We all have the occasional bad day at work but what do you do if the bad days increasingly outnumber the good ones? If the pendulum has swung too far to the ‘bad’ side, when is it time to throw in the towel and look for a better job?
First of all, don’t ignore your instincts. We all have an inner gut feeling and sometimes that’s the best thing to act on. Ask yourself how much you really dislike your job. If you only hate it sometimes, perhaps there is a way to solve the problem without having to leave. Can you address the issue with your line manager in an effort to improve your happiness at work? However, if you know that you’re deeply unhappy in your current post and have been for a while, there’s no question that you should look for alternative employment.
Here are 7 signs that definitely point towards the exit route.
1 – You dread going to work every day.
Do you wake up every morning and wish you didn’t have to go in, or that the workday was already over? Perhaps you’re tempted to call in sick simply because you can’t face another day at the office? While it’s normal to be worried or frustrated on occasion, if you really dread going to work every day and it’s causing you undue stress, it’s time to hand in your notice.
2 – You routinely complain about work to your friends or family.
Does every conversation you have somehow end up with you letting off steam about your job? Do you complain about your boss, your colleagues, the company ethos or the ways it is (badly) run? If all your job ever evokes is a negative reaction, without anything positive to make up for it, maybe now is a good time to review your options.
3 – There’s no opportunity for career progression.
If you’re stuck in a dead end job without any opportunity for growth or development in your chosen field, or you feel you’re overqualified, you’re wasting your time there. If you feel you’ve get everything you’re ever going to get out of you current job in terms of training, skills and experience, invest your energy into finding another employer: a company that is committed to supporting you in your career development.
4 – The company culture isn’t a good fit.
If you’re stuck in a traditional 9-5 job and have repeatedly tried but failed to negotiate more flexible working arrangements to fit around your lifestyle, personal commitments or family demands, this could be a deal breaker. Better to look for an employer who is more sympathetic to accommodate your preferences and give you the work/life balance you need.
5 – There’s a consistently negative atmosphere at work.
A negative vibe at work can zap morale and kill any passion for the job. If you have a toxic boss, or colleagues who never seem to stop moaning, and there’s no in-house awareness that this situation needs addressing urgently, it’s not surprising that there’s no motivation or enthusiasm to do a good job, and no respect for the company that’s employing you. You may even doubt your career choice. Time to leave.
6 – Your opinion is not wanted or heard.
If you feel that any thoughts, ideas or suggestions you choose to put forward at work are not valued, are routinely ignored or actively disrespected, this creates an unsupportive environment that can quickly take a toll on your self esteem. You should feel comfortable to voice your opinions at the office in the full expectation that your input is recognised and appreciated.
7 – Your mental and/or physical health is starting to suffer.
If you’re unhappy at work to the extent that it’s making you ill, get out as soon as you can. Are you working such long hours that there’s no time for relaxation, healthy eating, exercise or proper sleep? Do you drink excessively to get over a bad day at the office? Are you taking as many sick days as you can get away with? Are you being bullied at work? No job is worth sacrificing your wellbeing for, so start looking around.
If you feel you would benefit from talking to a qualified career coach or a trained psychotherapist to help you deal with your unhappy job situation, please give KlearMinds a call on 0333 772 0256. Our experienced team uses a unique approach focusing on empowering you to fully understand the blocks to your success and how to overcome them.
Ancient Greece may not be the first place you think of when considering the concept of resilience, which is basically the ability to bounce back from negative situations, but it is the home of Stoicism.
Stoicism was founded by Zeno of Citium in Athens in early 3rd century BC and teaches us that we cannot control external events, only our mental and emotional responses to them. It explores how negative self-talk can intensify and prolong our suffering.
As the saying goes: ‘Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional’.
Psychology Today neatly sums up this approach: “By adjusting our thinking, and how we think about our thinking, we can change our emotional responses, the extent to which we suffer (or not), our level of tension and stress, and in turn, our experience of pain.”
But the Stoics are often misunderstood and equated with being unemotional and indifferent to physical suffering.
In fact, the Stoics did not recoil from feeling grief, anger or pain any other emotion. Instead they focused on cultivating a level of detachment and observing their own thoughts. They thought that human happiness could be found only in accepting the present moment, rather than by being controlled by the pursuit of pleasure or the desperation to avoid pain.
The stoics preached working collaboratively and treating other people fairly and with empathy. They stressed the benefits of logic, self control and inner calm, something most of us could do with a large dose of.
The philosophy contends that the way to be happy is to live a virtuous life and that you should judge somebody based on their actions much more than their words.
The Daily Stoic has this to say about Stoicism: “Stoicism doesn’t concern itself with complicated theories about the world, but with helping us overcome destructive emotions and act on what can be acted upon. It’s built for action, not endless debate.”
Modern self-help books talk about resilience and mindfulness colouring books fly off the shelves, but they are both really based on Stoicism.
One of the most famous Stoics was Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor from 160 to 180AD, and some of his quotes are inspirational reminders about living an ethical, self-disciplined and humble life and treating fellow humans with kindness and compassion.
Meditations, his only major work, contains some profoundly moving statements and exhortations to live the most virtuous lives we can.
