The average job posting for an IT position makes it sound more satisfying than it is. Companies are searching for professionals who want to “make a positive impact” and “promote innovation” across their organization. They’re looking for the “best and brightest,” and they won’t settle for less.
Of course, the reality of an IT job is often less exciting than its description would have you believe. The buzzwords you read on an employment site don’t always apply. Many IT professionals find themselves in a cramped cubicle, trying to ignore the ache in their back as they struggle with eye strain.
If you’ve found yourself in this situation — undervalued and overworked — you’re not alone. It’s common among IT professionals to feel unfulfilled in their job. Whether it’s the endless repetition and tedium of your tasks, the stress of your responsibilities or an overbearing manager, you want out.
Instead of submitting your two weeks’ notice, you should take a less permanent approach to your problem. You don’t have to leave your job and join another company to feel happy again. With these six simple changes, you’ll see an improvement in your mood over the course of your workday.
1. Reach out to Co-Workers
According to a recent survey, the most significant factor in job satisfaction among IT professionals is the quality of their relationships with users, peers and managers. As context, 61% of IT professionals claimed their co-worker relationships had the biggest impact on their overall happiness.
With this statistic in mind, set aside time to evaluate your relationships with your co-workers. Do you feel like you don’t know them very well, or you only ever speak to them in passing? If this is the case, you should reach out to the people around you and attempt to form a stronger connection.
2. Develop Your Presence
On the subject of co-worker relationships, you can take steps to develop a strong and engaging presence. It’ll make you more approachable, creating new opportunities to bond with your colleagues. You’ll inspire their respect by projecting an attitude and level of professionalism worth noticing.
That said, it isn’t as simple as sitting up straight. Beyond posture, you also have to work toward improving your confidence and presentation, among other skills. It takes time and effort, but self-betterment is important, affecting all areas of your life both inside and outside the workplace.
3. Give Yourself a Daily Gift
It may seem indulgent, but you should give yourself a small gift every day. You have no shortage of options, and you can choose something as straightforward as candy from a vending machine to something more involved, like an evening at your favorite restaurant. While it isn’t much, it makes a difference.
When you have nothing to look forward to but the end of the workday, it’s exhausting. The strain and frustration of your job begin to build. A small gift acts as an incentive to push you forward, a little burst of motivation which keeps you moving in the right direction, away from negative thoughts.
4. Speak With Your Superior
You likely have a long list of things you’d like to change about your job. Maybe your workstation doesn’t receive enough natural light, your chair isn’t comfortable or you dislike a particular part of your company’s work culture. Over time, you’ve gradually come to accept these unappealing aspects of your position.
Just remember you’re a valuable member of your team, and your opinion matters. Your superior will likely hear what you have to say if you come to them with proposed changes. Whether you want to ask for a better office chair, a workstation near a window or something else entirely, it’s worth a conversation.
5. Embrace a Positive Mindset
Your perspective and perception are closely associated. If you start work in the morning with the expectation you’re going to have a bad day, that’s likely to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Conversely, if you start work with a positive mindset and an optimistic attitude, you may see things you hadn’t noticed before.
While it isn’t easy to change your perspective, it’s critical to your progress. You’ll continue to feel unfulfilled in your current position if you’re unable to break from the cycle of negative thinking. When you find yourself stressed or under pressure, try viewing your situation in a more positive light.
6. Schedule Periodic Breaks
Research has shown that people are less happy when their mind wanders, regardless of what they’re doing. Since you spend an average of 47% of your waking time in a “scattered state,” the implications for your mental health are serious. A wandering mind might contribute to your feelings of dissatisfaction.
If you want to avoid distractions, schedule periodic breaks where you’re free to turn your focus away from work. It’ll reduce the temptation to browse Reddit or Twitter. When you know you’ll have time to check your favorite sites, it’s easier to wait, and by extension, concentrate on what’s in front of you.
Make a Change Today
As mentioned earlier, you don’t have to submit your two weeks’ notice to feel happy again. Follow the six suggestions above, and you’ll start to notice a positive difference in your mood and outlook.
Even a small adjustment can have a substantial impact, so make a change today.
Image by Christina Morillo