7 steps to know if you really hate your job

job

Often people will think that they absolutely hate their jobs, but when you dig a little deeper, there are almost always aspects that they do actually enjoy.

The danger is that when you feel negative about something you can get so absorbed in the negative aspects – you stop yourself from seeing the light. This can be a slippery slope to what career strategist Zoeb calls job depression. It gets so bad that people can wake up each morning, dreading the day ahead of us.

If we step back from this negative spiral would we really want to crush our own happiness? The answer is almost always, no. So, the only thing we can do is ensure we are taking a realistic view on our work otherwise the issue can spiral out of control.

Below are 7 simple steps to identify if you really do hate your job or if actually, it’s not that bad!

1. Take stock of how you think about your job

If a family member or someone you respected was to ask you “Do you like your job?” Think about how you would answer? Would you break down and cry or would your few moans actually seem quite insignificant?

2. Become self-aware

Is your job making you feel down in the dumps? Do you generally moan to friends and family about all of the things you hate about your job?

3. Make a list of all the things you like about your job

 Take your time and really think about what tasks you like doing. Is everything really that bad?

4. Make peace with the fact that no one job will be perfect!

Accept that there may be tasks that you don’t love that come with the territory. But, will they go after a few more years experience? What solutions can you find to make them better?

5. Create your own work diary

Make a list of each task you do every day for two weeks and rate every task out of 10. At the end of the two weeks, you should have an accurate, rational representation of your job.

6. Consider what your unique skills are

Does your job allow you to use these skills? Does your job allow you to develop?

7. By the end of this process you should be able to identify one of three things:

  1. you actually quite like a lot of your job, it’s just that you were focusing on all the bad bits
  2. there are some aspects of your job that suit you but there are more negatives than positives
  3. you really are in the wrong job because you dislike more than 70%of the tasks you do

If you find yourself with options 2 or 3 then it’s time to start looking at a new career path. Read this helpful blog here if you find yourself in that position. If however, you find yourself aligning more with option 1, then you may be able to make your job work for you by focusing on the tasks you really enjoy and looking for resolutions to resolve the parts that you don’t enjoy!

How to cope with modern day uncertainty

uncertainty

Modern society is plagued with uncertainty from market crashes and Brexit, to the day-to-day turbulence of most white collar professions, nothing is known. This might be fine if we were not lumbered with a now redundant brain disposition, gifted from our ancestors, meaning we feel an overwhelming sense of caution and fear, when in unfamiliar territory. Obviously, we see the benefits of this brain mechanism for our cavemen ancestors. However, now it simply serves to cause grief and hinder our business in a world where uncertainty rules and important decisions must be made every day with minimal information.

So, it’s time to beat our vulnerability towards uncertainty

Why?

The most successful people are able to override this mechanism against fear of uncertainty and shift their thinking in a rational direction. This process requires emotional intelligence (EQ), and it unsurprisingly follows that 90% of top performers have high EQs and they earn an average of $28,000 more per year than their low-EQ counterparts do.

To boost your EQ, you have to get good at making sound decisions in the face of uncertainty, even when your brain fights against this. How on earth can you do this? Well, read below to find proven strategies that you can use to improve the quality of your decisions when your emotions are clouding your judgment!

1. They quiet their limbic systems

The limbic system responds to uncertainty with a knee-jerk fear reaction of fear. Fear inhibits good decision-making. People who are good at dealing with uncertainty are wary of this fear and spot it as soon as it begins to surface. In this way, they stop their judgement from being clouded at the most crucial moments. Once they are aware of the fear, they can objectively remove all of the irrational thoughts that arise. Allowing them to focus more accurately and rationally on the information before them. Throughout the process, they remind themselves that a primitive part of their brain is trying to take over the rational part. This allows them to stay in the game by telling their limbic systems to “Shhhhh!”.

2. They stay positive

Positive thoughts quiet fear and irrational thinking by focusing your brain’s attention on something that is your ‘happy place’. Any positive thought will do to refocus your attention. When things are going well and your mood is good, this is relatively easy. but, when you’re stressing over a tough decision and your mind is flooded with negative thoughts, this can be a real challenge. In these moments, think about one time in your life that made you immensely happy, no matter how small. No matter what it is, so long as you focus on the positive.

