Research by CIPHR suggests that over two-thirds of employees love or like what they do for a living. But what about the rest – the millions of workers who aren’t that bothered either way, or those that openly admit to disliking or even hating their jobs.
Even the best jobs have their down days but for people who have been feeling unhappy or disengaged at work for a while, something obviously needs to change. While switching jobs can work, there might be a simpler – and less extreme – solution to get your spark back.
CIPHR’s HR consultants share some of their top tips on how to love your job (again):
Take a step back
Gwenan West MCIPD, head of people at CIPHR:
Firstly, look at why you are not enamoured with your job – what is it that particularly annoys you? Step back and take a good look at what changes you can make for yourself and what changes you might need to request from your employer, line manager, or colleagues. Perhaps take a holiday, so you can completely disconnect from work for a while. This can help to give you some distance to really reflect on whether you are unhappy in your role or whether you just needed to step away from it for a while.
Add some variety into your work life, perhaps learn a new skill or volunteer to help with a project for a different department. If that’s not possible, then try to get involved in social or charity events at work, enabling you to mix with colleagues from across your organisation, rather than just your direct team. It may help you get a different perspective on your own role.
Look at your work environment and make some small changes to refresh your outlook. Sometimes we need to change our day-to-day environment to see things differently. If you are working from home, why not move your work area to a different room or perhaps just change the layout of your desk and the objects that are around you.
If you are still unhappy in your role, it’s time to speak to your line manager or HR team – perhaps there is another role within your organisation that would suit you better.
Take ownership of the situation
Bradley Burgoyne, head of talent at CIPHR:
Think back to how excited you were when you received that call or email offering you the job – how did it feel? Who did you call first to share the good news? How did you celebrate? Now fast forward to the present day. If you don’t feel the same, it’s time to look at what’s changed.
Start with why you accepted the role in the first place (hopefully, it was more than just the salary) and build a plan, which articulates what would need to change for you to fall back in love with your role. Be bold and discuss the plan with your manager – after all, they may not know you feel this way. Give them the opportunity to support you. If the support doesn’t come, at least you’ll know where you stand.
Doing the same thing every day can become monotonous, so it’s good to change things up. Challenge yourself by learning new skills, keep networking to gain fresh perspectives on how your role could adapt and grow, and think about ways to prioritise your time. It’s also vital to take regular time away from your job to recharge and gain perspective.
You may have fallen out of love with your role, but how about the organisation you work for? If you still love your employer, it’s worth considering if there are any other roles within your organisation which could make you happier.
Improving your job satisfaction relies on you taking ownership of the situation and making a conscious effort to shift your perspective. If you’ve tried it all and still feel the same, it may be time to seek new opportunities elsewhere.
Change your mindset
Shirley Bousfield MCIPD, strategic HR consultant at CIPHR:
Think about why you feel demotivated and what’s within your control to change. Make a list of pros and cons of your role and come up with ideas that may help to improve the situation. Then arrange a time to speak with your manager to discuss this.
If you are in a team, consider how some of your duties could be redistributed to naturally complement other peoples’ strengths and development interests. Could you get involved in a new project? Or would an adjustment to your working pattern improve your motivation? Thinking about the answers to these questions, as they could help steer your next steps.
Remember, your manager may not be aware of how you are feeling, so opening the dialogue is a good starting point. Ensuring that your requests are reasonable will also help increase the likelihood of a successful outcome.
Lastly, it’s important to have realistic expectations of your role, which may vary depending on where you are in your career. While it’s great to aspire to your dream job, the perfect job is very rare. Be prepared to compromise at times but still ensure that most of your needs are met. I generally think being happy in your role 60% of the time (three days out of five, on average) is reasonable, so simply changing your mindset can be a big motivator.
Ask your manager for support
Laurie Mahmood Assoc CIPD, head of implementation services at CIPHR:
Staying motivated at work can be tough. There could be any number of reasons why you are struggling to stay engaged – you might be bored working from home and miss the office interaction; you may be feeling undervalued, overworked and exhausted; you might feel that your role has stagnated, or it could be due to a personal, non-work-related issue. Regardless of why, there are always ways that employers can help to engage employees while employees, in turn, can help motivate themselves.
For me, it’s all about relationships. It’s extremely important for employers to build an environment where people have the confidence to be able to speak openly and honestly to their manager about their challenges.
Reflect and remind yourself why you’re in the role you are. There’s a reason why you choose to do what you are doing now, and you probably enjoyed it when you first started. Ask yourself what has changed since then and try to identify why you’re feeling the way you are. If you’re bored of working from home, for example, maybe your manager can arrange more regular face-to-face meetings. If you want more career progression, why not look for opportunities to learn new skills, and ask your manager to put a development plan in place and have regular reviews to guide and support you.
Everyone has bad days, just remind yourself why you’re there, and see if that gives you the boost you need.
Thinking of a career change?
People working in scientific or technical services and construction, are, statistically at least, among the most likely to love or like their jobs in the UK. Here’s how other careers stack up:
|Industry / career
||% of employees who say they love or like their jobs
|Scientific or technical services
|Government & public administration
|Hotel & food services
|Finance and insurance
|Sales & marketing
|IT, software & telecommunications
|Healthcare and social assistance
|Real estate & lettings
|Shipping & distribution
|Arts, entertainment or recreation
|Transportation & warehousing
CIPHR polled a representative sample of 1,031 employed British adults to find out how people feel about their current jobs (they were also asked to share their exact job titles). The results are available to view at https://www.ciphr.com/uks-favourite-jobs.