Word-Of-the-Week #678: Satisfaction

August 3, 2017 by  

Satisfaction – the feeling of contentment and fulfillment.

How would you rate your work satisfaction? Do you like your supervisors? Do you feel like a valued member of the team?

This week Doug Williams San Diego UT article offers tips on, “How to stay afloat when your workplace is toxic.” He writes, “Every day, you walk into work expecting the worst. Your once-dream job is a nightmare.

Maybe it’s because your boss is a jerk, incompetent (or both). Or the company keeps downsizing but demands more and more. Maybe that work-life balance human resources once stressed in orientation is as dead as the dodo. Perhaps it’s all of the above, and more.

Dissatisfaction at work is common in the U.S. A Gallup study earlier this year indicated 51 percent of U.S. employees don’t feel connected to their jobs. But for some, dissatisfaction is too mild a term. The same study reports 16 percent of employees are “actively disengaged,” meaning they’re tuned out and miserable. For these people, their workplace is toxic. That stress can impact their physical and mental health, resulting in anxiety, loss of sleep, anger or depression.

Among the signs of a toxic workplace: constant turnover, high absenteeism, lack of positive feedback and growth opportunities, bullying, increased demands and incompetent or abusive leadership.

Catherine Mattice Zundel, a human resources consultant and expert on workplace bullying for Civility Partners in La Mesa, says much of that toxicity comes from employees feeling under duress. She gets emails that say, “I’m in a terrible situation at work. Can you help me?”

“Thirty-five percent of the workforce feels bullied on any given day,” she says, citing two studies. Bullying can be in the form of constant, unjust criticism, being yelled at in front of co-workers, becoming the subject of gossip or feeling shunned or insulted by co-workers.

“Workplace bullying runs the gamut from aggressive communication that we can all see and point to and say it’s aggressive, down to passive-aggressive, under-the-radar behaviors that are hard to pinpoint,” says Mattice Zundel.

Mattice Zundel works with companies on culture change. She listens to what employees say while also discussing with executives what they want from their workers. Her goal is to propose changes that transform a toxic work environment to a positive, thriving one. Sometimes that means a complete overhaul, including redefining core values and emphasizing respect while training for better communication and conflict resolution.

But how does an employee cope if the workplace environment doesn’t change? The obvious cure is to leave and find another job, but that’s not always possible. What then?

“If you choose to stay in the workplace, you have to choose to manage the way you think about your workplace,” says Mattice Zundel.

Christy Cassisa, director of WorkLife Integration at UC San Diego’s Center for Mindfulness, says there are strategies for coping, starting with knowing what you can and can’t control. Practicing mindfulness — focusing on being fully aware in the moment without checking out or being reactive or judgmental — can help.

“The first thing to remember, you can only manage yourself,” she says. “You can’t control other people, especially if it’s a manager being the toxic factor. And in terms of managing yourself, really, that’s where mindfulness comes in very powerfully, to help the employee realize what they can control and to let go of what they can’t. Sometimes that letting go of what you can’t control is a huge relief for people.”

This week is all about work/life satisfaction. Do you feel fulfilled and content? Do you have any toxic relationships? Are you trying to control other people?

Stay Tuned! Next week Williams tips on coping.

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