I reached out to a friend recently. The last few times we spoke, I felt like things were very one-sided. You know how it can go…you reach out, you keep the convo going, you ask all the questions, you get little feedback. The convo follows a similar negative pattern each time you speak, so you say to yourself “ok, I’m not doing that again.”
But of course you’ll do it again. This is someone you consider a friend. And they are a friend for a reason.
Today I felt like I wanted to reach out again after a few months had passed since we last spoke. I kept the topic pretty light…anything new, recent home projects, funny stories, things like that. And I noticed it was a matter of time before we circled back to the same complain-esque type conversations. She hates work, work sucks, I don’t want to be there, I hate it there, etc.
So…I felt like…idk, some type a way. This complaining, almost using the same verbiage exactly…has not changed in over five years!!!! So as a friend, what can I do? What can I say? I asked the usual questions. Have you thought about other jobs? Have you thought about classes? Have you thought about hobbies so that your time outside of work can possibly fill some of the work satisfaction voids? And the response for all my questions were essentially a resounding “no.” As they always have been.
Now, I don’t want to seem like my life is SOOOO together or that I don’t suffer from the occasional negative work attitude. But I realized long ago that I had some decisions to make when it came to my work-life balance and what I expected from my 9-5. Is my job amazing? Heeeelll no. lol. But…I have a few options. 1) I could find another job. 2) I could boost my qualifications so that I could move up or move around where within my current employer. 3)I could get over it. Or 4) I could live so fully outside of work that I don’t place a super high level of importance on “job satisfaction.” Those are the options I felt like I had. Everyone may feel like they have different options, but those are the ones I decided that I had.
But basically, it was unlikely that the job I had was going to change. So I could either find a new job, change myself, or change my attitude towards the job.
Ultimately, I chose a weird hybrid of those three options. 1) An opportunity to change departments presented itself, so I grabbed it. 2) I made connections and I sought out opportunities within my agency to grow and be visible, so that I could put myself into a position for promotions and mobility in the future. And 3) I investigated and implemented avenues outside of work to be my own boss, which ultimately changed my attitude towards my 9-5 job. I wouldn’t say I feel completely fulfilled, but it rarely occurs to me to hate or dislike my 9-5 job. I found other ways to find fulfillment, and I’m quite happy with them.
WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO RESPONSE WHEN YOU ARE FEELING UNFULFILLED?
One of my responses is to learn something.
Nothing too heavy, just some quick self-learning type thing. Like how to purge my closet in three easy steps, or how to make easy banana bread. It almost doesn’t matter what it is, I want to immediately feel like I took an action to better myself in some way. And quick learning usually does the trick.
Another thing I do is I immerse myself my side hustles. There are SO many things to learn and there are SO many resources available when it comes to side hustles, I find something, read it, implement it, work on it…whatever. To feel fulfilled, I typically need to feel like I’m gaining control over something,…like I’m finding actionable steps that can lead me to a desired outcome, or like I’m learning something about myself that can help me cope with my current situation or make my current situation better in some way.
Here are some things I did that recently helped me when I needed to feel like I was taking action
1)Listened to a few episodes of The Mindful Kind Podcast. These are quick, 10-ish minute podcasts about mindful and intentional living. I particularly loved her episodes about over-apologizing and how to take things less personally. I also added a few more podcasts to my playlist. They are such a good way to entertain and learn simultaneously! Nuggets of knowledge that you can implement immediately…that’s my jam!
2)Tried The Little Red Window’s tutorial on making clay trinket dishes. Ummm this is my new passion now and it has transitioned into keychains and earrings and wine charms and coasters and whatever I can think of…I’m feeling an etsy shop coming on! Here is a peek inside my new ceramics studio (aka the kitchen counter…lol).
3)Worked on my existing hobby of making beaded jewelry, which is a nice compliment to the clay trinket dishes I’ve been creating. So I’ve been doing them both as I have spare time. Here is a bracelet/earring/trinket dish set that I made recently for my sister.
4)Researched and created new styles for t-shirts, including more cities, states, hbcu’s, and customization options. If my main job isn’t fulfilling, that’s just motivation for me to rev the engine on my side hustle. Here is a style that I launched recently that immediately started selling as soon as I put it in my etsy store. If you like the style, let me know how I can customize it for you!
5)Downloaded and started working through some e-books related to my business, including A Guide for Procrastinating Bloggers by The Black Princess Diaries. This e-book made me examine some ways that I procrastinate and helped me think of steps that I can take to avoid procrastination. Ummm…needed that!! I had some immediate take-aways after finishing the e-book!
What do you do when you feel unfulfilled at work or in life? Do you have any tips? I’d love to hear them!