Dissatisfaction with current job and how to overcome them

There are several key determining factors for job dissatisfaction. Often an employee can find themselves feeling drained. Here I will discuss this feeling and how to mitigate its effects.

Feeling Drained

While it can be normal to feel sleepy after lunch, or feel some afternoon laziness, some employees feel this way all day long. Arriving to work at 9am already wishing the day were over is a symptom of not only job dissatisfaction but also depression. It’s important to recognize these feelings honestly and take an inventory on our true sensation of happiness. Some ways to combat this feeling of being drained:

  • Identify changes you can make yourself – Maybe you feel too worn out after your shift to do anything except relax in your favorite chair with your phone. You regularly stay up late to give yourself more time to relax, but you find it hard to drift off when you finally make it to bed.Nutritious meals, better sleep, and physical activity won’t make stress magically disappear, of course, but small changes can still be key to reducing fatigue and preventing burnout. Improved sleep can certainly help you feel less tired, but regular exercise can also make a difference, as backward as this might sound. 
  • Leave work at work – You might feel more informed and prepared to deal with challenges when you leave work devices on throughout the evening and weekend or if you continue check your email after clocking out for the day. When coworkers or customers know you can always be reached, however, it often becomes close to impossible to fully “leave” work, especially when you’re working from home. If you’re always on the clock, you’ll never find the time to recharge.
  • Ask for help – When you have too many tasks to realistically complete without support, it never hurts to ask for help.You might worry that requesting support suggests weakness or incapability, but remember: Your employer likely wants you to do the best job possible. They can’t support you in achieving that goal unless they know how you’re really doing.When you have too much work to complete alone, an informed supervisor can help by reassigning certain tasks or finding a coworker who can assist you.
  • Spend your free time on rewarding hobbies – After a long workday, you might lack the energy for anything beyond a night of Netflix. Still, challenge yourself to do something different from time to time, particularly when you feel the most drained.Watching TV or playing video games might feel relaxing, and there’s nothing at all wrong with catching up on a show or two. Yet more purposeful hobbies can often feel more rewarding and leave you with a sense of deeper satisfaction.To feel more rejuvenated by your time off, consider starting a garden, picking up a book, or doing one thing to improve your living area every day.
  • Make a self-care plan – Prioritizing physical and emotional needs is an important part of creating balance between your work and personal life.Taking good care of yourself can improve resilience and strength, making it easier to manage challenges as they come up.When you feel physically and emotionally sound, it usually becomes easier to maintain a positive outlook and fend off the feelings of irritability, hopelessness, and pessimism that often accompany persistent exhaustion and stress.
  • Talk with loved ones – Keeping stress to yourself can isolate you and make you feel worse.You might worry you’re burdening others by talking about what’s going on, but think about how you’d feel if a loved one were in your position. You’d probably want to help them however you could, right?Friends and family might not have the ability to directly relieve your fatigue, but they can still offer support by listening and helping out in small ways, especially if you’re vocal with them about what you need.
  • Break up the monotony – Just as repetitive tasks can lead to yawning and zoning out, an easy but monotonous workday can leave you feeling drained and mentally numb. Changing up your typical routine can make a big difference. Some things to try: Switch the order of your daily tasks. Work on less challenging tasks in the morning, when you feel freshest and less likely to zone out. Save more stimulating tasks for the afternoon to keep you out of a post-lunch stupor. Be mindful. Take a few minutes of each break for a quick meditation, walk, or breathing exercises. These can help you feel more refreshed than other break activities, like catching up on social media or scrolling through the latest news.Consider alternative workstations. You could try using a standing desk or replacing your chair with an exercise ball. If possible, vary your environment throughout the day by working outside or near a window on sunny afternoons.Talk with your supervisor about flexible scheduling. Some people find they work better at certain times of day and prefer an earlier or later start. Other prefer to work 4 longer days in order to take a 3-day weekend.
  • Evaluate options for the future – You’ve taken steps to address your tiredness, but workplace circumstances continue to drain you, and your employer has been less than supportive of efforts to create change. What next? It may be time to consider another job or career, one that allows you to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Without this essential balance, the situation will likely only get worse.
  • Get professional help – Sometimes, lingering tiredness is just a normal outcome of working, but exhaustion — physical or emotional — can have other causes, too. If you have other unexplained symptoms, including pain, changes in appetite, or stomach distress, it’s a good idea to talk with your healthcare provider to rule out other concerns.