3. They know what they knowand what they don’t

When uncertainty makes a decision difficult, it’s easy to feel as if everything is uncertain, but that’s never usually the case. People who excel at managing uncertainty don’t lose perspective on what they know and what they don’t know. They gather all the facts they have, do their best to recognise what they don’t know. Identifying as many of the unknown things as possible takes away their power.

4. They embrace that which they can’t control

We all like to be in control. But this desire for control can backfire. Living in today’s uncertain world means you have to know when to let go. Successful people live in the real world. They don’t paint any situation as better or worse than it actually is, and they analyse the facts for what they are. If they don’t know something, they fess up to it and they don’t let themselves live in hear of it. Don’t be afraid to step up and say, “Here’s what we don’t know, but we’re going forward based on what we do know. We may make mistakes, but that’s a lot better than standing still.”

5. They focus only on what matters

Some decisions can make or break your company. Most just aren’t that important. The people who are the best at making decisions in the face of uncertainty don’t waste their time getting stuck on decisions where the biggest risk is looking foolish in front of their co-workers. When it comes down to it, almost every decision contains at least a small factor of uncertainty—it’s an inevitable part of doing business and of life. Learning to properly balance the many decisions on your plate and decide which ones actually matter allows you to focus your energy on the things that do matter.

6. They don’t seek perfection

Emotionally intelligent people don’t set perfection because they know there’s no such thing as a perfect decision in an uncertain situation. Think about it: human beings, by our very nature, are fallible. When perfection is your goal, you’re always left with a nagging sense of failure, and you end up spending your time lamenting what you failed to accomplish and what you should have done differently, instead of enjoying what you were able to achieve. This downward look at all of your outcomes will burst your confidence. So always look at the positives after your decisions and don’t strive to do the impossible.

Proven tactics to handle any challenge at work

challenge

It’s normal to feel nervous when taking on a new and unfamiliar challenge. Whilst feelings of anxiety are uncomfortable, without them we do not grow.

The butterflies we feel attacking our stomach turn into our seeds of success. So, the next time you think of running away from a daunting, professional challenge think twice –  because that situation could fast track you to your goals.

1. Take some time to get used to the challenge 

When you are first confronted with a new challenge, it can all seem daunting. You panic, you can’t think straight and you might even start sweating. This is ultimate panic mode. The only thing you want to be doing, when panic strikes, is taking a step back. So, take a break, a walk or ask for some time to think things over. Whatever you do, you must take time to grow accustomed to the problem. Once the initial shock wears off your creative mind will come into action but this can only happen if you give yourself time.

2. Cut to the heart of the issue 

What exactly is it that you have to do? Break down the problem, to such an extent, that you can explain to your mate at the pub. You should boil it down to the bare bones so that there is absolute clarity over what you have to do. Keep asking questions to really get to the root of the problem. Explaining the problem to others is a proven way of resolving the problem for yourself.

3. Put things into perspective

No matter how awfully terrifying the challenge in front of you may seem, you may rest assured that someone else has been through the same thing. It is important to realise how your situation compares to the rest of what you are doing, and how bad it really is compared to all the good things in your life. Plus, think about all of the even bigger challenges ahead. If you can handle this you will reap the rewards, so sit tight and start to embrace the wild ride.

4. Divide the challenge into smaller pieces

That one big challenge you’ve just been confronted with is usually a combination of smaller challenges that require small steps and easy solutions. Write everything down. Break the challenge into small chunks. Under each chunk, write your proposed resolution. As you go through these steps you’ll slowly turn your focus to the solutions instead of being obsessed by the problem.

5. See the positive 

This challenge has been bestowed onto you, to allow you to grow. You are very lucky to have this kind of professional development in your path and you should do your best to make use of it. The most successful people in life, take on challenges like most of us take on tea or coffee during the day. These challenges and scary situations are what allows them to reach new peaks of success. So, don’t hold back and do your best. Your future self will thank you.

