Tag Archives: career tips

How to Find Job Satisfaction (even if you haven’t found your “dream job”)

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Even in the midst of your dreamiest of dream jobs, work can still seem like a chore. Something you have to check off your list along with mopping the floors and getting your oil changed. They call it “work” for a reason, right? And when you haven’t landed your dream job, or still aren’t sure what that ideal occupation even is, finding motivation can be that much harder.

But everyone deserves job satisfaction in their career, whether waiting tables at the very beginning of their ascent or as CEO on that top rung of the ladder. It’s all about attitude, outlook, and a dash of discipline. 

Not too long ago, broke and in debt, I found myself back at a store I worked at when I was 18. Seven years down the line, it felt like a giant step backwards. But by figuring out the tips below (and trust me, there were times I resisted them), I realized I could find satisfaction in my work…no matter what I was doing. This is the attitude that gets you noticed and helps you to make moves. Sure I’d gotten knocked down a few steps, but climbing back up…and then beyond…was so much easier when I enjoyed showing up at work every day and did my best.

So, let me share the tips I utilized to do so…

Being The Best

No matter what your job, you’ll always enjoy it more if you focus on being the best. Whatever, I’ll say it…winning feels good. Does this mean you have to work yourself to the bone? Not at all. There’s always ways to work smarter not harder, no what I mean? You just have to find that willingness to be ambitious.

I’m competitive anyways so I’ve always got my eye out for opportunities where I can beat people (in a gracious way! obvi.). If you’re not, think about the rewards that motivate you most and focus your energies on receiving those rewards specifically. I’m very motivated by words of praise but you might be motivated by public recognition or money or learning something new! Speaking of learning something new…

Educating Yourself

Even the poopiest of jobs can teach you valuable lessons for later in your career. Dive in! Seek out specialized training, put yourself forward for educational opportunities, and tap the knowledge of co-workers. I pride myself on being a life-long learner outside the work place so I relish any opportunity to learn “on the clock.” Depending on your job this could be anything from taking 30 minutes a day to read industry news, signing up for a wine pairing class, or taking part in an online accredited MBA program in your free time if your company is footing the bill.

My rule of thumb whenever someone asked me “Do you want to learn how to do x, y, or z?” Say YES. A downside to working jobs that are more about paycheck than career path? Monotony! But the more you diversify your skill sets…the less bored you’ll be and the more fun you’ll have!

Finding The Value

Finding the value in your job will not only make your daily effort feel worth it, but could also spark passion. How is your work or your company helping people? What are you doing for the greater good? How are you making an impact? Spend some time connecting the dots here. My retail job at a cooperative grocery store prided themselves on keeping the majority of every dollar spent in our local economy. So, I chose to focus on this value. My efforts were always fueled by a desire to promote local farmers and food. I became super passionate about it! And before I knew it, I was working in the marketing office instead of out on the floor…and I still work in marketing today! 

Keeping one eye on the value is a great way to maintain focus when you’re feeling less than pleased about going in or your boss is angry or some task feels pointless. Not to mention, communicating the value YOU provide is an awesome skill to have in an interview setting, hint, HINT.

Do me a favor – Tell us your job in the comments below and the #1 thing you do to find job satisfaction. Thanks!

P.S. Wanna read more of my career tips? CLICK HERE.

Strike a (power) pose!

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In her TEDTalk “Power Poses” Amy Cuddy explains how striking a new pose can change how powerful you feel. It’s true that people with power–media moguls, Olympic victors, monarchs–showcase that power through confident non-verbal communication. They stand up straight, take up space, maybe even reach their hands up high or relax with their feet kicked up on their desk. But Cuddy wondered if the reverse was also true. If expressing these same sorts of powerful poses could make a person feel power.

IE) If POWER —> POWER POSES, could

POWER POSES —> POWER???

Her study pointed to ABSOLUTELY! After asking participants to stand in various “power poses” for just two minutes, Cuddy found they experienced higher levels of testosterone (the “confidence” hormone) and lower levels of cortisol (the “stress” hormone). As a result, she encourages people to use her findings when they may need a dose of confidence or find themselves in a stressful situation.

Instead of hunching in a chair scrolling through notes on your iPhone, spend a few moments before a big interview stretched out as big as possible in the nearest bathroom stall. Have a big presentation at work? Close your office door, kick your feet up, and stretch your arms behind your head.

When I first watched the video of Amy Cuddy’s presentation, I really needed it. I wasn’t feeling all that powerful. I needed to find a job. I needed to make friends. I needed to do all those pesky-scary things that come with being in a different place from the one you’ve been in for seven years. In fact I was feeling pretty powerless. I’m sure my non-verbals weren’t doing a great job at hiding that fact.

But Cuddy’s “fake it ’til you make it” advice made a lot of sense. I knew from years of dance and competitive speech & debate that my body and my posture and my physicality could speak volumes and impact other’s perceptions of me. But now I realized I could turn that knowledge on it’s head and impact my perception of myself. I started doing yoga regularly (warrior poses are fantastic for this) and I began to make the conscious decision to take up more space.

Fast forward a few years and a few promotions (score!), Cuddy’s instructions began to sink in. I was in a position of power at my job and when I needed to communicate and exemplify that power, even if just to myself, power poses fit the bill.

My go-to posture in this new position became the same pose Cuddy opens with in her presentation; hands on hips, wide stance. Think: Wonder Woman. If I needed to persuade a customer or discipline an employee or haggle with a vendor, I was ready.

One unruly and frequently belligerent customer found himself getting familiar with my new stance of choice. When he was around trouble usually followed. So I wanted to feel powerful when confronting him. I also wanted him, and my employees, to know I. meant. business. I would saddle up to the scene, hands on hips, stance wide, spine straight. After finding himself on the receiving end of a Wonder Woman a few too many times this dude started to get…how shall we say, comfortable. He actually started mimicking my moves and mocking my posture.

“How dare he?” I thought. “Would he behave this way with a man?!” But each time he did this I continued to hold my ground. (Even when he would refer to my pose with such colorful language as “sassy” or “bitch.”) And then after his brief ridiculous displays were over he would follow my instructions, apologize, calm down, or rectify whatever other issue he had instigated.

These interactions proved to me the veracity of Cuddy’s claims. Because this dude was clearly threatened. A human twice my size with the ability to get twice as loud was threatened by my 5’3″ frame, soft voice, and calm demeanor.

I stood powerfully so I felt powerful. And this guy, for whatever reason, didn’t like that.

But guess what? My body didn’t need to speak apologies for HIS wrong-doings. Just like yours doesn’t need to speak apologies when you’re feeling powerless in front of a crowded room or when you’re feeling powerFUL.

So, yeah. Stretch your arms over your head before that interview, take up space, be noticed!

It feels pretty good.

If you’d like to implement the benefits of Power Poses, may I recommend this yoga video or this one. If you want to pose for a few minutes before an important, stress-filled happenin’ then check out this helpful chart