Positive Psychology

The history of medicine and psychology is a journey through curative solutions to problems we’ve faced along the development of our species. Cleverly, we have designed solutions to the problems we have faced, from depression and anxiety to neurological ailments. However, the solutions to our problems have all been rooted in the problems themselves. Often, individuals don’t achieve their maximum potential of wellbeing or contentment because the tools prescribed to obtain these goals are designed to treat illness, rather than boost already healthy individuals.

As a result, this curative approach only maintains a level of happiness preventing us from achieving new levels of personal success and joy. Recently, new approaches to preventive medicine have shown a great deal of promise in fields like nutrition, exercise, mindfulness, heart rate variability, even more esoteric fields like parasympathetic nervous system engagement, polyvagal theory and biofeedback have shown clinical efficacy in reducing anxiety and depression, increasing happiness and pleasure.

The new trend in preventive mental health is treatment for the healthy individual. A landmark theory by psychologist Abraham Maslow described what he called a hierarchy of needs. Our first needs are survival and safety, once those needs are met, we seek to fill our needs for love and belonging, when those needs are met, our need to create a sense of esteem, self respect through accomplishment and mastery. The highest level of Maslow’s pyramid of needs is called self actualization. This is almost a spiritual need, where Maslow envisioned the individual discovering his true nature, his higher self, spirit guide or what he called full integration of all aspects of the self. He explained that a person achieves this level of need fulfillment through transcendental ‘peak experiences’ that defy normal mundane sensations. The key to happiness it would seem is through developing a larger sense of self by overcoming the trappings of physical needs.

Another very important aspect of happiness is social engagement. Clinical studies show that individuals with greater social connections have longer, happier lives with less disease, pain and depression. Social engagement itself seems to have a happiness effect, but it can also be targeted and tailored for maximum impact; its not just about likes on social media but the connection that forms between people who share common interests, goals and passions. In fact it is precisely this kind of connection that deepens a relationship and the depth of a relationship, the degree of shared feelings is directly related to a sense of wellbeing and personal happiness.

Another fascinating aspect of the pursuit of happiness is the concept of mindfulness based practices. Mindfulness has origins in ancient Buddhist philosophy; the main principle is non-judgmental awareness of the present moment. This can lead to a sense of separation between the individual and their thoughts. Often, our anxieties are fed by our identification with our thoughts. When someone is able to come to the realization that their thoughts do not define them, a sense of happiness unfolds. This happiness can stem from a sense of freedom from the trappings of physical needs, keeping up with the demands of a mind with tasks and goals that distract itself from a larger more joyful integration of the self. Even more, once a sense of separation from thoughts is built and reinforced, an intriguing new sensation can be detected. This new sensation is that of being an observer of the minds parade of thoughts. Over time, when an individual can identify with the observer of the mind rather than the mind itself, the question naturally arises, which one am I? If I am not the thoughts, nor the the thinker of these thoughts but merely an observer, then who am I truly? This is one path to what Maslow calls self actualization identification with the higher self and becomes a spiritual path to happiness.

Brene Brown on the importance of social engagement

University of Houston based Professor and social worker Brene Brown has written more than a dozen books and hosts a podcast about happiness and how to grow it. She is widely known for her appearances on television, podcasts and her research into vulnerability, courage, shame, and empathy. She is one of the leading proponent of Grounded Theory.

(From WikiPedia, Grounded theory is a systematic methodology that has been largely, but not exclusively, applied to qualitative research conducted by social scientists. The methodology involves the construction of hypotheses and theories through the collecting and analysis of data.[1][2][3] Grounded theory involves the application of inductive reasoning. The methodology contrasts with the hypothetico-deductive model used in traditional scientific research.

