Are your emotions thriving or thrashing in your job?

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Considering the rocky state of the economy right now, you may count yourself lucky just to have a job, never mind giving a second thought to how happy you are there. However, don’t be so quick to dismiss your feelings about your job; companies know that happier employees are more innovative and loyal. If your job meets your emotional needs, you’re a much bigger asset to the company than you may have thought.

Mark Ingwer, business psychologist and author of “Empathetic Marketing,” identifies five core emotional needs that every company and employee should know about in order to be more successful and motivated. Check your professional pulse with these five emotional needs, and find out if you’re thriving in your work environment or if you belong on life support.

A sense of belonging is indispensable if your company encourages innovation and creativity. Being comfortable around your co-workers and boss establishes an open environment that will be more receptive when you pitch new ideas. “Businesses that cater to and help us meet the need to belong will uncover previously unexplored opportunities,” Ingwer says. Are your co-workers a little standoffish? Talk to your boss about ideas that can bring the group together. An office book chat or a community volunteering day can open up your co-workers and get people talking.

Are you being handed more responsibilities and projects to head as time goes on? Being given more control is a clear sign of how your company measures your worth and is an easy way for you to gauge your place there. Asking for more responsibility or taking the lead on a project also shows how confident you are at your workplace. Ingwer notes, “We only spend energy on controlling outcomes proportional to our belief that we can succeed.” If you’ve been avoiding your to-do list or have shied away from speaking up, now’s the time to start taking more control of your career and of your place at your company.

How challenged do you feel at your job? Being able to grow in a job or company is a major factor in the evolution of your career. “It’s important to note that we grow most fully when our enlightenment leads to competency, which is extraordinary knowledge in a given area or subject. In one’s career, those who learn more about their niche will get ahead of those who do not,” Ingwer says. Look for opportunities to expand your knowledge about your industry, and continue to challenge yourself. When you reach a point where every day seems like a repeat, see if there’s a chance to move up. Make an appointment to speak with your manager about taking on more responsibilities, and ask if your position can grow to include more leadership possibilities or if there’s a higher opening within the company for which you can be considered. If the conversation is a dead end, it may be time to consider looking for a more challenging position elsewhere.

Are you getting the credit you deserve? Do your co-workers and boss know that you were the one who submitted that great idea? Ingwer notes, “Recognition is paramount any time the need to motivate groups, and individuals within groups, is central to accomplishing organizational goals.” If others are looking to you as a leader and professional role model, your reputation is working in your favor for advancing your career. Still going unnoticed for your hard work? Start getting more involved both in public and private ways at work. Speak up more at group meetings, email others your ideas and ask for input, and stay on track with your projects to start getting noticed.

If you’re fortunate enough to work in a field you care about, you’re already experiencing positive self-expression. “For many people, the most satisfying vehicle for expression is often the work of one’s career,” Ingwer says. But if you’re in a job you couldn’t care less about, your need for self-expression may leave you wanting more. Look for ways to get your interests involved at work. Love messing around with computers? Ask for technology training. Passionate about sports and fitness? Start a company kickball team or organize a company entry in the next marathon. Your self-expression and initiative will make you a stronger figure in the company and get you noticed for the right reasons.

  1. I agree 100% with mtATL! That’s my cure! My job has no moral at all, but I love the work and can’t stand the politics!

  2. This is a great article!  Unfortunately, the trend of treating employees disrespectfully has increased significantly in the financial sector.  I have worked in the financial services sector since 1985 and the last 10 years have been the worst I have ever seen.  Further, the trend of just hiring consultants and abusing them because they desperately need jobs is something that needs to be addressed by the media.  As well, the fact that corporations are getting away with by hiring more and more consultants and still outsourcing financial jobs needs to be addressed.  Human beings have become disposable and it’s a disgrace…  I recently resigned from one of the top 5 financial firms because I worked 12 hour days, did not get the credit I deserved, thus my experience and work ethics were used to get the job done while protecting others who did not deserve to have a job.  I was a consultant and that is what firms are doing now with highly experienced individuals while protecting individuals who are favorites, friends, etc. that do not produce. I was essentially told by a new manager with no experience that “as a consultant” I should keep my mouth shut and do what I am told.  This is the new America.  – Ms. Ramtahal

    •  @22novar 
      Yes “Unfortunately, the trend of treating employees disrespectfully has increased significantly in the financial sector” this is exactly what happens due to the desperate need of the job, and supervisors get away with- and Employers frankly stands for the wrong doing expecting employees can’t win!!

