I have recently read somewhere that we will have spent about 40% of our time in life working by the time we retire.
That’s a lot, right? Ideally, we all would like our jobs to be as fulfilling and meaningful as possible.
In addition, as I had planned for Part 4 of this series on how Non Violent Communication (NVC) can help us deal with dissatisfaction at work, I came across an interesting article by Caroline Ceniza-Levine . It was about the only “acceptable” reason to quit your job, while listing many wrong “reasons” why you should consider instead not quitting your job.
Things like “if you feel underpaid”, “undervalued”, “not challenged enough”, “when your values are out of alignment”, “when the environment (boss, organization, culture, …) no longer fits”, “work/life balance feels out of alignment”, etc., etc.…
And that is clearly related the point I would like to make here.
Many of us tend to expect a lot out of our work. In other words, using Non Violent Communication (NVC) terminology and framework, we expect our jobs to fulfill most (if not all) of our needs!
And that is a lot to ask from our job, employers, boss and/or colleagues don’t you think?
The result is that sometimes when we feel incomplete or dissatisfied by our lives (we may not always necessarily know why, but there is that imperceptible feeling inside of us), we will blame it on our job and employers!
We expect our jobs to be the sole source of expressing our creativity, of fulfilling our needs for connection, spirituality, purpose, fun, recognition, you name it, …
And we all know what expectations produce most of the time as they all share one common characteristic: they are rarely all met
Where NVC can be so helpful is that it will lead us to get clear about our needs. In doing so, we gain greater clarity about our needs that are fulfilled at work, and those that are not.
I work out of France as a manager in a large US-based IT company, and recently became also a Professional Coach (Erickson College). Coaching, and in particular the type of coaching we practice at Erickson, produces magic as it is profoundly based on ones values. As a coach, I have seen how much can unfold within people once they get in touch with their core values. Creativity, intuition, new fresh perspective, renewed engagement,…
And getting clear on our values and needs (which may take months, sometimes years) will in turn lower the expectations you have for your job to fulfill most of them.
I reckon saying “lower our expectations” may sound uninspiring, but the reality is that being clear about those needs and values genuinely fulfilled at work and those that are not will bring peace within yourself.
You will start to be grateful for what your job caters for. It may even be something you have always taken for granted (for instance, provide material means to leave your passion outside of work, or spend quality time with your family).
And more importantly, you will then be able to start looking for strategies to fulfill the needs that are NOT met at work.
Let me use an example. Imagine that your need for creativity is not met, but that your job is great for you to have a social life, human bond, fun, … You can then accept that a job, your job, is not necessarily the most joyful and endless source of happiness for everything in your life (btw, it may well be!), but only address certain needs. And then, you start looking at how else you could express your inner creativity (painting, writing, blogging, playing music, …).
And that inner understanding and clarity will make you a lot more satisfied at work, as a result!
I am curious. What do you think? Please share your view and own experience below, I would be very grateful.