The other day, Kyle and I were having a conversation in the car. He mentioned going to a happy hour and everybody was talking about how unhappy they were at their workplace. (Funny how they find themselves a ‘happy hour’ after work..)
In fact, everyone seemed to hate what they were doing, who they were working with, and had a timeline on their stay with their current company.
I told him it’s unfortunate that more people don’t make an effort to acknowledge what is going wrong at work to their supervisors. I mean, if you are valuable to a company, surely they will try to work with you to make your life happier. If you hate what you’re doing, you’re probably not going to do your best work and no company wants that.
I made a point to say that it’s a ‘lack of communication.’
It seems a simple enough task to address what’s wrong, and get it fixed. right?
Even though I blatantly stated this like it was a well known fact, maybe it’s not really that simple.
I have been unhappy at work. Well – bored is a better way to put it. I had some projects of my own, but they are VERY slow moving. And I felt like I was just continually waiting for someone to finally walk up to me and say ‘Hey, come with me! You’re going to learn something today. We wanna put that PhD brain of yours to good use.’
Well, that never happened. And never is it likely that it will ever happen without any effort from yourself.
Sometime later in the week after talking with Kyle about his unhappy friends, I recalled our conversation. And I thought to myself…
Maybe my unhappiness and seemingly unproductive days are caused by a lack of communication. Do people even know what I’m supposed to be doing here? Do they know what I WANT to be doing?
With my new job, I made a field switch from chemistry research to clinical research. I am not in the same office space as the rest of the clinical coordinators, although that is what I was really brought here to do – help run clinical studies. Not do tests in a lab, like they probably all think I’m here to do, because of my professional background. Also from my previous work with the department, which was all in the lab analysis and pre-clinical stages of research.
Why would they assume I’m here to work with them? And as I thought about it, a proper introduction was never made to them by my supervisor to explain what I wanted to get out of my post-doc research term.
As it turns out, a lack of communication partly the case. After properly introducing myself to the coordinators, who never really got to know me, they realized that I was here to learn from them. And to HELP them by taking some work off their plate.
Later that day I started observing in the OR for a clinical study I’d been assigned to work on.
Nothing like taking your own advice…
So, is fixing your work environment that simple? Merely having the right conversation with the people you work with can trigger a brand spankin’ new outlook on what you’re doing with 40+ hours if each week? I think it can be.
Being unhappy at work can be a homewrecker. When you hate what you are doing with most of your day, you probably aren’t going to be happy when you come home.
When you are cranky when you get home, it’s going to affect your other relationships. It’s going to make OTHER people unhappy too. Why would we want to do something like that to our spouses and other special people in our lives? It’s not healthy and its not really fair (to others and ourselves) to let that happen.
Especially if we can be proactive and do something about it. TALK about it. Eliminate the lack of communication, and make your problems, questions, issues, known.
Next time you are feeling unvalued at work, try to talk it out. Sometimes these conversations can be awkward, but it can totally be worth it.