If you’re not feeling fulfilled at work, you’re not alone. In various studies and surveys, only about half of employees reported finding fulfillment at their jobs. To make matters worse, even those who are aware they have a problem don’t fully understand the steps they need to take to solve it.
If you’re not sure how to find fulfilling work, take a look below for some ideas to get started. Whether you change jobs or improve the one you have, fulfillment is within reach.
Common Reasons for Not Feeling Fulfilled at Work
People have different reasons for not feeling fulfilled at work. However, putting words to the feelings you’re experiencing isn’t always easy. See if any of these common reasons sound familiar:
- Lack of challenge
- No path to growth
- Not feeling seen and appreciated
- Lack of control over the environment
- Little to no social engagement
Finding Fulfillment at Work
In many cases, you don’t need to leave your current nine-to-five to find fulfilling work. By taking stock of the resources you have available, you can find meaning in almost any occupation. Consider taking these steps to start the process.
Identify Your Needs
Finding workplace fulfillment starts with clearly identifying your needs. You can see in the section above that these can vary widely from person to person. However, what each has in common is that they make a big impact on how we feel about our day-to-day lives.
If you’re having trouble bridging the gap to meaningful work, start by listing your needs. This can be done on a piece of paper, a Word document, or even a specialized app. By having a physical list, you can clearly identify your needs and also have a reminder for later.
The next step after stating your needs is to make a plan to fulfill them. This may not always be easy, so setting clear goals is a good way to get started.
Your goals should be simple and actionable. For example, if one of your needs is having more person-to-person contact throughout the day, try to find concrete ways to achieve this. Rather than simply wishing you could talk to more people, consider scheduling a conversation with management about adjusting your job duties to include more interactions.
Just as with your needs, write down these goals so you can remember them later. This can also make them easier to reach. A Harvard Business study found those who write their goals down are three times as likely to achieve them.
Plan for the Future
Now that you know the steps you need to take, the hard part is over. All that’s left is to make a plan that brings it all together. It’s important to plan carefully to reach your goals within a reasonable time frame, and a bit of forethought can make them more achievable.
Say for example that you want to become more involved in workplace decision-making. Rather than offering input at the next possible opportunity, try planning ahead for a time when your perspective will be helpful and appreciated. You could choose a scheduled meeting and prepare to contribute in advance or volunteer for a project team.
Making the Switch
Unfortunately, you may not be able to find the fulfillment you’re looking for in your current job. In this case, it’s worth considering trying a new job or even switching to an entirely different industry. If you need help finding a fulfilling job, start with these three steps.
Assess Your Situation
If you’re considering leaving your current job for a new one, it’s best to start by reviewing some key factors. Make sure to think carefully about each of these before putting in your two-week notice.
- Finances. What kind of pay are you looking for in a new job? Is now a good time to take a financial risk, or would it be worth waiting a few months?
- Mental health. Making big life decisions isn’t advisable if you’re not in a solid place emotionally. If you need help getting your footing, talking to a therapist could be a good idea.
- Possible limitations. Commute, childcare and other practical concerns are all worth considering before making a change.
Align With Your Passion
Once you’ve considered all the nuts and bolts of changing jobs, the next step is to ask yourself what kind of job you’re looking for. In many cases, staying within the same industry is advisable, as this will take advantage of your existing experience and make for a smoother transition.
However, many people find that switching to a completely new industry is the only way to find greater fulfillment at work. If this sounds like you, it’s important to consider your options carefully. Rather than jumping into new work all at once, try these strategies to ease the transition.
- Talk to people already in the line of work you have in mind.
- Consider short-term volunteer positions.
- Look for work you’ve tried before or that’s related to your current field.
Identify and Overcome Challenges
Whether you’re making a lateral move within your existing field or ready to take the plunge into an entirely new career, you need to be realistic about the challenges separating you from your goal. In some instances, this may involve getting a certification or earning a degree. In others, it could mean moving to a new area. The key is to make sure you understand exactly what practical steps you need to take.
You may discover you’re not willing to commit to the effort needed to make the change. In this case, you need to reconsider your options and set a new goal. As you continue to refine your goals, you’ll get better at understanding what’s realistic to meet your needs.
Seek Professional Help
If you’re not feeling fulfilled at work, seeking professional mental health support may help. Contact us at FHE Health by calling (833) 596-3502 to speak with an experienced, caring counselor who can help you get started on the road toward achieving fulfillment.