Inspirational quotes from Marcus Aurelius
Many of his thoughts focus on the impossibility of mastering outside events and accepting them with grace instead.
- “The more we value things outside our control, the less control we have.”
- “You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realise this, and you will find strength.”
- “How ridiculous and how strange to be surprised at anything which happens in life.”
- “If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”
On acceptance and action: “Objective judgement, now, at this very moment. Unselfish action, now, at this very moment. Willing acceptance, now, at this very moment – of all external events. That’s all you need.”
On wisdom: “You’re subject to sorrow, fear, jealousy, anger and inconsistency. That’s the real reason you should admit that you are not wise.”
Back in the days of Seneca, Epictetus and Aurelius (all good Stoics) philosophy was about finding practical ways to live life, it was not as a theoretical construct removed from the reality of people’s lives, as it is sometimes today.
Seeing a trained counsellor can enable you to take a step back from your problems and help you get unstuck. Like Stoicism, it can give you strategies and solutions to help you confront difficult events and overcome pain, grief and sorrow in your life.
As Marcus Aurelius said: “No man can escape his destiny, the next inquiry being how he may best live the time that he has to live.”
The benefits of mindfulness have been receiving much attention over recent years, with many companies introducing ‘mindfulness at work’ initiatives to benefit their staff, including giant corporations such as Google, Nike and Procter & Gamble. But how can this practice make any difference?
The concept of mindfulness is defined as the process of bringing one’s attention to what is occurring in the present moment, and without judgement. The aim is to be fully aware of your thoughts, feelings and actions but without getting caught up in them.
Rooted in Eastern philosophies, the practice is based on meditation and has the following benefits for the regular mindfulness student:
Reduces stress and mental health issues
Scientific studies have shown that mindfulness has the power to change the structure of our brains to allow us to respond to stress in a healthier way. It does this by lowering the production of cortisol (the ‘stress hormone’). Mindfulness can be particularly effective in lowering the negative effect of mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, when used together with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and medication.
Improves focus and concentration
With regular practice, mindfulness can train your brain to stay fully focused on the present, meaning you are able to devote your full attention to what you are doing now, while minimising the impact of any distractions. Your mind will retain the information for longer, and the ability to approach each task calmly is likely to boost both your self-confidence and performance at work.
Teaches greater resilience
A mindful approach to the present can help us learn to appreciate the purely ‘experiential self’ rather than the learned narrative that we tell ourselves about who we think we are/should be. This can be helpful in the face of change and/or adversity brought about by, say, an unexpected life event, sudden job loss or major career change.
Helps to develop better relationships
Strong self-awareness, the ability to empathise and desire to behave with altruistic intent are important cornerstones for developing meaningful relationships. Mindfulness helps us to respond more authentically to people, which in turn builds trust and understanding – key ingredients for resilient workplace connections and collaborations.
Encourages creative thinking
Practising mindfulness on a regular basis stimulates divergent thinking, which can be hugely beneficial for creative brainstorming and ideation sessions, helping to produce innovative ideas and solutions for all kinds of business problems.
How to get started in your mindfulness practice
In order to gain the most benefit from mindfulness, regular practice is essential. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither should you underestimate the time it takes to ‘learn’ to become mindful. Here are 5 steps you can take to practise being in the here and now.
1 – Meditate daily
Find somewhere quiet and comfortable where you can sit in an upright but relaxed position. Pay attention to your breathing and listen to the sound of your breath as you feel your chest rise and fall. Do this for at least 1 minute and don’t worry if you get distracted – you will learn to notice your thoughts and let them pass, like clouds in the sky, bringing your attention back to your breath. If you feel that you need guidance, there are plenty of meditation apps and guided meditations you could try.
2 – Observe the world around you
With digital technology and the demands of a hectic 24/7 world all around us, it can be hard to get off the treadmill and just be. Mindfulness teaches us to focus on the here and now, on what is right in front of you right now, cutting through the din. Can you hear birdsong outside? Feel the sunshine on your skin? See children playing in the street? Smell the rain? Make a point of paying attention to the world in 3D. Whether on the daily commute, at the office or at home, really observe and sense the environment that is all around.
3 – Make it a habit to slow down
Rather than rushing through the day to try and get as much done as possible, slow down! Concentrate on completing one task at a time calmly and to the best of your abilities. Multitasking can be overrated – sometimes the pace and sheer volume of demands on our time can mean that quality of our work suffers. Instead of feeling overwhelmed and overhurried, refocus and gently direct your attention to the task at hand until it’s done to your satisfaction.
4 – Appreciate routine tasks
Rather than treating routine tasks as pesky chores that get in the way of ‘real work’, reframe the way you think about these jobs. Whether it’s filling in your timesheet, filing paperwork or restocking the drinks machine, release your inner resistance to the task and simply pay attention to the detail of the activity in front of you. Feel the warm water on your hands, or the paper between your fingers while you carry out this routine task without judgement, worry or undue pressure.
5 – Accept your feelings
An important part of being mindful is to not judge your thoughts and feelings as being either right or wrong – whatever it is, they’re just thoughts or feelings that will pass. On their own, the don’t define you, and they only have the power over you that you give them. Rather than letting a particular thought or feeling negatively affect your self-esteem, you can choose to let it pass.