 

Three ways to keep your cool at work

work

Remember how you feel during work, when you get a rude email from your boss, or when your co-worker undermines at a meeting.

Now, remember how you feel, if you face these irritations, during a particularly tough work week. Albeit, small irritations they are just about enough to push you over the edge when combined with everything else you’ve experienced during a certain week or even day.

There can be any number of road bumps in your day. And, these bumps don’t care about timing, or if you’re feeling particularly stressed or upset. Your first instinct may be to get angry, to snap, or to react. But, if you’re a respected professional, you can’t afford to do this.

There’s always a better way to handle bad moments and using your temper, is not one of them. You have to relentlessly remind yourself to keep a level-headed outlook when it comes to your job.

It might sound easier said than done but if you know you have a process, for when things get too much, it will prevent you from a reaction that could potentially ruin your carefully crafted reputation. So, next time something gets to you, try one of these three simple techniques for staying cool, calm, and collected.

1. Ask yourself how important it is

When our blood pressure rises, we lose perspective. Nothing else matters, apart from that one grievance that seems to have just turned our world upside down. So, you really need to be very quick to ask yourself; will I care about this in five years? Usually, the answer is almost always a definitive no. In fact, you will have moved on from this by next month. So when you feel your anger rising, give yourself some perspective.

2. Don’t take anything personally

You might think that everything is personal. But, if you really look into why other people do the things they do, it’s never because of you and always to do with them. Negative behaviour is deep seeded, so if you think someone is going out of their way to attack you, then it’s probably because they’ve been attacked by another colleague or it’s their insecurities or, it could be down to a whole heap of other possibilities.

There are times when you may feel like a curt email or snappy comment from your boss has something to do with your performance and there may be times when this may be the case. But more often than not, the people you work with have their own issues and stressors that influence how they’re interacting with the world—things have nothing to do with you.

3. Don’t feed your negativity bias

We are all susceptible to something called negativity bias, which means that the bad events of the day are more memorable than the good ones. But, just because it’s your natural, genetic, tendency to dwell on the negative – doesn’t mean that you can’t overcome it and reverse it.

You can choose to focus on the minor frustrations of your day—or, you can choose to focus on seeing the positives. Even if something went terribly for you, focus on what you got from it and how you’ll be better next time. Try to channel your angry or frustrated energy in another direction. Use your frustrations to fuel your goals.

Work will never be free from annoyances, but you’re always in control of your reactions to them. Don’t let negative emotions tear down all of your good work. A good reputation takes years to built (even decades) and can be torn down by an ill temper or snappy remark, in just a few moments. If you do your best to maintain perspective and not get bogged down by your daily stressors, you will live a happier life, be well-respected and have a fruitful career.

The efficient trick of honouring sadness

sadness

We are told time and time again that focusing on the “good” is the best way to deal with depression or sadness.

However, this does not mean that we should suppress sadness in order to only focus on the good. In fact, we should treat feelings of sadness with the same respect we give to happiness. We should honour sadness.

Many people put pressure on themselves to be happy all the time. This is not realistic. Life is not a happy cartoon. Distracting yourself, or even ignoring sadness only makes it worse. Sadness can actually be beneficial if you deal with it correctly.

Why honouring sadness is good for you

1) Feeling sadness is the only thing that helps release it

Much like any suppressed feelings, you can only push them down for a short period of time before they shoot to the surface, at the most inconvenient time.

Instead, bringing a spirit of curiosity and compassion to sadness lets you explore feelings without getting stuck in them. Become your own detective, think about why you feel sad and just feel it.

Notice where the sadness is in your body. You might feel chest aches, heaviness on your shoulders or tears. Accept these feelings and let them rise to the surface.

2) Unpick the sadness 

Think about back to when you started to feel sad. Is there anything familiar about this feeling? Is it triggered by something in particular? What early life experiences felt similar? Start to increase your self-awareness around why you feel sad and this is a sure way for you to understand how to cope with it.

