Guest Contribution by Dr. Joti Samra
One of my favourite quotes is from the renowned Dr. Sigmund Freud: “Love and work are the cornerstones of our humanness”. For many of us, our livelihood is an integral part of our overall sense of happiness and wellbeing.
Work – when it is going well – provides us with a sense of purpose and meaning. Our job can help us feel confident and competent, and is intrinsically rewarding. It also serves as an important source of social connection. When our work is not going well, however, it can be a source of significant distress and unhappiness.
When our level of satisfaction with work decreases, it can be helpful to examine what has changed. Sometimes, our work/career goals shift. Other times, we realize that we have unrealistic or over-idealized views of what our position would or should entail, and over time we realize it wasn’t all we thought it would be. Sometimes, our job responsibilities change over time. All of these can be factors that contribute to a mismatch between expectations and the reality of the position in which you find yourself.
It can be helpful to ask yourself if there are certain elements of your position (including co-worker/supervisor relationships) that are exacerbating issues for you and making you feel stressed about work. Are you struggling with job tasks? If yes, it may be that problem-solving some of the workplace issues may help you to feel more at ease and better enjoy your job.
It can also be helpful to examine other factors that may be contributing to not feeling fulfilled at work. Identify and problem-solve other things happening in your life that may be contributing and increasing your overall stress levels (e.g., poor sleep, poor diet, conflict in important relationships). Often, positively changing our personal circumstances can lead to a ripple effect in our satisfaction with work.
Reminder: UBC staff and faculty who are registered in UBC’s benefits plans have coverage of per year to see a Registered Psychologist. Visit http://www.hr.ubc.ca/benefits/extended-health/ for more information.
This article is adapted in part from an article Dr. Samra wrote for The Globe and Mail on May 26, 2011.
Dr. Joti Samra, R. Psych., has been guest contributor to the Healthy UBC Newsletter since April 2014 She is a clinical psychologist and organizational media consultant. She is the host of OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network’s “Million Dollar Neighbourhood” and was the psychological consultant to CITY-TV’s “The Bachelor Canada”. She has also served as a psychological consultant and expert to a number of other TV shows and news outlets. Dr. Samra maintains a clinical practice in Vancouver. Her website is www.drjotisamra.com and she can be followed @drjotisamra