Do you feel unhappy with the way you look, your job, relationships or finances? Are you feeling stuck somehow, unable to make progress on issues that are important to you? Whatever it is that’s keeping you in a rut, there are ways to motivate yourself to make changes and move forward with your life.
Anthony Robbins, Albert Einstein, Henry Ford and Mark Twain have variously been attributed with these wise words: If you always do what you’ve always done you will always get what you’ve always got. It’s clear that you need to make changes – but how?
We’ve compiled 7 ways that you can challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone and see what you’re really capable of.
1 – Increase physical exercise
If you want to lose weight, being more physically active is non-negotiable. In any event, exercise is good for your health and the endorphins released during physical exertion makes you feel better about yourself. No need to join the gym or do hours of gruelling exercise. Start with a simple 10-minute routine – perhaps a walk or jog round the block or 10 minutes of dancing around your living room – and notice the difference.
2 – Keep track of your spending
Many people struggle with money management. Whether you’re overspending or failing to save for a rainy day, proper budget discipline can be learnt. Challenge yourself to break your current financial habits, using a spreadsheet to keep track of your outgoings. Set a realistic limit and record every expenditure on your sheet. Try it for a week, or month, and see what you can learn. Have you saved any money?
3 – Learn a new language
If you’ve always fancied learning a new language, try tools such as Duolingo, a free app that’s fun to use. From Spanish or German to more far flung languages such as Russian or Japanese, there’s no need to attend traditional classes. Whether you’re hoping to boost your skills on your CV or your own personal development, the emphasis is on playful learning – from your phone, tablet or computer.
4 – Confront your fears
If you’re afraid of talking to people on the phone, or of public speaking, it may hold you back in your career. Whatever you’re feeling uncomfortable about, if you can learn to overcome the things you’re scared about and emerge a stronger person. Challenge yourself to set 5 minutes aside each day to acknowledge, analyse and face your fears. Be persistent and have courage.
5 – Take up a hobby
Broaden your horizon and do something you love! Whether you tap into your inner creative and take a painting class, take dancing lessons with your other half, or learn how to invest in stocks and shares, the important thing is that it’s not work. The aim of the exercise is to challenge yourself to relax, destress and stop feeling guilty about having fun!
6 – Invest in professional development
If your career is going nowhere, start building a bridge to a better job. Sometimes, what you know may not be enough – it’s who you know that could be opening the door to the next career opportunity. Attend conferences and events that are relevant to your profession and network with industry contacts to broaden your reach. Aim to go to one career related event every month.
7 – Meet new people, see new places
Whether you go travelling to explore new cultures, or you discover a new interest in your local museum, being open to new experiences will change you as a person. Take an interest in new people including those you wouldn’t normally engage with – the checkout girl, the homeless man, the old lady next door? There’s no limit to what you can learn about the world or about yourself.
If you feel you may benefit from professional assistance, Life Coaching can be an effective way to help you build confidence, while identifying, setting and achieving new goals in your life. Why not contact KlearMinds to find out more?
We all want to be happy in life, but at times happiness can feel out of reach. Self-understanding can provide us with a highly effective guidance system for personal happiness.
Identifying your personal values is an exercise which can powerfully increase your self-understanding. This tool can be used to guide you towards a life that is more fully attuned to your innate talents and desires, thereby enhancing your capacity to experience greater happiness. (more…)
Do you ever feel like you are just going through the motions and not truly enjoying your life? Many people reach a point where they wonder how they can have a more meaningful life and make the most of each day.
This is where a life coach can be useful, helping you find clarity and move forward in a positive way. Here are five ways in which a life coach can help you live a more meaningful life: (more…)
Clarity is something many people strive for. It helps us make good decisions, create achievable life goals and contributes to our sense of overall wellbeing and confidence. However, the road to achieving clarity is not always easy.
Many people have trouble getting out of a rut and breaking free from things like insecurity, a lack of confidence, or a fear of the unknown, and this keeps them from living a fulfilling life.
Life coaching is often touted as a good way of helping people find the clarity needed to break free. Is this an effective and viable option for everyone? (more…)
If you ever get the feeling that something is missing from your life but you can’t quite place what it is, rather than turning to external sources, looking inside yourself can provide the answers you need and bring the deepest fulfilment.
Have you ever marvelled at the way a young child barrels through life content and without a trace of self-consciousness? When you were young, you were simply yourself. You didn’t know any other way. However, as we grow and succumb to the pressures put forth by different environments such as education, family, work or friends, we can slowly and unperceptively lose sight of our authentic self. Instead we increasingly conform to what we imagine others expect. Eventually we can feel like a false, fictional version of ourselves which we think other people want to see.
By unleashing your authentic self, you can start to reclaim the things that will really make you happy in your adult life. (more…)
If you would like to discover the path in life that will make you feel happiest and most fulfilled, following in the steps of those who’ve achieved this, is a sure recipe for success.
People who are both happy and successful, adopt certain habits and principles which form the bedrock for their achievements.
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