Get a job that won’t make you sick
by: Mylene Mendoza-Dayrit
Graduation herded thousands to the Philippine workforce. Local news claim at least a hundred thousand jobs are waiting. Fortunately, I had a mentor who told me to find myself, my purpose, and what job will make me happy first. He promised the good salary and benefits would follow.
Many research even link bad jobs and physical ailments. I don’t think there is really a bad job. Any job can be bad, no matter how high paying, if it is not making you happy. Some even warn that the wrong career could slowly kill you.
That’s why it is better for new graduates to give this much thought when looking for a job or building a career. When one waits too long, such as when one already has a family, a career shift takes a lot more courage as one faces the prospect of being unemployed or losing your shirt with a family depending on you.
Job to leave
The online home of Newsweek, www.thedailybeast.com, wrote that a study done by the Centre for Mental Health Research at Australian National University revealed that “people with jobs characterized by high demand, low control over decision making, high job insecurity, and an imbalance between expended effort and reward actually experienced poorer mental health than those who were jobless. In other words, people who can’t find a job have a healthier state of mind than those who are employed and feel overwhelmed, insecure, underpaid, and micromanaged.”
Still another study by scientists at University College London found a link between being denied a promotion and heart disease. They also noted higher blood pressure in those with stressful jobs.
Recently, Forbes.com issued the top signs for you to leave your job. These are, among others, losing your value to the company or not getting the recognition you deserve, being passed over for a promotion (especially when the one who advanced was your subordinate), being denied a merit increase, company focus on cost-cutting measures, too much downtime or no assignments coming your way, and worse, the job is making you physically ill!
“Developing chronic back problems, headaches, stomach pains or sleep issues may all signal a problem job. Equally telling are weekends spent dreading going into work, feeling completely drained at the end of each day or a sharp drop in productivity because you feel bored or unmotivated. If you are not learning new skills or being challenged, your dispassion will negatively affect your work — and you may soon be forced to leave,” they concluded.
While the new survey they featured is for the US, I am sure our stats are not far away. The online publication said 31% of employees surveyed are not satisfied with their jobs and as many as 74%, regardless of job satisfaction, will consider leaving if approached with another offer. Reasons cited for leaving include salary (57%), need for change (31%), career and advancement opportunities (29%), change of profession (22%) and concerns about the employer’s future (18%).
Job to love
WebMD.com recognized though that jobs may be hard to come by. Hence, they also recently posted tips on how to love your current job. “Finding professional happiness may have more to do with changing your attitude than changing your workplace,” they wrote.
Whenever the economy or your industry is unstable, leaving a job that you don’t like but has provided stability is extremely scary. That’s why, WebMD challenges us to tweak our attitude instead.
“Here’s the secret to living with a job you’re not loving: If you can’t change your job, change your attitude — and change it so much your job becomes engaging. Challenging. Even pleasurable. The secret? Try turning your ruts into rituals, viewing them with appreciation and presence. Doing so can bring elements of comfort, connection, and community to your everyday routine,” they revealed.
They suggested creating “sacred moments that bring both meaning and order to your life.” Be aware of the daily repeated routines such as staring at nature (garden, trees, body of water) or art/architecture while going to work as these little acts must be giving you pleasure or contentment. Start meditation or early visits to church.
They also recommended cultivating connections or building a community. Be aware of people around you. Connect with them. Create friends. Start a new “family.” Also recognize opportunities at work to be creative. “By recognizing these opportunities for creativity and control in the midst of mundane, even tedious routines, we elevate our work experience from what we do for a paycheck to another venue in which to experience the delight of being alive,” WebMD reminded us.
According to them, “a recent Gallup poll reported that fewer than 27% of us are ‘truly engaged’ in our work. Getting engaged doesn’t mean your job is perfect. Getting engaged means becoming involved so that your work, warts and all, is not a source of unhappiness. And that entails an attitudinal shift, not a job transition.”
*The above post was publish under the author’s column “Well-Being” last April 16, 2013 in the Lifestyle section of the Philippine Star