Last week we talked about the importance of your Career Leadership  to creating a life of meaning and satisfaction. This week, our Director of Career Services, Jill Banks, has developed a post to help you to understand and address some of your feelings about your work.


Understanding What You Feel by Jill Banks

The statistics are stunning – a recent Gallup poll reported that 70% of Americans range from feeling “blah” to totally hating their jobs. As coaches, a significant number of our clients seek our services because they are one of those 70%. If you are feeling uninspired, unappreciated or unfulfilled in your current job, you are not alone. Most of us, if we work long enough, will have the experience of feeling that our work no longer nourishes our soul.


Finding or creating work that is meaningful and satisfying is one of the most important activities to our sense of pride and happiness as an adult. It’s a critical aspect of our Career Leadership.


When thinking about work, we often think about what we like to do or wish we could do in our career. Typically, we have friends, family members and others giving us suggestions on what they think we should do. There are hundreds of thousands of pages on the shelves at the bookstore encouraging us to follow our “passion.” Still, most of us don’t have a good idea of what to do when our work lives are not what we’ve hoped.


Today, I want to encourage you to consider your work satisfaction from another perspective. Ask yourself “is it the work itself or is it the work environment that I am finding challenging?”


My experience, through the years, has been that when people find that they are unhappy in their work, or are wanting to change their job, it often has more to do with the work environment then with the actual work itself.


Take a moment to consider your work environment and how that environment fits your approach to work and your sense of success:


–       how are decisions made and who makes them?

–       what influence do you have at work, what influence do you want?

–       what communication do you receive, how do you know what’s going on?

–       what is the leadership model and how do you work with your boss?

–       how are you given feedback and updates on your performance?

–       how do you influence your future growth?

–       what opportunities do you have to “stretch” and grow?

–       how are people recognized for good work?

–       how are people held accountable?

–       how are people given coaching and direction when their work is sub par?

–       what are the working conditions and surroundings?

–       what flexibility is provided for family care?

–       what training and ongoing learning experiences are offered?


Think about how you answer the questions about your workplace and whether what you’ve discovered about your work environment fits with what you know about yourself and what brings you a sense of pride and satisfaction. As you think about your work, keep in mind that your work environment has a significant impact on how you feel day-to-day, your sense of your value, and your passion about bringing your best to your efforts.


As you consider your satisfaction with your work, remember to ask yourself both questions – am I able to do work that I enjoy and that contributes my expertise AND is the work environment one that fits my personal style of working and fosters me being at my best?