Making it personal

Do you feel less than enthused about going to work? Is it getting harder to climb out of bed and face the day?

It’s common to sometimes feel work-related depression. All of us can feel stressed out and a little fed up with our jobs. We want to stay home and play hooky with friends, or we sit at our desks daydreaming about finding another job.

Although these feelings can be job-induced, your stress may not actually come from your job. Workplace depression can be connected to what’s going on outside work.

If you don’t have life balance — a sense of emotional support from friends, hobbies and relationships — this contributes to job dissatisfaction.

Improve life outside work:

While you want to enjoy your job, don’t make it the centre of your life. Work should revolve around your personal life. This doesn’t mean that your job is not as important. It simply means you should focus on all that life has to offer, fully supported by your income and work status. Ask yourself, “Do I feel good about my friendships, hobbies and connection to the community? Do I have family support and meaningful activities outside work?” If not, think about fixing some of these areas before embarking on a job search.

To improve your quality of life outside work, make minor improvements in all major areas of your life. Get in the habit of consistently fine-tuning your health routine, family-chores plan, finances, recreational activities, and support system of friends and associates. Contemplate and make changes that could ease your overall stress.

Fix the job itself:

Job dissatisfaction doesn’t always come from outside the workplace, of course. Sometimes, it’s the job itself that needs fine-tuning. Work feels emotionally satisfying when you establish a personal connection to your job.

Quite simply, you need to “receive” something from your work efforts. But you need to give something personal first. This ebb and flow keeps people from feeling their jobs own them. Without a personal connection to their workplaces, people feel like robots — just doing their jobs mechanically and watching the clock on the wall.

If you feel stifled at work, look around for new challenges. Could you learn the job above you? Could you gain important skills by asking to do different projects at work? Here are examples of how some individuals found new and satisfying challenges at work:

Think more broadly: A news reporter says she improved her job as religion editor of her small-town newspaper by learning photography. She put together a photo book of historic churches in her region and has already signed a publishing contract, with her boss’ blessing.

Offer a unique talent: One man who worked for a company that sells auto parts started writing humorous ads for his local radio station about cars breaking down in heavy traffic.

Make it personal:

A job gets dull and boring if you aren’t contributing anything personal to it. When you aren’t committing your talent and drive to your job, you can feel disconnected from it, and all you have is a paycheck to show for your efforts. Within your work setting, it’s important to actually see your efforts clearly integrated into the atmosphere. This truly makes the work setting belong to you.