Why do we go to work? Is it for the money, the people we work with, or the actual work we do? How does it feel being at work? How do we feel about what's happening there? These are useful questions to ask -- with our family, friends or other people at work -- to find out what it is we want from a job.
Different people will say different things -- what makes a job satisfying is a personal thing and can be different at different stages of our lives. However, there are some common answers that people give to these questions.
For instance, they say they want to be able to get things done, feel they achieve things, feel valued, be told they did a good job, have the chance to learn something new, feel they are making progress and are able to earn a living for themselves and their families. Feeling a sense of belonging at work, that their organisation has values that they feel comfortable with, is also a common wish.
Once you have come up with your own answers to these questions you might want to do something about the match between the work you do and the things you want from it.
If you find you have a really good fit with your job, ask yourself whether there are any areas you would like to extend or make even better. Are there new skills you would like to learn? If so, how can you do that? Is your organisation interested in your personal development? Is there training or coaching available that you could tap into?
Or, if your organisation does not see this as a priority, are there community resources you could make use of? Look at the courses on offer at your local polytechnic. Can you find one to match your needs?
If you find the fit with your job is not so good, try and pinpoint what you would like to be different at work. Is it that you always end up on the roster with the longest hours and miss seeing your kids before they go to bed? Or is it the way people treat each other that makes you unhappy?
See if you can find a way of telling your boss or colleagues about the things that are bothering you. You might then be able to find a solution that will work for everybody. If this seems too daunting, what would help you to change things at work? Maybe you could improve your ability to communicate what you want by doing a course in communication skills at your local polytechnic. Or perhaps a counsellor from an organisation like Relationships Aotearoa could help.
If there are parts of your job that you are unhappy about but can't change, try to find ways of managing the way you feel about them. For instance, if you work long hours or have boring routines, think about the things you are able to do because you have a job.
Or think about the things you really enjoy that make life worthwhile. It might be that the thing you most enjoy at work is playing cards at lunchtime with your mates. If so, try and make the most of it.