    •  @22novar You may be on to something with “this is the new-america”. We are all so busy following stupid rules, to pay attention when you have someone of value. Move on to another job. Their respect or appreciation will not come if it hasn’t already. We like to think if we hold on longer they will change. Just like men when you marry them. Things don’t change. And if they do, they change back fast.

  3. I am bored and feel underappreciated and undervalued however the problem I have is there isn’t anywhere to go outside my company and not have to relocate.

    • Again – it’s about building a plan with your boss to figure out what tasks you can find in your current job or company that you want to align with and could take on to help you get excited about your work or at least prepare you for the next job.

    •  @Tzdj4p Realize that our ancestor’s came thousands of miles to this country, often times with next to nothing. I wonder why Americans have a reluctance to go where there is better opportunities? Our ancestors didn’t have this sense of entitlement. 

    •  @Tzdj4p
       If you feel you’ve got something to lose (family, friends, love, etc.) if you leave, you can always return every other weekend. I’m sure what/whomever you may fear leaving behind will gladly welcome you back. If they’ve/it has moved on, it would probably be past due to for you to do the same.

  4. I’ve been at my present job for 19 months and rarely ever feel emotionally or personally satisfied.  It’s not the right fit for me but I’ve been unable to find another position.  I’ve been looking for a year now.  How do I keep my sanity when I know I’m a square peg in the round hole until I can find a square hole to fit into?

    • In cases like this, it’s best to just approach your boss and ask about tasks that may be more aligned to what you want to do. Start to build a plan to make where you work more bearable until you can find another position.

    •  @PTD629
       I feel the same way and have been struggling in my “round hole” position for a few years now.  I want to change careers but am afraid that I will choose the wrong path and give up a currently successful one in the process.  What steps have you taken to figure out a change that will work for you? 

  5. what about woman bulling each other my 1 cook claims i get on her nervous and annoying and she follows me around all the time everywhere i’m at there she is but doesn’t do this to anyone she starting to piis me off i’ve been there for a year and have not called in or even been late she even get on me if i was talking and says to what are you doing i attend to get smart back just to let her know she is harrassing i even called headquarters nothing done emotially i can’t take it anymore and i’ve been holding my tongue even more i’m out talking to a manger and she yells at me to come in there now and i was so embrassed and i come out of a very hostile work environment preciously i was there 4yrs intill budget cuts i had to seek couseling before and i feel i need to again some days i can;t stand being there and all the mangers favorite her and we’ve been open only a year and she has ran off 10 cooks and nobody wants to work with her i’m stuck thanks tanya boje

    •  @TanyaBoje 
      This exactly happened to me, until my supervisor was able to convince the executive managers that I have an attitude and my job performance is very bad using a witness of other employee who has been fighting for my position! As a result I was let go, and this was the the first and only job I was terminated in my over 30 years of work time!

    • @TanyaBoje
      Hi Tanya,
      I am so sorry to hear about the frustrations you have at work. Your comment stuck out to me because I have been and your shoes and now I work in Human Resources and I try to listen and understand all the employees who have problems with their supervisor/ manager, etc. first off… You are not a child!! Your are an adult just like her so there is no way hell you should be getting yelled at by another adult. Female in female bullying happens more in the workforce because females are competitive by nature and it’s already hard for us to prove ourselves in our careers because we are actually more skilled than men but we are always underpaid so some women may be threaten by another woman’s intellect because she feels as if she should get that raise, get that invite to lunch with the boss, promotion, etc… So we tend to pick on each other. Obviously there is something about YOU she is jealous about. What I suggest is to sit down and talk to her, BUT always, always, always, make sure there is somebody there to be something like a mediator. Audio record the conversation if u can because more than likely u will take UR complaints to HR but honestly (and I shouldn’t tell u this) but HR will take her side over yours, BUT u have hard prove that u are being harassed then HR can’t deny your claim. If u feel that HR is doing nothing your next step is the BBB, you said she has lost employees previously so it has to her with the problem, lol. Talk with a corporate lawyer, try and gt some advice because u want to keep your job but don’t want to deal with her. And you have EVERY right to love and appreciate your job but she killing your joy.

