I was recently approached by a fellow young professional after a speaking engagement. I had just given a talk about my former experience in the traditional workplace. This new friend was asking for my advice about how to navigate a difficult team dynamic in her office that was making her seriously unhappy. Aside from the obvious reality that there is a disconnect in communication styles between the varying generations in today’s office settings, I offered some honest suggestions based on my own experience that I thought might relate to a broader audience. If you are unhappy in your current work environment, here are six suggestions to consider:
- At the end of the day, you have to remember that there will always be another job out there. If things get too negative and difficult to handle on a day to day basis in your current job, look for something new. You never have to remain miserable when you have been uncomfortable for too long (this suggestion is assuming that you have already tried to remedy your situation with professional conversations internally at work, of course). After unexpectedly losing a job that I tried every day for years to keep, I was able to put this realization into perspective.
- You deserve to be happy. Chase that. I have found that, as women especially, we have a tendency to guilt and shame ourselves into staying where we are when we aren’t happy, convincing ourselves we don’t deserve bigger and better just yet even though we work very hard and do indeed deserve the career and life we dream about. You have to be strong and stand up for yourself. (Also not easy.)
- That being said…no job is ever perfect. Each position will come with challenges (even self-employment). A lot of remaining content is a matter of training ourselves to stay positive and focus on the good, on days when we run into the bad.
- I have noticed (and also learned from my own missteps in earlier years) that respect from superiors is earned by dedication, discipline and results. It isn’t an automatic given, even though as young people we assume and expect it should be. If I had spent the first several years of my career arriving to work early and staying late, and churning out enough work to make myself irreplaceable, rather than assuming I was overworked and underpaid and deserved more responsibilities and compensation, my ‘trouble’ bosses and colleagues might have treated me differently.
- Challenge yourself to never be the victim. Be excellent and play the game so that you win. You are being paid to learn, and ultimately you will get out of your job what you put into it. It might not be ideal while you grind and grow, but you will always learn lessons that you can take with you into future positions or alternative career paths.
- Put your blinders on and stay as positive as possible; figure out all that you can on your own about your assigned duties, so that you consistently perform for your peers and your superiors. In the long run, quality will always speak louder than anything else. It’s what will earn you respect and the experience and approval you are hoping for.
An additional tip: On WORTH CONTROL, the podcast I Co-Host with my best friend Satchie Seidlits, we regularly address topics such as this one with candor and vulnerability. I encourage you to give it a listen if you are in need of some honest and encouraging lady friends to kick-start your day with a 20 minute chit-chat on your morning commute. You can find our show on iTunes, Spotify and Soundcloud. Click HERE to discover. Above all else…keep your chin up; grow thick skin; believe in yourself; invest in yourself; know your worth, yet be humble. Try to appreciate that this temporary struggle is only testing you on your greater journey, and use it to rise!