. You want a road map, how-to guidance and support to get you where you want to be.
Each of these scenarios leads to different next steps, and so this is a major starting point.
It is like the beginning of a hero or heroine journey. You got the call. (something happened and triggered you, e.g. getting fired/redundant, you heard about someone who took a leap of faith and now widely successful and happy, the long feeling of emptiness or void just consuming you from the inside out and you can’t ignore it any more.) No matter the call originates from inside of you or outside, you know it’s time to change.
So next step:
You may want to contact your Human Resources department and see if they have any career coaching or resources available for you. You can also find numerous tools and books online that can help you get started. I love Mel Robbins’ Work It Out audiobook, I think she got really great advice and she is so candid and down to earth.
I use Motiva as my go-to assessment tool to help people to better understand their own professional interests, motivations, needs, values, skills, and previous professional experiences. It also helps people to see if being an entrepreneur may be a good option for them. I offer this as part of my career planning or business coaching program. If this sounds like something that you want to find out more, send me an email at info@SzeWingVetault.com with a short description or questions you have!
To wrap this all up, if you are unhappy at work, remember, you are not alone. It is important to address that and start taking actions no matter how small to begin with.
Pick someone you admire or respect to learn and model from. Bear in mind that their transformation is NEVER overnight, they did it through consistent small actions over time. So pick one small action to move forward today! I know you can do this and with my whole heart, I believe everyone deserves a great life, so go for it!
If you have any questions or comments, you can post it here or PM me on my FB page @SzeWingVetault or Instagram or email me at info@SzeWingVetault.com
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