NOTE: While this article was written using a backdrop of finding a job you like, the essence of what you are about to read applies to finding a great relationship, and, actually, just about every aspect of life. So read it with that awareness.
If you ever hope to have a job you love, there are some fundamental things that you’re going to need to change about yourself before it can ever happen. Even if you manage to fool your way into an incredible job that you totally love, you will eventually find the job meeting you head-on and many of the elements you’ve hated about past jobs will come rushing in, ruining the experience of the new job that you started thinking might be your “perfect” job.
The problem with so many of the things you don’t like about various jobs comes down to the thoughts and beliefs you have. Each belief is like a filter. When you start at a new job, your attention is overwhelmed with the newness of the job. Since you have high hopes that the job will match your desires (or at least your needs), you instantly pay attention to everything that is different and good with the new job. But once the newness wears off, you begin to take a closer look and evaluate everything through your belief filters (which, in this case, are a specific set of job-related biases). Then you start to notice how dirty the bathroom is, how the employees don’t clean up their messes in the break room, and you even begin to encounter the same type of back-stabbing, lazy, double-talking people you left at your last job, and the job before that, and the job before that…etc.
Filtering Out Good People And Good Circumstances
Whatever you look for, you will find. In fact, the better you get at looking for some aspect or quality in your working environment, the easier it is to find whatever you’re looking for because you’re honing this skill to the level of a refined art form. Again, it’s because those filters are in place. But the filters, themselves, are not bad. They are, in fact, completely neutral to you, your happiness, and how you choose to define them. If you create a filter called “back-stabbing people”, the “mind material” that the filter is made out of is just as capable of being labeled as “helpful-and-generous people”.
Here’s the mind-blowing thing about these particular awareness filters. They don’t filter out things, they filter them in! These are filters that attract the things you’re looking for and magnify them so they’re easier to recognize. Sometimes it can seem that these things find you without any effort on your end. So when you’re not even trying to meet any lazy people or dump-everything-on-you people at your new job, or any I’m-always-right people or this-job-doesn’t-pay-enough people, they just wind up right in your path. And the first thing you think is, “I’m trying to get away from people like this, but I guess every job has them.” And if you expect them to be everywhere, that filter makes sure you find them…everywhere!
Haven’t you ever noticed how your jobs and working circumstances seem to always match your expectations? If your inner dialogue uses words like, “I’m never going to find a decent-paying job!” or “No matter where I go, I always have to work with idiots!” you’re going find confirmation of your beliefs (known as confirmation bias) at every job due to your active filters because your filters are set and ready to notice things that match what you believe.
Changing How You “See” Things
Do you understand what all of this means? While it may seem like there’s no hope for you ever finding a job you actually like, the complete opposite is closer to the truth. And that’s really great for you!
As I stated before, the filters really don’t give a flip how you label and use them. They function without having an opinion about how you’re using them (the mind is crazy-powerful!). They also obey your dictates without resistance. Why is this good? Because having this awareness means you can create new filters and replace the old ones. And until you start replacing these filters of inclusion or attraction, what you experience at every new job won’t change, nor will the circumstances at your current job. So, to start with, let’s change how you “see” things.
Strategies for Improving Your Work Attitude
Interrupt Your Bad Mood: When you’re having a bad day or just had a run-in with a co-worker or boss, or are just having trouble with a project or task and it puts you in a foul mood, the number-one most important thing you can do to begin to improve your job and work experience is to do whatever you have to do to stop feeling bad. When you’re feeling bad, you’re reinforcing the filters that are working to bring more of what you’re expecting…which isn’t good. Try a few of these for starters:
- Recite the alphabet backward or count down from 100 — shout the letters or numbers loudly in your head.
- Start making a shopping list or To-Do list in your head.
- Mentally make a top-ten list of your all-time favorite funny movies.
- See how many animals you can think of that start with the letter “A”, then move on to the letter “B”, etc.
Change your Language: When you have a rough experience at work, don’t obsess over it for hours, replaying it and thinking the same negative thoughts and words about it, again and again. This causes a domino-effect which ripples out into all areas of your work place and life experience. If you’ve already distracted yourself (as in step one) and you’ve neutralized your anger and kept the bad mood from spiraling out of control, the next step is to begin to talk yourself into a better mood. Find the kindest words you can think of that will begin to improve how you feel. Once you find a thought that makes you feel better, it gets easier to find another and another. Here are some examples of this:
- “While I think my boss is wrong, I understand that he may actually believe he is right. If I were in his shoes, I might have reacted the same way.”
- “Every time we work on Saturdays, I get stuck with this task, but I know that I’m probably the best at doing it, so maybe that’s why I’m asked to do it every time. My boss may actually appreciate the way I do it.”
- “Even though I get stressed out now and then, this job has some great perks, like I have a window which lets in the sun…which I really love. And I enjoy working with the people in my department. We like to make each other laugh a lot.”
- “Sometimes I really don’t like this job, but I’m thankful that I am able to provide for my family with this job. I have good insurance and a 401k.”
- “I really do like the flexibility I have with this job. I can take time off to be with my kids when I need to. Not every job is this flexible.”
- “This job can be repetitive but it’s actually easy and I do it well. Because it’s repetitive, it gives me time to think and plan, which I really appreciate.”
- “This job definitely sucks less than my last job, because at least I’m no longer working on 3rd shift. That means I get to see my family more often. I’m so thankful for that.”
Avoid “Pity Parties”: People of like mind gather together. And when people are generally miserable about their jobs, then tend to complain (a lot!) when they find themselves huddled together with other like minds. Just listen the next time you walk into a small group of talking co-workers. If you find them complaining most of the time, don’t join in. If they’re talking about something more positive, stick around. Also, be cautious when you hear co-workers complaining about someone at work. There’s no way for you to know how accurate that information is or what filters the complaining co-worker is operating with. Form your own opinions about others (with an emphasis toward seeing the good in them).
Expect Something Better: Before you can find something better, you have to expect something better. But this has to start with the job you already have, because no matter where you go to work, you take yourself (and your filters) with you. If you continue to “see” things the same old way, nothing will change. Set an intention before the work day begins that you will look for positive aspects about your current job, no matter what is going on or how much it displeases you. You’re not ignoring “what is” and pretending that “problems” or “challenges” don’t exist, you’re consciously choosing to focus on the best aspects of your job, rather than obsessing over the worst.
The more you become centered in the positive aspects all around you, the more you’ll come to expect more of the same. See (or find) the best in all conditions and people, regardless if they’re showing you their worst. Doing this will begin to create new filters and remove the old ones. A belief about yourself is like a filter through which every opportunity must pass. Only when you believe in yourself will the opportunities get through. And then you will begin to find more favorable work environments at your present job and all future ones.