The personal effect of soul destroying jobs extends beyond the job – it invades our wellbeing at home and at work. A job we hate dominates our thoughts and emotions outside of work, for instance, the dread which accompanies Sunday afternoon, knowing work is tomorrow. We cannot function properly outside of work if we don’t have the right environment at work. In many respects, employers need to realise this. People give far more than just the hours that they are in office, especially if their job is not enjoyable. However, we do all possess a degree of self-determination in any situation, and a terrible job is no different. The most drastic action you can take is to quit, but far practical are the following 3 simple changes you can make immediately:
Take. Your. Breaks.
How good it feels to clear your head every now and then. How refreshing to get out of your seat and walk. How nice it is to get some sunshine and air. Research has shown that regular breaks are crucial to productivity. Your brain needs a breather in between tasks so it can fully focus and engage when you need it to. Research suggests that the most productive employees take a full 17-minute break for every 52 minutes of concentration. This may seem a lot but you will get benefits from just 5-10 minutes per hour. Even switching to a simpler task can count as a breather, but nothing beats fully breaking away from work for a short period. Set a timer to ensure you stay disciplined. If you have a tough boss who wants to pull you up on this, stick to your guns and quote the research – remember, this is in your hands.
Team building events and staged networking functions can be awkward, but making friends does pay off. A recent Gallup poll reveals that employees with a best friend at work are five times more likely to feel strongly connected to their company. The same employees are seven(!) times more likely to be fully engaged and are 50% more satisfied with their work than employees who don’t have a best friend. Imagine how much better about your job you would feel if you looked forward to catching up with your friend and catching up about the weekend’s activities – not just making small talk but really conversing. Making friends can be more easily said than done but keep an open mind, look for humour and be interested in your colleagues.
There is a difference between big noting yourself and simply seeking recognition for hark work or a job well done. If you’ve stayed back late on a project or moved mountains to get a deal done then you have gone above and beyond the standard, and that deserves recognition. You’ll find that you don’t need much – a simple thank you or mention at the weekly staff meeting. Enough for your boss to show you that your efforts have been noticed. Without these moments of recognition bitterness can set in, and that’s when any form of motivation evaporates. The job becomes drudgery and you potentially become a target because of a perceived deterioration of input. Get on the font foot, tactfully mention your efforts to your boss, perhaps framing them within a request for an early afternoon in return, so that it doesn’t sound like you’re fishing for it. Also, be sure to mention when you see colleagues doing the same. Your example will hopefully come around to you. This is about the actions you take which can better your work environment, so take responsibility and set the example.