3) Invite Them In

What would you do if you allowed yourself to just be really sad? What would your day look like? Ho much would you cry? What movies would you watch? Would you sleep? What would you be in your pyjamas? If you let yourself just breakdown, would it help? What would you be thinking? Or doing? Even if you can’t take a sick day, or literally have the sadness breakdown you believe you’re on the brink of having, imagine if you did. Don’t live in fear of your sadness.

4) Get creative 

Emotion unlocks art and creativity that our rational mind tries to keep muted. It’s a great time to explore what you really have broiling under your veneer of reason. Use this time to write, draw or play an instrument. Do whatever skill takes your fancy or whichever you have a natural flair – just make sure you do something.

5) Be kind to yourself 

Often we can make ourselves feel a whole lot worse by our reactions to sadness. Thoughts such as “this is pathetic”, “I need to be stronger” or “Just snap out of it” – are particularly problematic – you are not a robot. Embrace your humanity. Just like being kind to others in their time of need we should equally be kind to ourselves. Not only does kindness make us feel better in the moment but it also helps us to deal with the sadness in a more efficient way. Instead of encouraging us to surpess feelings of sadness it encourages us to accept them.

The absolute best way to deal with sadness is to honour it and who knows, you may find something beautiful at the end of your blue tunnel.

 

 

How to combat the effects of stress

stress

Thankfully, according to researchers at Stanford, a meaningful life is almost always a stressful one; the more we care about the things in our life, the more stress we are likely to feel. We simply can’t have one without the other. So, for all of those finding that stress is a daily occurrence – at least it means we are having a meaningful life. Apart from this statistic, there is little advantage to stress only a heap of consequences, many of which, actively reduce the quality of our lives.

But imagine if you could have a meaningful life, with stress (as we can’t have one without the other, unfortunately), that didn’t involve health consequences or unhappiness? Sound too good to be true? Well, actually, it isn’t – we have a lot more control over our stress than we think. Here are the best strategies to overcome the consequences of stress.

Change your thought process 

How you think about stress ironically impacts you more than the actual stress. Positive attitudes about stress were correlated with better health outcomes even when stress levels were chronically high. Interestingly just knowing you can handle stress is a way of protecting yourself from its harmful effects. For more reading on how to rethink stress, see Kelly McGonigal’s Upside of Stress.

Forsee your stress

Don’t let stress throw you into a tizzy. Instead plan when stress might hit you and foresee when it might reduce your ability to be as organised, eloquent or as efficient as you usually are. If you have trouble remembering things or spotting mistakes in your work during periods of stress be aware of this and make extra allowances or time to ensure it doesn’t impact your life.

Let stress motivate you

Stress is adrenalin, that can be put to good use. Rather than letting it crush you – use it to let you crush everything else. Knowing you are putting your stress to good use, or even thinking it benefits you actually helps you to avoid its negative consequences so, it’s a double win.

Social contact

Whether you walk with a parent, chat with your colleague or talk to your spouse during your commute, socialising helps you to cope and feel supported. Irrespective of whether you talk about the stress at hand – simply knowing you have people around you makes you feel stronger and more able to defeat consequences of stress.

Stress can be challenging, especially if you are career driven and ambitious. But, by simply changing your perspective, on how stress fits into your life, you can avoid its negative consequences and even reap a few rewards!

 

For more help with managing stress and anxiety, check out this useful anxiety blog.

Beat the January blues with these happiness hacks

stress

Happiness impacts everything you touch. If you’re feeling down at work, you simply won’t have the motivation you need to reach your targets. Instead of struggling through your work days and annoying your family when you get home with your persistent moping, inject some much-needed happiness into your life with these foolproof happiness hacks.

Exercise

Getting your sweat on, releases endorphins throughout your whole body, ridding you of your negativity and generating a mood filled with happiness! Studies have shown that exercise can help to alleviate depression. The best time to hit the gym is first thing in the morning to get your pump on before you start work. Think about it, is that extra hour in bed doing you any favours? Instead, wake up a little earlier and start your day right.

