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Overcoming Mediocrity At Work

Work Driving You Nuts?

Image Credit: Austin Moody

Are you finding yourself dreading to wake up in the morning and go to work? Do you pray for the weekend to arrive quickly and release you from that misery called work? And when the time comes do you dread receiving calls and SMSs on your mobile phone fearing it’s about something work related?

The bad news is that you might be suffering from occupational anxiety. The good news is that it’s not the end of your world. I’d like to share some tips on overcoming this phase of one’s professional life. Even if you haven’t faced it before, it’s still worth reading because chances are, it will happen to you too.

Do something new

A common problem faced professionals and working adults is the dreaded burnout. In Oxford University Press’ Principles of Organizational Behaviour, burnout is defined as:

An extreme emotional state characterized by emotional exhaustion, a diminished sense of personal accomplishment, and cynicism. Originally identified in social workers, the concept is now applied more generally. One problem with burnout research is establishing whether it is a cause or effect of other responses such as job satisfaction and work performance.

I’m no OB expert, but I had my share of a burnout or two. While Oxford University Press can’t really pin down whether burnout is a result of job disatisfaction or its cause; from what I’ve gone through, I’m more inclined to say that its the former.

This is especially true if one’s work becomes too routine and approaching the point of plateauing.

We need constant and gradual challenges to sharpen our skills and abilities. This is what’s meant by the word experience. The way we handle our working responsibilities contribute to our professional maturity.

If you feel that you are approaching a stagnant point when it comes to work, it would be helpful to raise the issue with your immediate superior. Perhaps he might have other projects that might be perfect for you.

Do something you’re good at

OK, this might seem obvious but there are lots of people who are currently making a living doing something they’re not good at. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, to make this work, you got to have the intention to become better in the undertaking.

We got to start somewhere, and it is very rare that somebody can become good at a job from the start. Humans are very much able to become good at something by practising.

Some skills are very much in demand. Most people who are trapped in the scenario of doing something they’re very good at, but disliking the job in general. In most cases, the contributing factors to this negative feeling has little or nothing to do with the job itself. Some examples are, inconducive environment, personality clashes with colleagues or management and difficulty in sustaining high motivation levels.

If you find yourself in this situation, perhaps it’s time to take up similar challenges with a different employer. Perhaps it’s even time for you to do your own thing and become an entrepreneur!

Do something you love

There’s a difference between doing something out of necessity and doing something purely because of the love of doing it.

How would you know if you’re doing something you love? To me, there’s an easy answer to this question: If you’d do something for absolutely no material gains whatsoever without even batting an eyelid when asked to do it.

Now just because you’d do it just for the love of the work, it doesn’t mean that you have to do it for free. Some people stumbled into the realms of entrepreneurship by doing something they love doing better than anyone else in the industry. They probably even charge less than the competition, because they’re aren’t primarily in it for the money.

In fact, for such people, doing an excellent job is what matters most. The money that comes in from doing it is considered as a bonus.

So if you feel that you’re stuck doing something that you’re not passionate with, perhaps it’s time that you seriously consider moving on to something more closer to your heart.

Of course, it is entirely possible to do something new that you’re good at and love doing at the same time. The descriptions above aren’t in any special order whatsoever, so the balancing of all three points is entirely yours to experiment with. The main thing is to remain productively happy.