Frustrated in work? Tips to refocus!

By Sally Evans

Many things affect how much we enjoy our job and how we might rate our job satisfaction. Some of these are easier to control and change than others.

But what if I said to you that often our job satisfaction is less about the job itself and more about how we feel about ourselves?

Core personal traits, called self-evaluation traits are the fundamental qualities that we believe in ourselves and how developed they are may well impact how much we are enjoying our job! These traits are self-esteem; our belief about our abilities to cope and fulfil job demands; feeling like we can control situations and finally our emotional agility.

In other words, people who believe that they can cope under pressure, meet deadlines and workloads and perform well tend to report higher job satisfaction. So, building up personal confidence in these areas can really help how we feel about our jobs.

Another way to increase our job satisfaction is to find meaning in what our job entails. To do this, discover who your job impacts. Reach out to your customers to find out how your work affects them and what you’ve done well and stay in regular contact. Getting good feedback can really boost your self-esteem.

Why not ask yourself what parts of your job you find interesting and why. Go back to the beginning by looking at why you took the job in the first place and why you have remained in this position. Reflecting may well help you see what you enjoyed about your job and what needs to change?

Did you know that our own life satisfaction can also impact how we feel about our jobs? The link between job and life satisfaction is an important one. Knowing that life satisfaction plays an important role, what can we put into place to increase our life satisfaction?

First, let's go back to basics, and make sure to satisfy your basic needs first. Get enough sleep, eat healthily, take downtime to recharge, exercise regularly, spend time outdoors, and see your friends and family. All of these basic needs are so important for our mental and physical health and all contribute to our life satisfaction, so getting them right may help improve work satisfaction too.

Next, developing mindfulness habits to help cope with any stress and anxiety. Mindfulness can help us feel more relaxed and as we have mentioned before is associated with fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression. So taking time to undertake mindfulness or yoga, activities that calm you, can really help us feel better about life and help us manage our work better too. 

At some point though, if you are frustrated by your work or job, you may need to ask yourself what is meaningful to you and why you want to pursue a particular career path or role. You could start by asking yourself:

Why am I on this career path? Why am I really doing this role?

If your answer to this question is about someone else, then you should re-evaluate your decisions to determine if they are in line with your interests. 

For example, if you answer, 'because my parents thought it was a good idea,' or 'because my manager encouraged it', then you might be going down a path that is at odds with your own aspirations and interests. Aligning your own career goals with your current work is one step toward job satisfaction. 

Even though feeling dissatisfied with our job is a common feeling, there is hope! It really is possible to have job satisfaction by looking at the ways we think and feel about ourselves, the nature of our work, and life satisfaction. 

Why not give some of these tips a try!


Sally is Founder of LifeBuddy, an Organisational Psychologist and Certified Principal Business Psychologist