Work is one of the most significant areas of people’s lives. It’s also the area where people most often feel dissatisfied. The average person spends 40 to 50 years of their life working - too long to spend in the wrong job.
At some point - often triggered by a change in personal circumstances, such as a major birthday or a significant event such as redundancy - we reach a ‘career crossroads’ and ask ourselves many questions, such as whether we are going to continue what we’ve been doing for the rest of our working lives, or even ‘is it what I actually want to do?’ Anyone who’s been through this knows it’s a tough time.
Recently a marketing manager came to me with what he described as a complete loss of motivation, with his boss increasingly on his back. He’d had an excellent and successful track record, but doubted his capabilities and whether he was right for the job. We worked on his core values and motivations to understand his key drivers. He was at his best when setting strategy, being creative and managing people. His boss inadvertently undermined his confidence through his micro-managing style.
People are most motivated by their work when they’re in careers that reflect who they really are, drawing on their natural strengths and having the opportunity to employ their favourite skills.
With this new awareness of what contributed to his previous successes, my client realised he needn’t stay stuck, he had a choice. Give feedback, or look for another position? He gave feedback, but his manager couldn’t see the problem. He left and gained a new position as a marketing director.
To a certain extent, the degree of satisfaction you get from your work is within your own control. Think about what it is you want. Where do you see yourself in five years’ time? What are your priorities in a job? Are reputation and status important? Do you want responsibility? Do you have additional duties you could assume? These are all things to consider.
Feeling unfulfilled in your work needn’t mean handing in your notice and walking off into the sunset. You may have a job you’re happy with in many ways - but doesn’t fully satisfy you. It still may offer scope for growth. Evaluate what you have to offer. We each have a unique combination of talents and abilities. What are yours?