86% of people reported overall job satisfaction, but only 34% identify as very satisfied with opportunities to use their skills and 24% self-report as very satisfied with their compensation. Something seems off with those numbers, so let me ask you a question.
Do you like what you do every day?
By that I mean could you see yourself getting up and doing the same routine every day – same commute working with the same people, doing the same kind of work for the rest of your career, for the same pay with modest increases along the way?
Take a second or two to think before you answer that, because if you have panic attacks every Sunday night, find yourself snapping at people Monday-Thursday, or can’t wait until your next vacation, you should be answering that question with an immediate “NO! I HATE my job!”.
Liking your job vs. loving your job
Notice I used the word “like” instead of “love” in the first line. I know some people out there challenge everyone to love their jobs, but a big part of me feels like if you don’t hate your job, you’re in better shape than a lot of people. Don’t get me wrong. I would still want to help people if it wasn’t my job, but it would look a little different if I didn’t need the income attached to it. Maybe you can chalk this perspective of work being “just work” up to my even-keeled demeanor. Or maybe you can chalk it up to my fear of being poor again. Either way, if you’re anything like me, the result is you put up with WAY more nonsense than necessary for your job.
While back in an unpleasant job situation may accelerate your motivation to make a change, you don’t have to hate your job to want better for yourself.
What I realized after getting some years and a variety of work experiences under my belt is that like and love also play a role in how you go about navigating your career. Whether or not you like (or tolerate in some cases) your job keeps you from making a knee-jerk decision to walk out one day and never come back. Love determines whether or not you perpetually look out for the next best thing that can get you closer to that love until you finally find it. Love of your job drives whether or not you entertain a random call from a corporate recruiter or Linkedin message from a headhunter.
The sad thing is sometimes you love a job that doesn’t love you back. That unrequited love may also cause the grumbling of that small voice that keeps nudging you toward something but hadn’t quite interpreted yet. Maybe you’re underpaid and want to get an outside offer to negotiate a better deal. Or maybe you have some decent experience but feel like you don’t have the academic or professional pedigree to continue progressing your career the way you want.
Stop fearing change – it’s not a “four-letter word”
Whether or not you’ve made up in your mind that you want to see if you can find greener pastures elsewhere or try to broker an upgrade to your work arrangement, one thing is certain, you need to make a change.
And here’s my challenge to you. Now that you’ve finally deciphered the feelings you’ve been having, what are you going to do to fix them? Admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery but means nothing without taking the next step.