Usually, when a person becomes dissatisfied with work, he/she first thinks of changing jobs, but the job may not be the primary issue. Perhaps it is one’s attitude toward work. Here’s why.
The experience of work is strongly governed by factors internal and external to the person. Internal factors include one’s motivation and unresolved emotional issues, matters that can strongly influence how one views work. Here are some examples. When one’s motivation is to prove self-worth through accomplishment, as was true in my case, there can never be enough external proof of that self-worth. Psychology tells us that self-worth issues must be addressed with self-reflection and body awareness, both internal processes, in some cases with the help of a therapist. If you have doubts, read my book to see how a career of substantial accomplishment didn’t help me feel better about myself. Only when I started the internal process of self-reflection did I find what I was looking for.
Unresolved emotional issues include attitude toward authority, often related to one’s relationships with parents. When one has a strong negative reaction to hierarchy and authority, it can be difficult or impossible to accept coaching and direction. Negative experiences with siblings can also lead to problems as a team player and in relationships with peers.
When work issues arise, it is very difficult for most of us to look at ourselves to see if we are part of the problem. It is much easier and less confronting to see the problem as an external one having to do with the environment, type of work, peers, and supervisors. However, if the basic issue is, for example, one’s difficulty accepting direction and working with peers, changing jobs may not help if that new position has the same requirements.
While it may be uncomfortable to look inside, the good news is that we have much more influence on our internal processes than we have on the external environment. Self-reflection is always possible, but making the workplace more acceptable to us may not be even with a job change.
Internal and external factors that influence job satisfaction are complex, and the above discussion is only any introduction. However, the “bottom line” is to look inside and outside when dissatisfied with work. There are circumstances under which a job change is needed, but in many cases a more satisfying experience can be achieved without such a change by looking inside.