It's 6 o'clock the morning after Labor Day. Your alarm goes off. You bang around your night stand until you find it and shut it off. As you wake up, are you excited about going back to work? Or is that "Not again!" knot bulging in your stomach?
If you're thinking, "Not again!" you're not alone, though Americans’ satisfaction with their work has improved in recent years.
In 2017, for the first time in more than a decade, a majority of U.S. workers were satisfied with their jobs. And things got better in 2018.
According to data from the Conference Board, job satisfaction reached 51% in 2018, up from 50.8% in 2017, 49.6% in 2016. Prior to the last two years, the satisfaction index had not been above the 50% threshold since 2005.
And job satisfaction is far below the 61.1% who liked their jobs in 1987 and the 58.6% who said they did in 1995.
Life coach, best-selling author and professional speaker Dr. Joey Faucette, who has coached thousands of business people, suggests asking yourself the following questions to help identify why you wake up with that "Not again!" knot in your stomach the morning after Labor Day.
- "Am I bored?" Is it the "same job, different day" for you? Do you wonder if anybody cares what you do?
- "Am I overwhelmed?" Maybe you just feel lucky to have a job, but the reality is that two other people on your team were laid off and you have their work to do too.
- "Is my boss a psychopath?" Does your boss run "hot and cold," one day effusive about your work and the next day chewing you out for nothing?
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- "Am I worried about losing my job?" The financial pressure of spending what you make creates a lot of stress, especially with the uncertainty of job security rampant in American corporations.
- "Is my significant other giving me that 'What's wrong with you?' look?" Face it, no one truly leaves work at work. Ask the one you live with, "How's my attitude?"
How do you increase your work satisfaction and move from just making a living to making a life and a living? Faucette recommends a six-step process he refers to as L.I.S.T.E.N.
LISTEN -- The first step is to LISTEN to your life for passion. Faucette says, "If I walked into your bedroom at 3 in the morning, woke you up, handed you a cup of coffee, and asked, 'If you had all the money you could ever spend, what would you do with your life?,' what would you say?" Your answer describes your passion, that part of you that is excited and challenged by something significant that captures your imagination.
INVEST -- The second step is to INVEST in your talents. What is it that you do that you seem to have an intuitive grasp for how to do it? That's your talent. Invest your energy in developing your talent.
STYLE -- The next step is to discover your STYLE. Think of your passion and gifts as wrapped in the package of your personality style, that in which you offer your present to the world.
TERRAIN -- That's the inner work of dissolving the "Not again!" knot in your stomach on the morning after Labor Day. The fourth step of making a life and not just a living involves some outer work, specifically assessing the TERRAIN of your work environment. Is your workplace an all-uphill, rocky place? If so, Faucette refers to that as toxic terrain," a place that can be fatal to you. Your job may capture your passion, where you can invest your talents well, and respects your style. However, if the terrain is toxic, you have a serious decision to make: to stay or go.
ENGAGE -- The next step also involves outer work. Discovering your passion, talents and style and the terrain of your work place, you are now ready to ENGAGE the world's needs. For significance to replace dissatisfaction in your work, your passion, talents, style and workplace terrain meet a need in the world. Those needs can range from eradicating hunger to building a better mousetrap.
NATURAL SWEET SPOT -- Find a need that your passion, talents and style meet, align the terrain accordingly and you achieve what Faucette calls your NATURAL SWEET SPOT. Your natural sweet spot is when you are clicking instead of clanking. The difference is the same as the difference between when a pro golfer hits a drive off the tee and you hear "Click!" and when a weekend duffer mishits a drive and you hear Clank!" Your natural sweet spot dissolves that "Not again!" knot in your stomach on the morning after Labor Day.
As you L.I.S.T.E.N., you join the workers that others envy because you listen to life and make a life, not just a living.