      •  @ShannahVSShawnie  @TanyaBoje
         you brought me to tears because previously i work at the child development center for 4yrs and the evironment was even worst it was so bad that i had to seek couseling so when i came of to the dining facility the envroniment was even better but i’m the last cook from the oringanal date of opening this facilicty ( this is on an army istallation) now the job i have is from a contractor i’ve even called headquarters her own race doesn’t even talk to her so i know there something wrong she is african american she has ran off at least 10 cook some male and some female and i’m still standing strong thanks for your advice

    • @TanyaBoje Just wanted to say thanks for sharing you story! Im a cook as well for 13 years and recently went threw the same time of situation. Im thinking if we get enough people to write letterd to film producer micheal moore mabe this ostile inviorment in the kitchen and lack of help from HR can be exsposed and later bring change. Heres on of my stories..On May 6, 2012  Around my third week of training I  informed dan besaw and seve mandoza that I was Up early couldn’t really sleep thinking on how to handle this situation. The night before Omar (senior cook )was being racist uncooperative and disrespectful to me during dinner rush, he was this way last weekend but i thought i could handle it my own way, that was no longer the case. I didn’t think i should have had to work with him and go through that ever agin. I foresaw this would cause problems in the future. Especially with a busy week ahead. Seve didn’t reply but dan said This is a very serious issue and i will speak with Carmella about it right away. Core value 1 we treat each other with dignity, respect, honesty, and integrity. And we have policies in place concerning harrassment.  Thank you for bringing this situation to our attention.  You are a valuable member of this team and your concerns will be investigated.  Please do not discuss this with any other team members as our investigation will be a private one and will be confidential between us and the parties involved. and will be confidential between us and the parties involved. (Continued…) I met the following day with Carmela we spoke briefly about my concerns however the core issues went ignored and we talked about how serious accusing someone of racist comments were. The fact that Omar was uncooperative disrespectful and hard to work with during the dinner rush appear to be of little concern. I was then told that Omar was a Diva and that his antics were acceptable most times by management and other team members. Omar responded denying racial  remarks in native tongue, and blamed his behavior on pressure from working QB station. That seem to satisfy management. Omar then apologized and agreed to work with everyone. No policies were enforced, no witness questioned although there were many. It soon appeared There would be no basic Investigation about my on going harassment at that time. In the following days I befriended Omar and we begin to work well together under supervisors. However it wasn’t long before Omar went back to his routine back to his old bullying behavior. In a rage slamming pans that weren’t clean the night before , yelling while pointing his finger in my face because I confronted him about shoving a team member that I saw was inappropriate. While in the middle of a spat i quickly alerted management letting Carmela and Alexandrea know about the uprising that could have turned physical between Omar and I due to the high stress level at the moment. The attention i brought to the situation brought little hope that this ongoing problem would ever be completely defused and resolved. The response i got was Omar is tired because he works two jobs. This was some how supposed to justify his behavior. I belive Omar is a hard worker and i feel like his value to the company is more valuable than its core values in print. I have since learned to work under this conditions but am requesting that i only work part time 3 to 4 days a week so that i can focus on to school and lean towards a new career… Later that week i just said the hell with it and just quit.

      •  @ChefAveryAllen  @TanyaBoje
         quitting is not a a solution for me i will stand and fight i am the last cook still standing she has ran off 10 other cooks i will not let them win i will turn my haters into motivators plus i feed the military i feel that i need to take care of these soilders because these men and woman are fighting for my country. boy oh boy i wish i was there with you when omar had a fit because i would have taught him a lesson i have 2 jobs to first i’m a mother and a cook this head cook is just pure evil and i’ve been fighting this demon for some time i can tell she is getting tired so everyday i just get on her nervous even more i wish the best for you and hope all goes well in whatever you do

  6. My IT job has been outsourced to India 5 times in the last 15 years. I now am employed by an American bases outsourcing company where 75% of employees are in India and Mexico. My company under-staffs to maintain profitability. As a result, we are overworked and treated poorly – constant churn is the norm. I find myself at total burnout point and am so severely impaired by burnout caused depression. I question the statistics that it is easier to find another job while having a job. To complicate things, I am 60 years old and strongly believe age discrimination is rampant. I feel out of options which ia sad as I approach retirement age. Suggestions?

  7. What do you do about women bullying. I’m being harrassed by this woman that I work with and am wondering if there is anything I can do legally to stop the harrassment. I’ve talked to upper management and nothing is being done…any advice.

    •  @shaylove document everything ,dates and times and if there is cameras at work place use them as evidence and send all your complaints in a form of emails so you have tracks if nothing is done about your complaints

    •  @shaylove
       yeah i’m going through the same thing and i’ve went all the way up the chain not sure about anything legally because i would go there i hope and wish the best for you as days go on

  8. Chances are if there are problems such as these, trying to solve them through work will be fruitless. To put it in another context: If you look for another job, get an offer and your current employer counters, don’t take it. Whatever the issues are, they will still be there and you’ll be making too much money to be able to leave. Sometimes corporate cultures aren’t a good fit for someone’s personal values and sometime people get labelled and nothing will overcome it. It’s to go. 

