I’d like to share a simple idea that comes from the work of a speaker and author Frank Sanitae as it is relevant to my work as an employment lawyer. I attended a seminar given by Frank Sanitae on time management several years ago and purchased one of his books entitled “Don’t Go to Work Unless its Fun”. The title I suspect is intended to be provocative and to challenge conceptions concerning how we should feel about work.
Frank’s position was that satisfaction in your work was key to a happy life.
If you are dissatisfied in your work, Frank offered three simple actions to traverse in order:
This first notion concerns the ability to communicate concerning change. Communication and negotiation are central to changing circumstances in the workplace. People that do not communicate issues of concern are very likely to remain in employment that creates dissatisfaction.
Negotiation is a key skill in achieving the desired change. Many people are afraid to initiate such negotiations and wait for others to open the discussion. This often leaves individuals languishing in dissatisfying circumstances.
Put simply, if you don’t ask you won’t know, and worse still, it may never happen. The classic example is a salary increase. Many people fail to open a negotiation; often hoping that their good work will be noticed by a superior and rewarded. This can lead to missing the best moment to ask, being the time when the work is foremost in a superior’s mind.
If you ask for a salary increase, the worst outcome is that the request will be declined. You are not likely to be worse off and can evaluate options in light of the new insight gained. From the discussion might even come information that allows you to achieve the outcome in future. The answer might be no, but a compromise may emerge. It may be that when particular goals are achieved the situation will change.
Often people overestimate the risk of adverse outcomes and this is what holds them back from negotiating change. A trusted objective person can be a sounding board to help you evaluate objectively any associated risks of negotiating for change. Employment professionals can assist with strategies for negotiation.
This notion relates to the way that our attitudes shape our satisfaction in life. I have touched on this myself in a blog previously. That blog discussed how the way that we frame problems with our narrative can affect how we feel about the problem.
If a particular concern cannot be changed, it might be that we can choose to view it in a more positive way, and this in turn can help us be satisfied. I applied this philosophy in respect of the work I was doing with some of my more difficult and entrenched clients. Rather than becoming frustrated, I chose to see it as an opportunity to assist individuals who could really benefit from guidance.
“I am personally of the view that finding satisfaction in your employment not only allows you to achieve happiness, but also gives you a good shot at excelling. Full engagement in an employed role allows you to give your best and most energetic performance.”
If neither a change in the circumstance, nor a change in your attitude can bring satisfaction to your work, then a change in employment may very well be required. Don’t be afraid to be open to other opportunities if you have exhausted steps 1 and 2.
Neither Frank’s book nor I advocate for rash abandonment of your employment. Instead plan and research your exit; give yourself the best chance of making the next employed role a role that you can be satisfied doing.
I recommend signing up to sites like www.seek.co.nz. Seek has a function where employed roles that meet your search criteria are emailed to you each day. In this way, you can watch for employment opportunities with minimal time investment.
I am personally of the view that finding satisfaction in your employment not only allows you to achieve happiness, but also gives you a good shot at excelling. Full engagement in an employed role allows you to give your best and most energetic performance.