Remaining your authentic self in the day job
Work is where we spend the majority of our time. More of us are working longer in our lifetime as retirement age continues to increase here in the UK. So creating a happier and healthier work life doing a job you love is just so important.
Nearly a fifth of UK adults are unhappy in their job, according to a survey carried out by Wrike in January this year. The survey found that the main reason for job unhappiness was the importance of 'doing meaningful work'. Survey respondents just didn't feel the passion, the purpose or even themselves in the work that they are doing.
So many of us fall into the work we do today by accident. An opportunity presented itself and we then find ourselves in a job because we needed it or it felt like a good idea at the time. It doesn't bring us joy or help us to feel fulfilled but it's all we know.
Perhaps you studied for a certain type of profession when you were younger for a career you thought would be the right one to go into for one reason or another. You're now in that place where it just doesn't feel right, it doesn't feel like you and you now feel trapped.
You've either figured out where you want to be and setting the wheels in motion for the next step, but for the time being you have to remain in the day job until you're in a place where you can take the leap and be where you want to be.
Maybe you're hungry to progress your career, ideally with the company you work for, but in order to progress you've got to be something that someone else expects you to be, in order for you to achieve your career aspirations. You're feeling the pressure to stay late, always overdeliver and continually prove yourself to your boss or peers to demonstrate that you're either capable or the right person for the job.
You need the money. You're in a job that pays a good salary. You get paid when you take leave or are off sick and your annual leave quota works in your favour. However, the environment / colleagues / managers / work just isn't working for you and you feel like you're selling your soul just that little bit more each day you have to go into that place.
If you can relate to any of these situations or bits of each one, then it can be an exhausting place to be in. Living a work life like this will gradually build up like tartar on teeth and things will start to take its toll on you - emotionally, mentally and physically if you're not being true to yourself.
They can impact every area of your life - your relationships, your personal growth, your health, your social time, your finances and even the work that you're doing.
After a while, you start to question what you're doing and in some instances become unrecognisable to your loved ones and even yourself. The person staring back at you in the mirror doesn't look like you anymore. You start to question how you got here and where did it all change.
Truth is we all need to be someone different in our work environments to some degree. We need to bring an element of professionalism into our work life, which carries through into our persona and the job we carry out. You will be different in work to the person you are outside of the job. But, and this is a big BUT, you don't have to compromise your authenticity to do this. Being you. Because as soon as you start changing to be what someone wants or expects, you become mis-aligned with your direction, your path in life. Creating that out of balance feeling internally for you, resulting in depression, stress, anxiety and many other tough and challenging emotions.
If you're struggling to remain authentic in your work life right now, apply these steps in your life today.
- If you're already employed, what are the values of your employer, the company you work for? These should be visible and promoted across your company workplace. Do they align with your values in life? If not, then maybe it's time to make a change.
- Write out why you go and do the job you do. What are your reasons, get clear on your 'why'. How is your 'why' being met in your current work situation today? Does it align?
- Trust your instincts - if something feels off then don't put yourself in a situation that you don't agree with or wish to progress with. Speak up and explain why you don't think it's right. Nobody has the right to make you do something or put you in a situation that you don't agree with.
- Write out how you are compromising your authentic self in your current work situation. What do you need to do to bring 'you' back into your life?
You are you for a reason. There's no one else out there like you. The qualities that make you who you are, allow you to contribute the best you can in the workplace.
Don't compromise being your authentic self at work or any area of your life.
You're here to shine and live with purpose.