I read two interesting research lately, and it sucked my attention in:

First, Working from age 20 to 65 for 40 hours a week an average person spends 30% of his lifetime at work.

Second, according to Gallup survey, 71% of employees are “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” from their work.

Both figures are eye opening. Isn’t it important that you ask yourself some soul searching questions? Such as:

● Do I love my work?

● If no, am I taking time out searching for the work I can love?

● Or If I love my job, am I trying to improve continuously and be better at my work?

In fact, the majority of people complain about their job or work. Reasons can be many and not limited to:

● The gap between their passion and the current work

● Monotonous work that offers no more challenges to sustain their interest

● Terrible boss, high expectations and unwholesome working conditions

● Or the worst can be the stress of home mortgage and student loan payment, because of that you feel stuck into the job you hate.

Whatever it is, but it is our own responsibility to find happiness at work or the work that can make us happy.

And there are only two possibilities why you don’t enjoy your current job:

Either the job is not right for you or (if the job is right) you are not doing it the right way so that it helps you feel engaged and productive.

In either case, soon you lose interest from work and bring more stress into life.

Let’s take a closer look at both the reasons to diagnose the problem and find out the possible solutions.

Your Job is Not a Right Fit for You

1. You’re not passionate about your work

Imagine, you love to play a piano, but you are spending over 40 hours a week writing complex code for a banking application, working overtime almost every day. End result is not difficult to guess. Soon you lose interest and energy both from your well paid job of a programmer. Because your passion and profession are two different things.

It says “A person whose hobby is his profession, is the happiest person in the world.” However, we need to know the difference between our passions, and that which passion can be further developed to generate a decent living.

Solution: If you truly can afford, feel free to quit your job. But before that, make sure to test your passion to check whether will it fly or crash? Never rush. Set one date in mind to quit your job. And use the available time to research, experiment and validate your passion to re-launch your life doing what you love.

Sometime a blind jump hurts more and causes some irreversible damage. Always validate your idea to make an informed decision.

2. A Clash between Your Core Values and Work Expectations

Are you expected to achieve your work related target/goal by hook or crook? Even if it means to cut short or take short cut, which may not be always compatible with your ethical standards and core values? If so, you soon lose your centre and you feel terrible.

Solution: Always keep your guiding principles into centre while making any decision. You will be happy and feel proud in the long run for doing so. Remember, you’re what your core values are. Do not compromise with it.

3. You Don’t Know What You Want

Made a wrong career choice? And now you are stuck with this job that you don’t like but pays well? What to do?

Solution: First of all, find out what’s the unemployment rate of your country. Doesn’t that make you feel grateful for having a work to go to every morning? A grateful life is always a rewarding life. First, bring that shift in mindset: stop whining and be grateful.

You always can invest your current earning to reinvent yourself. You can either choose to go back to school or can develop a new skill, can explore your passion or practice a new business idea.

Once you find, validate and feel confident about your new option, by all means go for it. Such transition will be smooth, and who knows the contacts that you made at your existing job can be of help to get initial work assignments in your new venture.

Majority of us don’t like the work we do, but let that reason be a catalytic agent to bring the desired change in your life faster, and not become the excuse for self-pity.

Also remember that change does not happen overnight. We have to accept the truth of this moment to make peace with it, and then with a calm mind we can decide what we want and how we can have it.

Creating a dream career demands exceptional and enormous effort.

If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.

The Job is Right, You’re Doing it Wrong

1. You Don’t Feel Relevant in Your work

Sometimes, you feel left behind in terms of adapting to a new change or when it comes to contributing or adding value to your work expectations.

Solution: Technology changes fast these days. What’s hot today in the market becomes obsolete in 5 years. Always invest your time and money to learn new trends and technologies to feel relevant in the workplace. Early adopters always win over the challenges that a change brings.

2. Lack of Organizing Skills

Is your inbox normally full of unread e-mails? Is your desk full of files and papers? If yes, then your desktop screen is also likely to be full of folders, isn’t it? No wonder, why it becomes increasingly overwhelmed when someone request some important document or a piece of information. Sounds familiar?

In my early corporate career of brand management, my boss taught me the importance of organizing skill. He used to say, “your desk and desktop both reflect the status of your mind, you better keep them clutter-free and well-organized.”

So true, isn’t it?

The lack of organizing skills adds unnecessary stress in your daily life. By the end of the day you achieve less and waste more time. You feel clueless and sit there waiting for a clock to strike five.

Solution: Keep your mailbox, laptop, cell phone, desk, files and filing cabinet well-organized so that it serves you better. Spend few minutes to plan you day in advance. Find out your Most Important Tasks (MIT) and try to finish them first before they become urgent. Also leave a room for unexpected requests or assignments. Your organizing skills will help you feel more relaxed, confident and motivated.

3. Your Work Seems Boring

Every work seems challenging and interesting in the beginning, but it becomes monotonous with time. Our unconscious starts taking it for granted and we might even end up delivering lousy job.

Solution: The secret of engagement lies into an intersection where challenges and competencies are met.

In your work, if your competencies exceed your challenges, you will be bored. And when your challenges exceed your competencies, you will be anxious.

Therefore, if you’re feeling bored, either find a work that is difficult or create new challenges in the existing task that makes it more difficult. Your boredom will go away right there. Don’t believe my words, try it.

4. You Don’t Feel Competent

Sometimes the learning curve is too deep and it requires to go that extra mile to learn, deliver and earn the respect and recognition at work place. The thought of taking that extra responsibility feels enough to lose interest and confidence?

Solution: It’s obvious that you won’t perform like a star in the job you hate, and if you hate your job, why would you care to outperform anyway? It goes both ways.

Remember, your strengths are developed through your responsibilities. Take the complete ownership of your work, and give your 100% to the task at hand. Overcoming each hurdle and delivering expected result should be your second nature. Recognition, reward, success will come searching for you then, you won’t ever have to run after them.

5. You Experience Burned Out

Everyday commute in the rush hours to reach to the workplace (that job you perhaps may love or hate) to finish all tasks, meeting client’s deadline and boss’s expectations, staying ahead of peer competition, and in addition to that, your household responsibilities leave you exhausted and worn out by the end of the day.

You feel like a punctured balloon.

You remember to recharge your cell phone, but easily forget to recharge your energy level. You’re practically left with no time to cook or eat nutritious food, sleep 8 hours, or spending time with loved ones.

End result?

You lack energy to sustain interest in anything. You easily fall off the balance and feel burned out. You look for more time management techniques, but without energy management, time management will be a futile exercise.

Solution: Accept that you are not made to run at high speed for long hours. You need to recharge your energy level to get more done in less. Your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual energy need to be recharged to let you last longer. Eat healthy and fresh food. Focus on one task and work in a distraction free environment. Spending time with yourself and with your loved ones or being with nature helps you feel better.

Slow down. Unplug yourself. Breathe. Let go. Live life sans social media. Leave your cell phone behind when you go for a walk. Live your life every hour of the day.

Discover a bigger cause to devote your entire lifetime, and that cause itself will inject a new enthusiasm in you every single day.

Call to Action

Find time for some deep contemplation. You deserve the work and workplace that contribute positively in your life and motivates you to contribute positively (and productively) back into your work. If that means changing your job or attitude, do it with a lot of thoughts and considerations. Life is not worth wasting doing the work that you don’t love, neither ignoring your call serve you well. At the same time, hanging around with the work and not giving your best is also not fulfilling.

Finding the work you love or being a stellar performer by continuously improving yourself is the key to sustain your engagement and excitement in your work. You will be still busy and active but effectively so.

Good luck.

Bharat Jhala

Originally published at medium.com