I’m hearing a lot about the great resignation – you know, people quitting their jobs. I don’t really know where these people are coming from. Unhappiness at work? Is it instinct that when you’re unhappy at work you need to get rid of it so you can be happier?
The problem with the quitting strategy is it’s the opposite of empowerment. It’s toxic and shows a lack of emotional discipline and mental discipline. “I don’t like it over here, so I’m going to go over there.” The Gotta-Go Technique is a classic pattern and it’s not effective when you want a long-term strategy for life fulfillment.
If you’re unhappy, we need to focus on your level of happiness and how you're showing up in the world to influence what's happening around you. You need a perception of what's going on.
We need emotional and mental discipline about how we interpret those challenges that are going on around us. We can step out of the drama, we can allow the toxicity to be around us without choosing to participate.
So there's got to be some things that are working, and if you're unhappy, some things that are not. One way to do this is keep a little piece of paper and just write down as you go through the day:
AND – you match up all of that with like, you know, happy face, neutral face, sad, face, angry face, to just get a sense of what it is.
Ultimately, there will be some themes that will come out of that that can really truly help you look at your workday from an objective perspective.
What do you actually do during work? Gossip? Focusing a lot of time on things out of your control?
When we're in an unhappy place, the tendency is to go to negative habits as part of the human experience. There's a very high likelihood that you are going to end up complaining about it, it to anyone who will listen.
You have to get clear if you are contributing to a negative spiral in your unhappiness equation. Or maybe there are people who you work with who are leading the charge of the toxicity, and that's why you're feeling unhappy at work.
The only thing within our control is our own response. How can we choose to no longer contribute to part of the problem?
Do a situational awareness – what is really happening? What are we dealing with? What is good? What is bad? Whose responsibility is it in the organization to lead the culture? If you don't know the answer to that, that might be part of the problem with the culture.
If you’re a leader, you have to start inspiring a problem solving culture, and get people into out of the destructive stress spiral. If you're less stressed, then ultimately, how you show up for your team members is going to improve as well.
If you really take the time to dig into their real reasons for leaving, and you should you find that it's not the company they blame. It's not the location, or the team, or the database or the air conditioning. It's the leadership, you are 100% accountable because it starts at the top and it comes down.
Whoever is responsible for culture, bring it to their attention. Be professional but direct. More often than not, the executive team doesn’t really know how to solve the problem, and they don't have the capacity necessary to even be able to be looking at situations. Which is why you'll see a lot of big companies making the the commitment to give employees an extra day off.
But guess what… a day off will not change a burnout path. It will not change or fix a destructive culture!
Yes, the conversation may be uncomfortable, but a conversation is better than quitting, right?
If the leader is not interested in fixing it – you could talk to your teammates. if you have a leader who doesn't appreciate you, appreciate yourself. Appreciate others.
Recognize that if you're on a team where the leadership is not appreciating others, how do you become the appreciating champion? Start recognizing when other people do things good because maybe you can start to inspire little moments of appreciation and spark some happiness. People are desperate for being appreciated and recognized.
The other thing you can do is you can shut down negativity. When somebody starts gossiping or complaining, interrupt the conversation.
Don’t sacrifice your livelihood just yet if you’re feeling unhappy at work. Most of the time, feeling unhappy is sparked by an event, a person, or a negativity in the office – all which can be fixed!