Time for a career gut check: Can you find gratitude in your work?

Tis the season for gratitude. With thanksgiving last week, the holidays are officially in full swing and many any of us are giving serious thought to what we are grateful for: friends, family, community, health, the earth around us….


What about our work? Are we giving specific attention to how grateful we are for our careers? And I don’t just mean thankful for a job with a paycheck to put food on the table. Yes, that part is extremely important, and without it the rest I am about to share doesn’t mean much. Once that basic need is secured though, what else can and should we be thankful for in our careers? A lot in fact! Read on to learn about the many other things we need to be thinking about when pondering work gratitude:


Organizational culture: The values, beliefs, and behaviors that drive an organization are at the core of your work experience with any company. The potential for gratitude is in the alignment between your values, beliefs, and behaviors and your company’s organizational culture. It is important to consider whether your organization lives and breathes the culture being explicitly communicated, or if a different set of rules and standards are actually driving the organization. In other words: does your organization walk the talk, or just talk the talk?


Leadership: Definitions of effective organizational leadership abound and no “one size fits all” approach exists, but there are some common themes to most leadership definitions. The potential for gratitude is in your leadership’s ability to create a vision, set a direction, and inspire and motivate effective teams around the delivery of that vision. Do you feel inspired, supported, and motivated by the bigger picture your company is trying to achieve?


Peers: For many of us our work peers are like a second family. It’s not surprising given we spend more time at work than most anywhere else. The potential for gratitude is in having peers you are willing and actually want to work with toward achieving organizational goals. Do you feel heard and respected by your peers? Do they support and motivate you? Are you learning from them?


The Work: The role we perform within our organizations is perhaps the most obvious part of our work experience. It is important to understand how the design of your role impacts you. The potential for gratitude is in the opportunity to exercise your skills, knowledge, and experience to make a difference to the company. Does your role give you a sense of purpose? Are you able to see and feel the impact you make within your organization? Do you have the autonomy to make decisions about how your role is defined, how you perform your work, and how it impacts the larger organization?


If after reading this, you’re not feeling a whole lot of gratitude for your current work situation don’t worry. You’re not alone! Job situations like this are in fact symptomatic of our lack of focus and intention on the bigger picture of our career lives. Many of us don’t realize or believe things can and should be different for us at work. We tend to let things happen to us, (aka “fall in our laps”) without giving real thought to what it is we really want to do, and how we want to make an impact in our professions.


Want to experience more gratitude at work? First acknowledge you have the power to change it. You can change your work experience by intentionally taking control of your situation, taking stock of where you are, and defining where you want to be in your career. Identify what each of those important components above mean to you, prioritize your career needs, and then build a plan to find organizations and roles that will serve you better.


On a personal note: This holiday season I will be feeling and sharing a lot of gratitude for the opportunity to help others find and refine their professional missions and thrive in their work lives. This only happened after I decided to fully embrace the opportunities in front of me with intention and take control of how I use my unique skills and experience to make a positive impact helping others improve their professional lives.


Whatever your career path - whatever your current job, you have the potential to design a career with intention and experience true work gratitude of your very own making. Are you ready?


Need help? Get in touch to learn more about how I partner with professionals like you to craft and tell your professional story in an authentic and compelling way, to define your full value in the job market, and identify ways to gain access to opportunities that align with your career goals and that inspire and motivate you.

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