It seems less than half of us are happy with our jobs. According to the American Job Satisfaction Survey, only 45 percent of Americans are satisfied with their work. That’s the lowest level in the 22 years the Conference Board research group has been conducting the survey. The major reason cited by unhappy workers is they don’t find their jobs interesting.
Economists say the lack of passion will hurt productivity while health care practitioners worry about the impact on our well being.
Since I’m neither an economist nor a physician, I’m going to focus more on creative productivity. Miss Krueger, my eighth grade English teacher, had a sign above the blackboard with only one word in big, bold letters: Think. While I’m guessing she was addressing our inability to think clearly about punctuation and grammar, her sign can actually help us focus on the big picture from a career standpoint.
How much time do you spend thinking beyond your daily, repetitive activities? Do you take the time to figure out what you want to achieve throughout the year as opposed to the day or week? When was the last time you really wrote down a personal and/or professional growth goal?
Time and again we work with clients who struggle to truly focus beyond the current day, month or quarter. Our mentoring programs see talented individuals struggling to move beyond hustle and bustle activities rather than creatively focusing on meaningful growth.
Maybe strategic thinking is misperceived as “pie in the sky.” Or it could be a lack of confidence or time management abilities. Whatever the reason, you can change by taking the time to think.
What is the one thing that would make your professional life better? Write it down. Now, brainstorm and list three or four tactics to move you towards achieving this goal. Put deadlines next to each one and begin working your plan. After you achieve some success, think about another goal and write down the action items to reach it.
You might think your situation is more complicated and you won’t be able to do it. But, you can. It all begins with taking the time to creatively focus on the big picture. Or as Miss Krueger’s sign said: Think.
David M. Mastovich, MBA, is the president of Massolutions, a Pittsburgh based Integrated Marketing firm that focuses on improving the bottom line for client companies through creative marketing, selling, messaging and customer experience enhancement.