A few weeks back, one Saturday evening, I was having a conversation with a close friend of mine. We were seated by a pool at a restaurant, discussing the ups and downs of life as we sipped on our drinks, and occasionally staring at the deep blue hue of the pool. As my thoughts drifted into how clean the pool was and how impressive it looked, my friend snapped me back into the present, as he began to talk about his frustrations at work.
“The pay isn’t enough, and I hate that there are certain colleagues in my department who get more perks and passes than I do, yet they are in the same job level as I am. It’s really frustrating, Makena. It makes me so angry sometimes!”
I stared at him, the resentment and disgruntlement written all over his face. I listened carefully as he spoke of the other frustrations that his current job was causing him. Like his plans for the future, and his inability to save because of other family members he looks after with his ‘meagre’ salary. (His words, not mine).
I empathised with his circumstances, especially because there was a time I had my own frustrations about my employment status. It is so easy to lull yourself into the position of looking on the outside for reasons why your life, especially the area where you draw income from, is not going the way you had initially planned.
Remember when you were desperately seeking employment after college? Your desire to have a job was all that consumed you, while you went through all manner of emotions through those frustrating days, hoping for the chance to get employed, and finally not feel so awkward during social gatherings when people asked you that dreaded question “What do you do?”
Many of us were very happy to ‘join the system’ finally happy to have found the security and comfort of knowing that our financial worries and anxieties would be taken care of. Some of us did not intend on stopping here, as we made plans, and continue to do so, to create better opportunities for ourselves, others got the job, and chose to seat in the same chair, staring at the same desk, on the same floor, in the same building, for years and years… but today I’m not talking about them. I want to focus on you who wants more from your life, but have been consumed with disappointment over where you are right now at your job. As always, I’m going to give it to you straight, no chaser!
Permission to be blunt: nobody put a gun to any of our heads to apply for and accept the current job we are in. We may have felt like we had no choice, or that it would be a temporary stop towards the ladder we are still climbing, but the fact remains, you made the decision to take the job, and you still make the choice to wake up every morning to go to this same job that you do not like at all. Of course right now you have obligations that have tied you down to it: mortgage, fees, bills, you name it, your job’s pay is handling it (with very little for you to play with at the end of the month!)
Perhaps you thought that your employer had your best interests at heart, till you realised a few short months later that this is not the case. You started listening to gossip from other colleagues, like people you were working with getting moved to higher salary grades, or making their way into plush new positions in the company. You ignored the stories at first, until you got proof that some of them were true, and soon enough, this news started to gnaw at your insecurities. And from there, you gradually started losing more and more respect for your bosses and your job. Your hopes and optimism for a better future quickly turned to irritation and dissatisfaction.
Or perhaps you have the proverbial boss from hell, maybe even several bosses who breathe down your neck every day. I’ve definitely been there, and it is not fun at all. I remember some days, when I would lock myself in the bathroom and cry in desperation, while screaming inside my head how much I hated the job I was in, or on other days, showing up to work deliberately late. Those were not pretty days, and I am glad they are behind me. Yes, some bosses can be corporate bullies, abusive and cruel. Perhaps you walk into the your building of employment every morning, with several knots in your stomach, wondering if you will make it through the day without the boss screaming obscenities at you or finding ways to humiliate you. This is an incredibly stressful position to put yourself in, which can also have you incur severe mental, emotional and physical problems in the long run should you choose to stay in such an environment.
We gamble with too much, giving away our power, our opinions and rights, and even our dignity just to keep a job that makes us miserable, and even physically ill. If you are in any of these situations, here is how you can start empowering yourself and actually living for your days instead of dreading them!
1. (Like the article title says) Stop Playing The Victim!
Stop pointing fingers, stop complaining, stop acting like your employer owes you anything, because they do not. Remember that you are there for the employer’s benefit. It does not matter what the HR policy says about employee satisfaction. You have pledged allegiance to the organisation you work for, and you must carry yourself as such. Chin up, soldier. These are the cards you have dealt yourself with, and you need to start playing the game strategically. Stop giving your power away, because the more you complain and express your unhappiness with your situation, the more you demonstrate that you are powerless to change it.
2. Change Your Perspective
if you feel like you have been closed out from opportunities within your place of employment, then the last thing you want to do is become resentful or disgruntled. From a spiritual perspective, all you are doing is blocking out great opportunities that could come your way. Your choice to focus on what is wrong will only attract more of what is wrong. Choose to cultivate a different perspective from your current work situation, like the fact that it is currently what is sustaining you, and that it is a stepping stone towards better opportunities that will either come to you or that you can create for yourself.
3. Make Your Own Plans
If you have none, create some! The greatest disservice you can do for yourself is have no plans for yourself and your future. All that does is keep you in a space of idleness, and that is dangerous for your brain. It needs a target, something to challenge it and work towards. If not, then all it will do is look for distractions and things to indulge in, like gossip or being on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter (name your social media vice) all day. Don’t waste your days because you are bored and unsatisfied. The one thing you will realise is that there are many, many people around you, including your co-workers, who are time wasters and drifters and will be very happy to drag you down the road of delusional fantasies and broken dreams with them. Don’t be that person. Find new projects to indulge in within your work, if you must, take courses to hone your skills in the career that you are either in or that you want to pursue.
4. Disengage From Office Chatter
I can never stress this enough. The easiest way to fall into a pattern is the people who you choose to engage with every day. If you are surrounded by people who have decided to play small with their lives, then do not spend too much of your time in their company, because they will infect you with their limited perspective on life. Office politics is the most effective way to either keep your career at a complete standstill, or ruin it completely. Keep to your own activities and do not involve yourself too much in who did what.
5. Find Your Push Factor To Keep You Going
It is very easy to feel disgruntled within an organisation and fall into a very uninspiring pattern of boredom and distractions, but like I said, none of that will help you grow at all. Now is the time for you to find a purpose, and interests that you can attach have a strong emotional attachment to, which shall be your Push Factor to get you through the bad days. If you have children, and you decide to make them the biggest reason why you want to do better, perhaps because you want to provide a better life for them than you had growing up, then put a strong, emotional drive into that intent, and make it your Push Factor to give you the courage and resolve to keep moving forward. Find a cause that is stronger than your fears and frustrations, and make it the centrepiece of your mind!
6. If All Else Fails, Create An Exit Plan
Our intuition never lies. When we have overstayed our welcome, our inner voice will let us know. You may have noticed that your job is no longer giving you much satisfaction, and that you have “hit the glass ceiling” in terms of how much more you can offer and engage yourself within your job. Perhaps it is time now to stretch your wings and expand. Nobody is saying that because you are unhappy, you should leave immediately, but if you feel that at this point, where your working is doing nothing more than draining you, then it is time to actively plan your exit and move on to something that will give you the satisfaction that you need.
A lot of people will complain that their current job is all they have, and that with the prevailing trend of scarcity within the job market, that it would be better to stay safe and earn a steady salary.
The problem with thinking this way is that it not only stunts your potential growth, but it can, again, cause a lot of emotional and mental strife within yourself. There is nothing noble about staying in an environment that is hardly changing. What you are basically telling yourself and the universe at large is that this is all you are, and all you ever plan to be: a person stuck in a job he/she does not like, and who will escape at every opportunity, only to return to the same place that is keeping you constantly unfulfilled and bored.
I hope these tips help you make up your mind to be more active within your current job situation. Remember that you have the potential to become so much more, but you have to take back your power and be willing to stretch, learn and grow.