Workplace Inspiration: 5 tips for dealing with workplace blues
A recent survey found that nearly 80% of workers in London are unhappy in their jobs. Most blamed their unhappiness on bad management or bullying. Even more saddening is that 29% of women and 25% of men in the workplace admitted to suffering from depression. Another article states that more than half of the UK’s employed workforce would rather be in a different career. This is a staggering number. Christians would undoubtedly fall into the group of unsatisfied employees, but what can we do about it? How do we ensure that despite the situation in our workplaces we are still shining God’s light? I would like to share with you, 5 tips for dealing with workplace blues.
1) Pray. Never underestimate the power of prayer. Part of my daily routine involves praying before I leave the house, and I include God in every aspect of my job. I’ve had meetings I was dreading going to, turn out relatively smoothly because I prayed before I went in. I’ve been in situations where things appeared to be falling apart but they didn’t and I believe it is because prayer was involved. Pray for yourself, pray for wisdom to deal with difficult situations and colleagues, and for the skills you need to do your job to the best of your ability.
2) Talk about it. If your opinion is sought after at work, you shouldn’t take this for granted. Tell your bosses if there is something they can do to improve things at work. If they take your advice, great. If not, in my experience, I’ve found that it really helps if you have one or two people you can confide in if you’re struggling at work. The HR manager may be a good person to talk to, as they may be able to implement change. Having friends that know the work environment so understand what you’re going through can also ease the strain of a stressful workplace. If this isn’t the case, speaking with family and friends also helps, so that you’re not bottling in all the emotions. They may also be able to bring insight from an objective standpoint. If things are really bad, seek professional help. It is important that you remain healthy both physically and mentally in order to do the job effectively, so do not hesitate to contact your occupational health service or see a private counsellor / psychiatrist if you feel you need to.
3) Brainstorm solutions. As Christians, we are called to be the salt of the earth. This means that wherever we are, things should get better because we are there. We should be part of the solution and not the problem. If things are not being run how they should be, think of solutions and suggest them, or implement them. You may feel like your position doesn’t afford you the opportunity or privilege to make a difference, or implement change, for example in a large organisation, but someone once said, ‘we’re not called to change the world, just to change our world’. And that can start with changing one person’s world. It could be something as small as introducing a 'bring and share lunch' once a month for your team, or speaking with HR about having an employee recognition programme.
4) Get a hobby. And I don’t mean scrolling through social media. I mean, find something that you love doing that will help take your mind off work (but please don’t do this whilst at work!). It could be anything. And when you leave work, try to leave work at work, if you know what I mean. I once had a colleague whose wife also worked in the same company. When I asked them how they managed working together in an environment that sometimes could be very stressful, they admitted that they had a rule whereby they agreed not to talk about work at home. They talked things through in the car on the way home, but stopped at the door. For them, home was a place to relax and unwind, and they didn’t want to bring the stresses of work into that sanctuary. Get a hobby that helps you to relax, and keeps your mind off things. Spend time with family and friends. Don’t make your life all about work. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter.
5) Always strive for excellence. As Christians, we have to lead by example. This includes basic things like being on time for work, not abusing tea / lunch breaks, delivering high quality work at all times, and being pleasant to our colleagues. You’re not expected to be everyone’s best friend, but if we lead by example, no one should have a bad word to say about us. This is also important for when you finally decide to call it a day and need references! I remember being told once that we are constantly being watched by non-Christians, consciously or sub-consciously, to see how we live our lives. When I was a kid, we had a decorative plaque at home that read ‘Let your daily life be the gospel you preach’. I didn’t really understand it till I got much older. We won't always get things right, but if we strive for excellence in all that we do, we are letting our light shine before men, and giving God glory through it (see Matthew 5:16).
Some of us may have to be in an unpleasant workplace environment for a period of time. If you find yourself in that situation, remember that God is with you, and He will bring you through any challenge that you may face, no matter how difficult. It can be tough when you’re unhappy in your job, and waiting for that breakthrough, perhaps to do something that you actually have a passion for. Sometimes, it is worth remembering that we are placed where we are for a season and for a purpose and it is up to us to discover what that is. Remember that seasons come and go; you don’t want to look back and wish that you did things differently.
Copyright Urenna Kiwanuka