  9. I have had this job for 10 months….after being a part of a hiring class of 23 people I believe their are 7 remaining including myself. The job is not difficult but the managers are micro mangers and the pay is poor….Its hard not to express yourself when your treated like a middle school kid and whatever bonus you make is taken away for the silly things….nobody wants to feel they are being pimped.

  10. I have had this job for 10 months….after being a part of a hiring class of 23 people I believe their are 7 remaining including myself. The job is not difficult but the managers are micro mangers and the pay is poor….Its hard not to express yourself when your treated like a middle school kid and whatever bonus you make is taken away for the silly things….nobody wants to feel they are being pimped. What happen to the good jobs.

  11. I had truly enjoyed my job for quite sometime. Then it became women against women, discrimination, and so on. I’ve always worked in more of men environment and I would trade all these women in to go back to that.
    I like to say that I have always been a teamplayer, but there is no team when there is no players. I see a lot of jealousy, crookedness, intimidation…and I know that this is not what you would call an idea job.

    •  @Sandy Morreale
       yep i can very much relate on the weekends i’m the only female as a cook and it’s seems everything runs well but our head cook mon thru friday is simply evil and tag team with the manger and ate up with favoritzim and just rides ther hell out of me and switches back and forth with other employees i mean literally talk crap to me and if i say one word back she threatens to write me up i’m at my wits end but the one they favorite never gets in trouble

  12. I work in a large, nationwide department store chain. While I have had several positions in management ( usually assistant store manager in small, specialty chain stores ) I am currently
    “just” a sales associate. This can be very frustrating when I see fellow employees that are essentially slackers, warm bodies, pay-checkers, etc..  As a non-manager I can’t do much about this and I feel like a “snitch” if I report them. I get even more frustrated when I see management that’s not seeing what I see and may even have a “whatever” attitude to lousy employees.
    When it comes to “Self expression” I do plenty! When it comes to “Recognition and Belonging”  I’m okay there too. It’s the “Growth and Control” that I don’t have and/or don’t see happening.
    So I’m “thriving” in some ways, but “thrashing” like a salmon trying to get upstream in other ways. Is it my imagination or is retail “management” going through the same kind of apathy
    I see rampant in the rest of society???

  13. I totally agree with most of the comments. Unfortunately, right now and has been an employers world for quite some time due to the economic changes and the shift in power. We as employees do not have the say that we used to have in relation to how we are treated and many are very unhappy with their state of circumstances at their workplace. I do not see this changing, yet, I see us changing. Unfortunately, we will be treated unfairly very often and we need to figure out how to deal with it by changing our thinking in order to survive in the world where we can be replaced in a second by someone else wanting our job and the employer is well aware of this, or this trend would end. If we change our thinking by knowing we have a job, we have a choice to leave when it gets unbearable then we take back our power and stop giving it to others who harass us. I am self-employed and I will tell you it is the hardest job I have ever had because I am responsible to make sure everything gets done without any support except that from God and that is truly all I need. I have learned that praying for those who harass me will take care of the problem more often than not. I was told in early recovery to pray for those people to have all of the desires of their heart and do this for two weeks and the problem will resolve. It has worked many times. I also put those people in a “God box” which for some reason the act of putting their name down on paper and placing it in a box to pray for them, when I remember to do so, simply takes it off of me and gives it to the “God of my understanding.” While all do not believe in God, I believe most believe in a “higher power” which will provide the same results. It is a very difficult society we live in especially in the work field, yet, we can overcome the obstacles by A/ going back to school part time to find a career that is like-minded as we are and something we truly want to be doing. B/. take courses to learn more about our field in order to better understand our field, thus, proving to be more of an expert instead of a complainer and C/ always realize we have a choice to be treated good or bad and most people will not continue to treat us bad if they get no response, thus, we keep our power and not give it to them. D/ when we become frustrated and angry we give away our power and we lose our Joy and Peace and that is easier said than done, I realize that, yet, I work with lots of clients that have a sense of entitlement and at the end of the day, they have to go home with themselves and I do not. I have to be accountable for my actions only and that is a big enough job. Charles Darwin once said, “it is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent that survive, it is the one most adaptive to change.” I so understand and while I am not really that happy running a small business, I do know, thanks to you guys and your messages, that things are still really bad working for others and that is oftentimes why I keep trying to make this small business work. I can’t afford to hire help and what I have hired, most have not wanted to work the way that I work, so, I work alone. It could be much worse and I don’t believe we oftentimes realize what our ancestors had to do to survive, if we did, we would be more grateful for our lots in life as I need to be more grateful for my job. I so appreciate the opportunity to read your blogs as they are great and I feel your pain, I truly do. I am working on changing my attitude daily and as long as I change me, then, noone else can have my power. If I could only remember that when I get pissed off, lol. 

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