Mar 182014

The Pew Research Center recently reported that half of study respondents rated having a job you enjoy as being extremely important. My son, Bill Epperly, and I have previously outlined five strategies for increasing flexibility at work to express yourself as a way of creating more job enjoyment and satisfaction, but how do you go about making this happen?  Let’s say you need to have flexibility regarding when you work or you need to work at home occasionally. How can you determine how much flexibility is possible? Here is a tip on how to find out.

Your relationship with your supervisor is a primary consideration in creating work flexibility. The better the relationship is, the more potential for freedom to be yourself.  Your supervisor because of his/her position is likely more attuned than you are to the organization and behavior that is considered acceptable, highly desirable, or off limits. That person is likely to share more with you about the limits of acceptability if the relationship that you have is strong and trusting.

It may be necessary for you to take the first step in strengthening your relationship with your supervisor. Be sensitive to his/her priorities in the work environment and identify ways in which you can support those priorities. Think of work as your joint project with your supervisor and do all you can to further work goals, making his/her work area more successful and less stressful.

As the relationship grows, there will be more time for discussion of changes that would increase your job satisfaction and enjoyment. On the other hand, if you find your supervisor to be completely unresponsive, perhaps it is time to consider another of our five strategies, find a job that is a better fit.

 Posted by at 5:48 pm

Five Strategies for Improving Your Work Experience

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Mar 042014

People engaged in full-time work spend more than 20% of their lives on the job. Indications are that more and more people are working harder and enjoying it less. So what can individuals do to reverse this trend and to bring more enjoyment into work?

While there can be a variety of reasons for dissatisfaction with work, a primary issue is lack of opportunity for self-expression, i.e.  expression of one’s own personality through thoughts, feelings, or behavior. When one feels that the work environment requires a personality that is either unnatural or uncomfortable, work no longer provides satisfaction and motivation. The workplace is a dynamic environment in which there are changes almost daily. Thus, today’s environment is not necessarily a predictor of tomorrow. In many cases change is possible, and in a recent program of the Monk and the CEO, my son Bill Epperly and I discussed five strategies for improving the job experience and bringing more self-expression into the workplace.

First, test the workplace for flexibility to express yourself in meaningful ways. When I was employed full-time, I was sometimes able to incorporate into my business trips a point of interest having nothing to do with my job and for example was able to visit Hiroshima after business in Tokyo. I was also able as part of my continuing professional development to write many articles having to do with technology or management issues of interest to me. One’s relationship with his/her supervisor is important in testing for flexibility since the supervisor is the gateway to one’s relationship with the company. Better relationships lead to more flexibility.

Second, increase your value as an employee by increasing your understanding of how your organization remains viable, i.e. how it satisfies its client or customer base, and consequently doing more yourself to satisfy those customers.  Employees who are considered more valuable generally have more flexibility for self-expression.

Third, make certain that you are doing your best to take available opportunities for self-expression. It is not unusual for employees to fail to recognize opportunities. When uncertain, coaching from a supervisor can be helpful.

Fourth, when flexibility isn’t possible, compartmentalize work from the rest of life. It may be possible during a work break to meditate as an example. In one case, I used visualization tapes that reduce stress during my lunch break.

Finally, if the work environment is toxic and not susceptible to improvement, consider a job change. This may be a more difficult option given the disruption it can require. However, it can be worth the effort opening opportunities for greater compatibility and self-expression.

Never give up on bringing who you are to the workplace. The time spent on the job is just too important.

 Posted by at 11:14 pm