Lately, you head to work with a pit in your stomach. You pull into the parking lot with a growing sense of dread. You haven’t even made it into the building and you’re already anticipating a day full of irritations and battles. You brace yourself for another day at the office. When did the job change? When did your boss and co-workers become so annoying, so difficult to work with? But here’s a question: Did your job and the people you work with really change? Or, is there something else going on here?
Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane, to when you were interviewing for the job. You were nervous but excited at the prospect of working for this amazing company. You went through four rounds of interviews and after each one, you silently prayed that you had won them over. You knew you’d be perfect in this role! Then you wait. Days go by; nothing. You start to wonder if your carefully crafted thank you notes were over the top. “Crap! Maybe they didn’t like me. Maybe I didn’t nail the interviews after all.”
But then, the call comes. You’ve been offered the job! Euphoria rushes through your body and you’re already thinking about who you’ll call first to share the good news. You thank the caller profusely, fist-pumping into the air. This is everything you’ve dreamed of. Life is amazing! You can’t wait to start this new chapter.
The first few weeks on the job are a bit stressful, but you’re ok with that because of course, any new job is going to have some stress until you learn the ins and outs. Your manager is great—checking in with you frequently to make sure you’re acclimating and that you’re getting the support you need. Your co-workers are friendly, chatty, and helpful and you feel lucky to be a part of such a thriving team.
The weeks turn into months and now you’re about a year into your “dream” job. Lately, there’s been a subtle shift in your feelings toward the job. There is a never-ending stream of email requests hitting your inbox. You feel like you can’t get your head above water. Your manager is still checking in, but now it feels like you’re being micro-managed. The seeds of resentment are starting. Your co-workers’ chattiness centers around office gossip and incessant complaining. Cue the irritation. What happened to this seemingly perfect job?
It may be time to look at what you’re bringing to this dynamic. This isn’t about blame. But we have a lot more power over how our days play out than we think.
Did the job, your manager, and your co-workers really change, or did your perception of them change? Each time you encounter resentment or irritation you have a choice: to let it go or hold onto it. Choosing to hold onto the negative emotions acts as an energetic termite, eating away at all the good feelings you once held about the job. Make this same choice day after day and soon you’ll find yourself wanting to leave the very job you once prayed to get.
But before you jump ship, get real with yourself. Have you been coming to work in the spirit of doing your best? It’s just as easy to assume that you’ll have a good day as it is to assume you’ll have a bad day. This may sound trite, but it’s true. As humans, we have a natural penchant for the negative. It’s in our DNA. But we can change our behavior.
So, here’s a challenge for you. For the next 2 weeks, make a concerted effort to be aware of your energy. Be aware of your thoughts. If you catch yourself thinking something negative about your job, your co-workers, your manager; whatever it is-immediately replace the thought with something positive. It’s going to feel fake, maybe even silly at first. But it won’t take long before it becomes automatic.
Observe how it affects the people around you. Make no mistake—it will have an effect on the people around you. People are going to pick up on this new, more positive energy—even if it’s subconscious. Pay attention to your own feelings. Notice how your work experience has changed. How has your outer world changed to reflect your inner world? Is your perspective about the job shifting to a more positive state?
Now, if after doing this exercise you haven’t noticed any changes, great. That’s still good intel. It tells you that you have more to consider. But when I look back at my own experiences, I know there is a lot I could have done differently. Sure, I probably would have moved on from my jobs regardless. But while I was in these positions, I could have created a reality that was much more pleasant for me AND for the people around me. We are alchemists—all of us.