While we spent a lot of time at work, it’s a sad fact that our jobs tend not to make us happy. A recent survey found that one in four people are actively unhappy at work, with nearly 50% of UK workers planning to search for a new job over the course of 2018.
One of the ways you can boost your own satisfaction in your job is to look at the difference you make to the world: looking at the way you’ve impacted people’s lives (ideally for the better!) is a great way to feel the satisfaction of a job well done, and if you can’t find a constructive side to your job, it might be the time to look elsewhere and find a career that helps you by helping people.
With some jobs it’s easy to see how your work effects the world around you, but we’re not all doctors, social workers or working in community care jobs.
The first thing you need is a broad view: if you’re working for the NHS in an administrative capacity, or a procurement office for example, it’s easy to fall into the mental trap of believing that other people are saving lives elsewhere while you spin the wheels in an office.
What you have to remember, is that your work supports the frontline staff, and this is true in any job. Any army, be it one composed of soldiers, doctors, lawyers or dentists, requires enormous logistical support. If a single link in the supply chain breaks, the effects are felt right the way to the top, and it could mean a cancelled surgery, a missed prescription or a delay to a vital appointment.
If you don’t work for an organisation that as such a direct impact on people’s wellbeing you may have to take a more holistic view. Their hiring policies, tax payments or even environmental commitments may well be something for you to focus your enthusiasm on.
If all of that fails, it could be the time to look for work elsewhere: if you find the job personally unsatisfying and can’t find a broader social good to rally your enthusiasm behind, it could be time to move on. If you’re looking at a change of career, it’s a chance to do some honest introspection and think about what really motivates you. Is it the financial reward, the opportunity for challenge and career progression or the sense that you’re doing something valuable and worthwhile? If it is that last one, it could even be worth taking a pay cut to find the job that scratches that particular itch and finally delivers satisfaction.