Turn on a lightbox

Light therapy is an effective treatment for seasonal affective disorder (SAD), this can be a major cause of January blues, but even if it doesn’t, experts agree that it works to treat symptoms of most major depressive disorders as well. So whenever you’re feeling blue simply turn on the light box for 30 mins to an hour and feel instantly better. To feel its full effects, use it daily.

Go outside and walk

Starting to feel down? Head outside to take a walk in the closest nature you can find. Science research shows, again again, that spending time in nature helps to relieve symptoms of anxiety and phycological stress. When you feel your mood taking a downward spiral, simply step outside and bring yourself back to the surface.

Citrus scents

Citrus scents, such as orange, lemon, and grapefruit actually draw out positive chemical reactions in your brain. Not only this but they help to relieve symptoms of stress. If you want a quick uplift at work put a few drops of citrus essential oil on your pressure points. You can buy already made mixes at any health shop. You can also mix the citrus injection

Buy flowers for yourself

A team of Harvard researchers found that keeping fresh flowers at home does successfully keeps away anxiety and negative moods. People in the study also felt more compassionate toward others and they felt a boost of energy and enthusiasm at work.

Take microbreaks

Research shows that people who take short microbreaks at work, to break up their work day, for example, to watch funny videos online, get a high emotional payoff and report feeling more energetic and happy with fewer negative emotions. This is a great way to boost your mood in just under a minute. Cat memes anyone?

For even more helpful tips read CNN Health’s blog, on happiness hacks, here.

How to make every day mentally healthy

healthy

Sleep, wake up, work. Repeat. If this is your daily routine, you may be setting yourself up for a miserable existence.

We have to take action and create healthy habits today, otherwise, our lives can pass us by before we know it.

Creating healthy habits allows you to reign more control over your life and enjoy each and every day.

Being conscious and enjoying every day encourages a mentally, healthy existence.

1. Wake up with mental space

Don’t start checking your emails as soon as you hear your alarm. Allow yourself space to wake up. Even if it’s only 30 – 45 minutes – this non-tech, non-work related space, makes the world of difference to your day.

2. Work out

People tend to feel more depressed when they neglect their bodies. Make sure that you schedule time for yourself to work out, even if you don’t feel like it. It significantly boosts your health, self-image, and mind.

3. Get lost in fiction

Whether you prefer to read or watch, getting lost in another reality can help to reset your mind and flareup your creative juices. That stimulation makes your day smoother by thinking differently, solving problems in abstract ways and, most importantly, makes you happy.

4. Write poetry or a diary entry

However you prefer to mark a day, just make sure you do it. Some people like to write poems as they find it easier to recreate atmospheres than write objectively about their day. Other people write diary entries as they find it therapeutic – they can also compare entries to other days – to mark progress. Both writing styles can increase your self awareness and appreciate for each and every day. It keeps your mind open to the small details in life and is an incredibly healthy habit to have.

5. Check in with your family and friends

Surround yourself with your biggest fans. Create circles of support around you. Validate your friends and family and also make yourself feel stronger as they support you. These people are exactly who you need at the end of a stressful or upsetting day and visa versa. Make sure you schedule in time for these important people.

6. Don’t forget to play

Going back to your childhood can rejuvenate your soul. Take a walk in the woods and just wonder at the nature around you. If you are blessed by young people around you then play and laugh with them. Or listen to music from your childhood.

 

The best ways to fake it till you make it

fake it

You’re told time and time again to fake it till you make it, and what initially sounds quite absurd actually makes sense. Some 70% of people report feeling like a fraud at work. If you’re not careful you can give opportunities away to the more confident 30% simply down to your lack of confidence.

Therefore, the “fake it till you make it” advice, is a safety protocol, saving you from yourself, until you realise your own worth.

So, here are eight ways to fake it till you make it.

1. Remember your past success.

If you’re deliberating about whether you are good enough to take up a new opportunity then you need to think of your wins. Think of everything you’ve done to get where you are. Write it down if that helps, just make sure it’s fresh in your mind and ready to remember when you need it most.

