How to Find Job Satisfaction
There is no shortage of behavioral directives. Whether it comes from your boss, the CEO, or the popular blogs or article that just landed in your email inbox.
- “Be a better leader.”
- “Communicate more effectively.”
- “Motivate others.”
- “Manage your time better.”
The challenge is that while we may have a good idea about WHAT to do, we don’t always know HOW to go about doing it. In the June Newsletter I wrote about letting go of the perfect job fantasy. Let’s got a little deeper into how to release the dream of perfection and embrace the reality of the present.
HOW to help give up the Fantasy Boss:
- Why is your boss like this? It helps to understand how your boss sees the world and the world of work. What do they care about? What are they worried about? What are they scared about? Knowing what drives your boss can help you plug into their concerns, goals, and priorities.
- Cheer success. There is no point in making your boss look bad or taking them on in a war because it’s the employee who loses. Know what your boss is not good at and figure out if there is a way to work around it.
- Know their style. Are they fast paced, thoughtful, eager to talk, or hate in-person chats? The more you can match your style to theirs, the smoother things will go. This is also a key leadership skill: the more flexible you are in dealing with different types of people, the better.
- Don’t kick the dog. Take the high road and don’t use a boss’s bad behavior to excuse your own. Stay focused on doing the best job you can. Complain to your friends all you want outside of work, but when you are at work, stay engaged and upbeat. People are watching and you never know what the future might hold. Poor behavior says more about you than your boss.
- Say something. The time to tell someone the truth is not when it’s too late to do anything about it. It does take courage to speak up and it takes choosing the right time, the right tone, and the right words to express your truth well and in a way that the other person can truly hear it.
- Don’t allow yourself to be bullied. It’s hard to stand tall in the face of someone who yells, is snarky, or criticizes your best efforts. Rather than explain or get defensive, ask questions and try to figure out what they want.
- Stop wishing for magic. It’s very challenging if you have had a great boss who was a mentor and a sponsor and now you have to settle for a bad boss. But you can learn something from every boss – even if you are learning what NOT to do.
HOW to give up the Fantasy Job:
- Every job has parts/people that pinch. There is no perfect job. Work always contains tradeoffs and compromises no matter how great the organization or the boss. Know what you are getting into. Don’t assume that you will be able to change situations or people simply because you want to. If you are clear about your priorities, then you only have to make the trade-off decision once – not every day! (“I took the job for the easy commute.” “I wanted a job with travel.”) Understanding your values means that you have open eyes about what you have to put up with in order to get other things you’ve decided are more important.
- Nothing is forever. Yes, things can change, but it’s also important to acknowledge when you are the one who has changed. If what worked before doesn’t work now, then ask yourself what you are willing to do about that and not what can everyone else do about that.
- Hard work is NOT the only thing required. Some folks think that if they work harder, they will get where they want to go. Hoping that the boss notices and appreciates your efforts enough to promote you and sing your praises is a terrific fantasy, but an upward career trajectory takes more than hard work. Even when you are working in tandem with your boss and there are clear objectives, there are other things that impact career progress and satisfaction. Be aware that politics, networking, personality, cultural fit, and the competition play a role.
When you can identify what is fantasy (how you want it to be) and what is reality (how things actually are), you can better determine what is worthy of your time and attention right now. Clarity about your reality and your priorities is how to find true job satisfaction.