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How to be happier at work
You feel down about your job. Do you feel like your colleagues are smarter than you or perform better than you? The fact is: YOU got the job - you were selected for it.
That's right - YOU.
Figure out what is causing this negative feeling. If colleagues are bringing you down, remember this:
"Insecure people are extremely difficult to work for because they are preoccupied with being found out."
- "Expect to Win" by Carla Harris
Make sure you're not beating yourself up over other peoples' unreal expectations or your own.
Seek opportunities to show your strengths, and if that doesn't improve your situation, move on.
Despite the changing dynamics of the workforce, your company may hate the idea of remote work. If so, they're missing out, and eventually, they will have to hop on board the #remotework train.
Here are 3 easy ways your company can benefit from having remote employees:
1. There are likely prospective clients and/or strategic partners in the geographic area where the remote employee is located
2. It may be an opportunity for staff to take on new and different types of work
3. They may be willing to work outside of traditional office hours to support your team in different ways and meet tight deadlines
Are you ready to get your team on board?
Starting a new job is exciting and a bit scary. The learning curve is steep and you feel like you're moving at a "rackabazillion" (my 5 year-old's scientific term) miles a minute.
HIT PAUSE. Take a moment to:
- Write down your goals in this new role and a timeline to complete them
- Speak with your manager about what you are expected to accomplish in the first 3, 6, or 9 months
Then, make sure you initiate a check in with your manager at 3 or 6 months.
- Share the goals you have completed, and tell them you want to make sure you're on track to get where you want to be by your review
Don't wait for your manager to do this! YOU are the best advocate for yourself.
Track your goals, ensure you're meeting them, and schedule regular check ins with your manager to get ahead.
Managing 101: Do you manage people? If so, do you enable them to do their best work?
If you're not handling problems at the upper levels to keep your staff out of the drama as much as possible, they may not be performing as well as they could be. As a manager, you should shelter them from the politics at the top.
Also, learn to recognize when things are tough at work or in a person's life and take action. You can encourage them to take leave and/or give monetary awards.
Their investment in you and your company will be priceless.
STOP! Before you click that easy-to-click, tempting blue "Connect" button on LinkedIn, check yourself.
Are you on the person's profile page?
If not, you will not be able to send a personal message when you click that "Connect" button.
Don't lose the opportunity to tell the person:
- why you want to connect with them;
- a short description of you; and
- that you would love their advice about X, or ask if they'd be willing to look at your resume.
SO FEW people write a personal note. That blue button is just too tempting.
Join the minority and send a personal note! You are almost guaranteed to get more responses and start conversations.
Is someone on your team underperforming?
They may not be using their innate strengths and talents in their job.
Recently, several managers told me they moved someone who wasn't doing well into a different role and the person's performance took a 180 degree turn!
Look, you've invested a lot of time, money, and resources into training each of your staff members. Is there a role that is better suited to the underperformer on your team or elsewhere in the organization?
The employees that you help develop and align to the right roles will be invested in you and your company. That equals retention.
What step will you take to assess whether an underperformer is in the right job?
Closing a business. Losing a job. Ending a career.
These are major life events. I recently shut down my recruiting company, ServingTalent, and it was very difficult.
It was important to let myself grieve and reflect on what I learned from it. Here's what you can do:
- Give yourself time to grieve.
- Set your emotions free.
- Ask questions to reflect on lessons learned so you can apply them when making future decisions.
By the summer of 2015, Career Valet – my first company – had been growing each year since I started in 2012 and I had a few freelancers working with me. I felt confident that I could keep it going and add something new to my plate, which is what I did. And I’m proud Career Valet is still going strong today.
What did I add to my plate? I’d been asked by several people over the years if I had considered starting a recruiting business for US military and foreign service (diplomat) spouses like me, and I thought, this is a SIGN! Everyone sees this need, and I can fill it and tackle the massive problem of spouse unemployment, which is over 28%. And even better, I found someone who wanted to tackle it with me!
We went all in. Everyone was excited. I myself felt elated at the beginning as I drove my kids to school, took the dog for a walk, and stayed up late at night planning.
For 3.5 years, through several moves (including an overseas move) and having my third child, we trudged on. We had ups and downs like any business but we were growing. People were excited. Companies were excited. Yet, the more potential clients and partners we met and the more pivots we made to try to build additional business, the less we grew. It didn’t make sense. But the truth was there – companies simply did not want to pay for our services. We kept trying new things, but nothing seemed to work.
For a long time, I thought about shutting it down. But I did not want to disappoint countless spouses who thought of us as their voice and as their cheerleaders. However, I finally decided it was time to move on and it was far from easy to muster the courage to walk away.
I did not at all realize how difficult it would be - that I would feel disconnected for a few weeks, negative (very unlike my usual self), and down. I felt like a different person.
It didn’t feel much different from grieving a loved one. I was able to get over the business loss quicker, but it affected me in much the same way. And the same is true when you lose a job or a career, because it’s a sharp departure from the path you envisioned.
I looked for books or resources on this topic. There aren’t any books. Our culture doesn’t like to talk about failure or disappointments, or even depression often.
Here’s what helped me get through my business loss, which will also help you get through a job or career loss.
Allow yourself time to be angry and/or sad. The loss is a big deal. You pour so much of your life into work; it is a life event when your work situation changes. Be nice to yourself – give yourself permission to feel all the emotions. Go hit a punching bag, sit by water, binge watch your favorite show on Netflix. And don’t feel bad about it. Take as much time as you need.
Don’t dwell. Be aware. It’s far too easy to get in a downward spiral when something doesn’t go right, and let yourself keep plunging into the great depths. You should think about the situation so that you understand what you feel and how best to respond. From there, do things that increase your positivity. It could be exercise, reading, baking, or playing with your dog or kids. Mindfulness is big now, and it’s simply paying close attention to things around you. It’s very easy to do. Let yourself enjoy one thing at a time, such as listening to a song or turning off phone notifications when you are doing something so you can be in the moment. Take a look at the flowers blooming and the birds flying. In other words, slow down your so you can see what’s going on around you. You will notice that the world is large and there’s a lot going on that you can and cannot see. In truth, there are problems much bigger than yours.
Be around people who care about you and make you feel good. This is important. Even if you are an introvert, you shouldn’t go this alone. Surround yourself with people who understand your challenge and will listen. They will encourage you to take care of yourself, which is often something we forget when the going gets tough.
Reflect. Once some of the sharper emotions begin to pass, get out a paper and pencil. Marketing coach Stephanie Ward of Firefly Coaching encouraged me to ask myself the following questions and save it for the future to refer back to when needed.
Why did I start my business?
What went wrong?
What lessons can I take with me and apply to my other business and my life?
If you’ve experienced job loss, you can ask yourself similar questions.
What am I most proud of doing in my last job?
What are my favorite things I’ve done at work?
What lessons can I take with me and apply to my next career step and my life?
Most importantly, remember that this acute feeling won’t last forever. Do what you need to do and then get back on track by surrounding yourself with the people you love most and reflecting on the experience you had. You’ll be back to positive in no time.