Hello SOTGC community,
When I was in my early 20’s, my older brother gave me some good advice that has resonated with me through all the work opportunities I have received since. He told me that I had to look at work like any other relationship in my life. I had to ask, what am I giving to my work? But better yet, what am I receiving in return? If there wasn’t some kind of balance, then it was time to walk away. I interpreted his advice to mean look beyond the paycheck and pay attention to the value. What is it all worth?
At that age, I felt competent and confident, so surely I would be able to recognize whether I was being valued or not. However, I quickly learned it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day grind and simply accept certain behaviors as a norm, even if that norm does not formulate a healthy working relationship.
Over the years, I’ve learned to do a “value” check when I’m having struggles with work. I try to identify if the problem is something I can change, and, if it’s not, if it’s something I’m willing to pursue.
“Check in” by asking three questions:
1. Besides the paycheck, what do you enjoy about your job?
If you cannot think of anything else besides the steady income, start looking for other solutions. Often, we let things build up before we take action. Keep your options open so that instead of impulsively quitting your job, you have a plan in place.
Being self-employed, I still take this same approach. I like to explore new opportunities even while my schedule is full. I’m not anticipating the worst, just always conditioning myself to be better. Sitting comfortable is not always the key to long-lasting happiness.
2. Am I giving my all at work? What areas can I improve?
Be honest when you answer this question. Most companies will likely give you a quarterly or yearly review, and your supervisor will discuss these areas of improvement with you. Whether or not you are currently in a career that you enjoy, you always want to stand out in the best ways possible. In short, don’t give anyone an excuse not to promote you.
If the morale at work is going through a lull, inject some motivation into the mix rather than getting dragged down. Be in control of your attitude and make people match your mood rather than vice versa. They say misery loves company, but positivity has also proven to be contagious as well.
3. Am I being valued?
Have you been working late hours for months or have you recently implemented a new process for the efficiency and effectiveness of your department? Request a meeting with your manager to discuss your progress and compensation options. This could be anything from a raise to a bonus to a few extra vacation days. You don’t know until you ask.
Understand that value doesn’t always just mean more money. As a writer, I’ve found extreme value from certain collaborations and projects in terms of promotion, portfolio building, and creation of significant working relationships when compensation was slim to none.
When you start delving deep into what you are wanting out of your work life, the closer you will get to doing something you love. Since the minimum amount of time we put into our work day is at least eight hours, it’s a smart investment to do a little soul searching and figure what it is you value.
I’d love to hear what lessons you’ve learned in the workplace and interview you for an upcoming post! Send your emails to: firstname.lastname@example.org today for a chance to be featured!