A study based on grounded theory is likely to begin with a question, or even just with the collection of qualitative data. As researchers review the data collected, ideas or concepts become apparent to the researchers. These ideas/concepts are said to “emerge” from the data. The researchers tag those ideas/concepts with codes that succinctly summarize the ideas/concepts. As more data are collected, and re-reviewed, codes can be grouped into higher-level concepts, and then into categories. These categories may become the basis of a hypothesis or a new theory. Thus, grounded theory is quite different from the traditional scientific model of research, where the researcher chooses an existing theoretical framework, develops one or more hypotheses derived from that framework, and only then collects data for the purpose of assessing the validity of the hypotheses.[4])

Brene Brown, in her most popular TED talk discusses the impact of shame on human behavior and how it is the single greatest factor in human development, as a deterrent from anti-social behaviors and is the underlying emotion that drives individuals to its opposite, social connections. In a recent Forbes interview, she stated “one core variable that magnifies our compulsion to sort ourselves into factions while at the same time cutting ourselves off from real connection with other people, my answer would be fear. Fear of vulnerability. Fear of getting hurt. Fear of the pain of disconnection. Fear of criticism and failure. Fear of conflict. Fear of not measuring up. When we ignore fear and deny vulnerability, fear grows and metastasizes. We move away from a belief in common humanity and unifying change and move into blame and shame. We will do anything that gives us a sense of more certainty and we will give our power to anyone who can promise easy answers and give us an enemy to blame.”

The importance of social connection in happiness cannot be overestimated. Neurochemically, it is the greatest source of both Serotonin and Dopamine production, responsible for our senses of pleasure and happiness. It is the foundation of all family systems and the basis for an individuals sense of support in the world.

Self Care

According to the International Self-Care Foundation, Self-Care is what people do for themselves to establish and maintain health, and to prevent and deal with illness. It is a broad concept encompassing hygiene (general and personal), nutrition (type and quality of food eaten), lifestyle (sporting activities, leisure etc), environmental factors (living conditions, social habits, etc.) socio-economic factors (income level, cultural beliefs, etc.) and self-medication.

There are 7 pillars of self care which describe the fundamental aspects of this practice.

  1. Health literacy – includes: the capacity of individuals to obtain, process and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions. This could also be described as psychoeducation, becoming knowledgeable about the processes involved in mental health and some basic principles described in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. The idea here is that information is the primary tool to claim better care and higher quality of life
  1. Mental Wellbeing – includes: knowing your body mass index (BMI), cholesterol level, blood pressure; engaging in health screening. Mental wellbeing means more than simply understanding one’s vital signs, also understanding how to control them and promote greater sense of comfort and peace, using gentle discipline and rewards for positive reinforcement.
  2. Physical activity – practicing moderate intensity physical activity such as walking, cycling, or participating in sports at a desirable frequency. Exercise is a key factor in self care; the body must be active for the mind to be happy.
  3. Healthy eating – includes: having a nutritious, balanced diet with appropriate levels of calorie intake.There have been documented links between food and mood, more importantly, the milieu within which hormones, neurotransmitters and immune system operate is based on the quality of the caloric intake of the individual.
  4. Risk avoidance or mitigation – includes: quitting tobacco, limiting alcohol use, getting vaccinated, practicing safe sex, using sunscreens. Many behaviors which can be self destructive are mal-adaptive, meaning they are coping mechanisms created by the individual to process adjustment and adapt to change. When these behaviors are healthy, there is no problem but sometimes these behaviors can be destructive and are considered maladaptions.
  5. Good hygiene – includes: washing hands regularly, brushing teeth, washing food.This aspect of self care has been highlighted recently due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Early in 2020 the CDC recommended handwashing for 20 seconds several times per day to avoid the spread of disease. Self care includes good hygiene and proper care for the body.
  6. Rational and responsible use of products, services, diagnostics and medicines – includes: being aware of dangers, using responsibly when necessary. Responsible use of medications, supplements and vitamins can make an individual feel not only healthy but also increase wellness.