Got the Monday morning blues every morning? According to a report by leading UK recruitment firm, Randstad, a third (33%) of UK workers are dissatisfied with their jobs. But while the statistic warrants concern, it’s not exactly surprising. After all, when was the last time you saw a packed commuter train in the morning rush hour full of happy, smiling faces?
Another report by online recruitment giant, monster.co.uk, may offer an insight into this widespread career ennui. The study revealed over a third (34%) of Brits will stay in a job they’re unhappy with for more than a year before looking for another one, with 15% soldiering on for at least 18 months feeling unfulfilled.
‘These findings say a lot about the British resolve, that we would rather persevere at something than be seen to ‘give up’ and move onto something else,’ says Andy Sumner, Managing Director of Monster UK & Ireland.
‘However, whilst it is always good to be sure you’ve done everything you can to make a situation work, you don’t want to make yourself unhappy. The right job for everyone is out there, so if you don’t feel like you’re getting the most out of your current job role, it might be time to move on and find something better,’ he adds.
But while it is unhealthy to fester in a thankless or unfulfilling job, it is advisable to take stock before marching into the boss’s office with your letter of resignation and embarking on a complete career change.
‘Think about whether it really is your career that you want to change. Be very specific about what you do and don’t like about your current work and think about exactly what would make your working life more enjoyable,’ suggests life coach and career development expert, Melanie Allen.
‘Make sure you explore all your options and don’t rush the process. You may find that you can make a change in a less drastic way, for example, modifying your existing job by going part-time and pursuing another interest, moving sideways, finding a secondment opportunity or getting involved in another project,’ she adds.
Given the average Brit spends more than 40 hours a week at work, job troubles can be a dominant negative force over your life. But they are not necessarily insurmountable. Here are six of the most common work gripes with techniques on how to overcome them.
Lack Of Autonomy
Randstad’s Fulfilment@Work report found autonomy at work was a top criterion for job satisfaction. But how can we gain more autonomy without treading on the boss’s toes and riling colleagues? Demonstrating initiative is key. ‘Be proactive and helpful to your managers – without overcrowding them,’ suggests Andy Sumner, MD of Monster UK & Ireland. ‘Try and solve any issues yourself first or ask a colleague, then keep your boss informed when something is completed so they can see your successes, rather than the problems you had along the way.’
Watch any episode of The Apprentice and you’ll see what a detrimental effect office politics and the actions of ‘game players’ can have on team morale. Difficult as it might be, the best way to deal with office politics is to trust nobody and avoid it completely. Resist the temptation to join in with office gossip or break confidences. Likewise, if a ‘game player’ gets a little too friendly with you, beware of forming an allegiance. Demonstrating honesty and integrity will earn trust and respect from your boss – a sure step in the right direction for promotion.
According to Randstad’s Fulfilment@Work report, almost half (47%) of those polled cited a sense of satisfaction in their work/life balance as the driving factor behind job satisfaction. So it’s little wonder the unpaid overtime so many of us have to endure is cultivating a widespread job ennui in the UK. If you suspect your time management skills could be the issue here, speak to your boss about going on a time management course. Likewise, if you’re struggling to delegate, there are training courses that can help with this. If however, you are simply being asked to do too much, keep a diary of everything you do for a week, make an appointment to see your boss and present your case.
According to a Government report, eight out of 10 workers would ‘not work as hard’ if they knew they were underpaid, with 90% admitting they would actively resent their employer. If you believe you are being underpaid, speak to your boss. But before you go in guns blazing, do your homework first. Research the going rate for your position. Make an appointment first so you have your boss’s undivided attention and choose a time when you have recently proved your worth with a successful project. Remind them that you’re indispensible and they won’t want to lose you.
Difficult bosses come in many guises: unappreciative, inconsistent, demanding, bullying, passive-aggressive, controlling, lazy… But while it’s important to appreciate the pressure they are under from above, it’s also important to understand your rights. The pressure you are under is no less valid and no excuse for bullying. Understand them by observing their behaviour patterns (knowledge is power); communicate with them as frankly and openly as possible – this can be quite disarming as no boss wants to be hauled up in front of HR; keep a record of specific issues and events – this will be invaluable if you do decide to make a formal complaint.
Lack Of Appreciation
According to research, the workplace ranks last among the places people express gratitude. So if you’re feeling unappreciated at work you’re not alone. Make an appointment to speak to your boss to enforce an acknowledgement of your work and achievements. Talk to them about the work you have been doing or any projects you feel you have made a significant contribution to and ask them directly for feedback. Explain to them that you feel constructive feedback will help you to push forward with your career. You might find it was simply a failure to communicate their appreciation rather than a lack of it.
By Georgia James, as published by The Huffington Post on 01.04.2014