2. Surround yourself with people who reinforce you.

We can’t do everything ourselves. Make sure in your life you are surrounded by people who believe in you. Limit your interactions with toxic people, in so far as is possible. Make sure that you have enough genuine love and support towards your goals. Without this, it’s very hard to get by on a very low day. This can be anyone, family, friends even coworkers.

3. Exercise 

Exercise is a confidence-boosting natural drug. Before a high-stress situation such as an interview or presentation sweat it out. Put your power music on and don’t stop till you hurt. Not only does it help you to build your confidence by flushing happy endorphins through your brain but it helps you to mentally focus and not get so sidetracked by worries or fears.

4. Don’t forget your bigger picture 

Have faith that you are on the right path. Nobody is perfect and you are here to learn. So, if you feel out of your depths, think about everything you have done before and how capable you are. Think about your journey, where you want to be and how close every new challenge will take to your goals. Instead of feeling fear, feel gratefulness.

5. Give what you want to receive.

Validate other people and in turn, validate yourself. When Derek Doepker, the author of Why You’re Stuck, began his journey, he felt like a fraud. His answer was to identify a role model He researched authors, podcasters and bloggers who resonated with him. Go and tell them how much they mean to you – he advises, and it helps you find your own worth in the process.

6. Never let ’em see you feel like a fraud.

Typically, when we exhibit equanimity and confidence, it makes the situation much better. Think about how awkward it is to watch a nervous speaker? Think about how strange it feels to have an unsure leader? No matter what, do what it takes to fake it till you make it. Remember feeling like a fraud is normal and every scary moment will pass. Just give your best performance regardless of how you feel inside. Make people think you can handle it.

 

Are you ready for Generation Z?

generation z

Generation Z is about to take over the “millennial” hype. They consist of the generation born between 1996 and 2010 – and are set to make up one-fifth of the workforce by 2021.

Unsurprisingly Generation Z differs quite significantly, to their millennial predecessors and bring a whole new set of ideas to the working world. Unlike Millennials, who are driven by purpose, Generation Z has grown up through a recession and the fear of it happening again means they are motivated by money and security.

Their new set of ideals mean they will make waves in the workplace and if employers wish to retain them, they should respond accordingly. So, if you want to be well-prepared for the new wave, consider three core Gen Z traits and how they can benefit your business.

1. Make tech your priority 

Generation Z lives and breathes tech. They don’t know a life without it. To reckon with this new wave you need to make your workspace a truly digital environment. This not only pleases Gen Z but it also makes your workspace the most efficient space possible.

Forward-thinking organizations like PwC are making digital fitness (as they call it) a business imperative (read more here)

As a rule of thumb, anything that can reduce the friction of getting work done or smooth workflow is fair game for an upgrade.

2. Feed the Generation Z hunger for competition 

Generation Z is fiercely independent and competitive, They’re not afraid and even like some healthy competition with their teammates.

A great way to create cohesion amongst Generation Z and your team is to run some in-house competitions among your staff. Technology again provides a creative solution but equally, anything that proves their worth, within the context of your organization will quench their competitive thirst.

Investing in their competitive side could provide value for your organisations future. think about innovation projects or think tanks which, if liked, could see some incredibly beneficial ideas being implemented.

3. Design your space to encourage “togetherness”

Interesting statistics to take into account, if you really want to understand Generation Z, are as follows;

  • They have startlingly high levels of loneliness within Generation Z, which topped the UCLA Loneliness Scale with a score of 48.3in a recent Cigna study.
  • Other research shows high levels of anxiety and distrust among Generation Z, pointing to their social media childhoods and being raised during the recession.

Designing a space that encourages collaboration, openness and a feeling of togetherness will help this new generation to do their best work which may provide instrumental value to their growth.

Over the past two decades, organizations have paid attention to the unprecedented mindset of Millennials. Now it’s time to do that again for Generation Z. Getting the most out of employees does take investment, but in the long run, it reaps rewards for organizations who have created the perfect space for success.

 

Read more on this from William Arruda 

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