Love the Job You’ve Got

This blog post is provided courtesy of Connie Dorigan, President, of Dorigan & Associates, an Oregon-based recruitment services firm specializing in the software and emerging technology industries.
Remember the days when, if you felt dissatisfied with your job, all you had to do was tell a friend or two, spruce up your resume and voila, you got a new job?

Today the economy, although we are seeing signs of improvement, is far from robust. Many companies are holding firm on hiring freezes, which often impacts career advancement. You may find you need to “wait-things-out” for a while. You may even feel trapped in your job, and not too happy about it.

As a recruiter, I hear it all when it comes to what makes people happy or unhappy with their job. It doesn’t matter if I am talking to “C” level staff or more junior level candidates, the stories and issues are consistent. Generally, people want to be appreciated, challenged and rewarded for the work they do, or they begin to feel dissatisfied.

Luckily, there are ways to rediscover a rewarding work-life even without a new title or pay raise. Interested in turning the job you have into the one you love? Read on….

1. When the boss says “there won’t be raises this year.” If everyone’s annual pay increase has been axed or severely limited, look for other ways to gain validation for a job well done. Working toward a goal such as scoring a more interesting assignment will help you feel more fulfilled. When you feel like you are accomplishing something, you’ll feel happier and more satisfied with your current situation. Ask your boss if there is anything extra you can to do help them or the company. Can you find new viable ways to increase business, reduce costs or improve processes? When raises and bonuses are reinstated your additional contribution will increase the odds that you will get a bigger piece of the pie.

2. When co-workers complain all day long. Misery may love company but it can bring you down. Listening to negative people is draining. It can take a lot of energy to remind yourself what you do like about your current situation. Limit the time you spend with complainers. If a griping co-worker corners you, be empathetic without adding much to the conversation. When you stop encouraging them they will look for another ally. Meanwhile, sidestepping those water-cooler conversations frees you up to use your time more productively.

3. Your boss never seems satisfied. If you work for someone who is overly critical or demanding, ask for specific ways you can do a better job going forward. Getting feedback on what your manager would like you to do differently will show them your really want to improve the relationship. Sometimes personalities clash. In these cases you may need to put your head down, do your job and try to limit your interactions. But you can also change your attitude. You can make a decision to not take anything personally. Reminding yourself your boss’ remarks have nothing to do with you will help you bring your emotions under control.

4. My job isn’t meaningful. If you find that your job lacks meaning for you, volunteer outside the office. Finding something you care about will challenge you, makes you feel good and has the bonus of positively impacting others. You may also be able to involve your co-workers by mentioning what you are doing and ask them to join you.

5. When there’s no room to grow. Recognize that you will not be in this position forever, and use this time to plan your next steps. Write down your short and long term career goals, including the specific details of what you’d like to see in your dream job. Do your prep work now; research what would make you the perfect candidate. Do you need to polish any skills or take on some special training to land that plum position? Update your resume, contact a recruiter in your niche, and start networking. You will begin to feel excited about your career growth.

Once you’ve implemented these tips and strategies, you may find the job you have is the job you’ve been looking for all along.