*Originally Published in Fast Company
Over the last three years, stories about quiet quitting, quiet firing, and the Great Resignation filled our newsfeeds. New data from ADP’s Research Institute tells us, however, that despite almost 10 million jobs being available, people are quitting less and staying in their current roles.
Why now are people staying, and why are you staying? Maybe it’s the fear of a loss of stability or the rolling recession, or perhaps it’s a psychological realization that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
Staying might feel complacent, but here are four ways to make your current role feel more compelling again:
1. Revisit how your role supports your whole self, not just your work self
Slip back into the "first day on the job shoes" and ask yourself, why did you accept this job? The truth might be money-related, but there are bound to be other benefits to accepting this role. Perhaps you were pumped to work with such an innovative team, the shorter commute freed up more time, or the role had the potential to boost your career. Now that the newbie dust has since settled make a list of the benefits your role offers and ask yourself the following:
- Do they help you show up in work and life in a way that is authentically you?
- Do they allow you to spend your precious time on the things that matter most to you (whether work or in life)?
Being in a role that supports your whole self and allows you time to do what matters most can be a compelling reason to jump out of bed and look forward to the workday.
2. Take the time to create friendships at work, not just acquaintances
When I say it’s important to make friends at work, it’s not with the intention of networking or friending someone just for a career bump. If anything, it’s actually for your health and happiness. In a 2023 report from the U.S. Surgeon General, loneliness and isolation are considered a joint epidemic. The report cites that the mortality impact of loneliness is akin to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day. On the flip side, if you were told meaningful social interactions added more time to your life, I bet you’d be exchanging long hellos in the hallway more often.
Being a social butterfly might not be your thing, but the point is to have more social interactions that feel more fulfilling than just talking about the weather. Try striking up a conversation with a new person (once a day, a week, or a month) because they did or said something you appreciated. You might not be BFFs, but the next time you talk, it’ll be about something beyond the forecast.
3. Replace the constant “Negative Nancy” criticism of your workplace, peers, + leadership, instead have recommendations
Negativity loves company, and it also loves to run the gamut in your mind. You may have heard of negativity bias, which is the tendency to receive and dwell on negative stimuli or the “bad stuff.” Primally, we had to be on high alert to (literally) survive because we had to run before a saber-tooth tiger got a chance to pounce. Today, instead of assessing carnivores, we’re making judgments about what someone meant in an email or why someone was late getting to work.
So when you’re feeding your mind negative thoughts about your job (even if it is a good job), you might be conditioning yourself to see it as a perpetual threat or bad thing. The next time a negative thought, a bit of criticism, or an “ugh” comes to mind, take a deep breath and then replace those pet peeves with some positives.
- My boss should’ve been more supportive of my proposal -> My boss’ work priorities and mine usually align; it’s okay if it’s not all the time
- I hate working with [insert name] -> I really appreciate that they’re always on time with their projects; it helps me do my job better
Another thing you can do to combat criticism is to ask, “What’s in it for me, and what’s in it for all?” Instead of thinking that you would make all the better decisions at work than your leadership and peers, think (with rationality) about how you can be an effective changemaker. Changemakers look to make recommendations to help the community, and know-it-alls are only in it for themselves. Despite how much you may think you'd do better, it's way more fulfilling to get buy-in to do good.
4. Take inspiration + give inspiration
Do you know anyone at work or in your personal life who has happily stayed at their company for years? Get to know their why and take inspiration from it. A man named Walter Orthmann holds the Guinness record for working at one job for the longest time (84 years and nine days). Regarding his tenure, he said, “You need to get busy with the present, not the past or the future. Here and now is what counts.” Instead of fretting about staying at your job for another week, month, or year, being present can inspire you to appreciate it one day at a time.
Another way to feel inspired often is to become a source of inspiration yourself. Instead of scaring your newer peers with subtle warnings and lukewarm welcomes, be positive, and encouraging, and model a good work ethic. By becoming a beacon of light for an unsure newbie, your mind will weave more positivity into your day and make it more compelling.
Challenge yourself to take these pointers on and evaluate how you feel after a week. You no longer have to sigh before every (zoom) meeting or feel indifferent about your work outings. You can make your every day feel more 'worth' it when you put intention towards how you show up now, laying down the groundwork for the future and how you live your purpose, practically.
Making every day feel worth it comes from nurturing yourself while you grow others. Our Greenhouse Method can guide you on the right conditions to thrive in both work and life.