Work…sounds so annoying to most. Many activities in life seems to be much more compelling than work. Leisure activities are fun, for sure. But work is an essential part of our lives, too. For Freud, work is one of the cornerstones of our humanness.

Take a look at the list below;

At work,

  • you get bored most of the time,
  • you feel like you are not productive in a meaningful way,
  • you cannot get any appreciation from your manager or your co-workers,
  • you think that you have very little control over things and that your opinions are not valued,
  • you do not learn much,
  • you have negative relationships with others or you do not feel like you are connected to others.

How many of these look familiar to you? A satisfying work life necessitates that we satisfy our important psychological needs. If you think that most of the above cases identify your situation at work, why not consider trying to changes things a bit?

The above cases may happen because of a lot of things. Some of them are not under your control such as a disrespectful boss or long working hours. But you may choose to focus on what you can influence – at least to a certain extent.

In order to live a good life, be a motivated worker, and maintain good interpersonal relationships we need to satisfy certain psychological needs. Considering these needs, when we make changes to reverse the list above you should get something like this:

  • you enjoy working although there are things that annoy you and seem boring,
  • you feel like you make a difference on some people’s life by what you are doing,
  • what you have to say is listened to by others and you can make some choices at work at least to a certain extent,
  • you get to learn different stuff,
  • there is at least couple of people you can relate to.

This time, if most of the cases above apply to you, then you’re in a good situation in terms of satisfying your basic psychological needs which are autonomy, competence, relatedness, and purpose. According to several theorists, satisfaction of these needs are essential for our wellbeing.

There are certain ways to make sure your needs are satisfied, although it may depend on your personality, and your work environment. For instance, you may want to be involved in more challenging tasks or projects by which you can use your skills. You can ask for some feedback from others at work as to your progress. You can try to get connected with others by asking for their opinions, giving them feedback, or doing some random acts of kindness. You may figure out the purpose of your work and see how you’re contributing to others and the society with your work (which doesn’t have to be big or concrete). You can create opportunities to learn new skills and keep improving yourself.

When our psychological needs are met, we feel happier, are more satisfied with life in general and with our work life. We then feel motivated to grow more, be better connected with others and the society in general. When our psychological needs are not satisfied, we feel bored, coerced, and disconnected from the outside world. Just observe your work life and try to figure out to what extent your needs are satisfied. If you feel like you can do something to better address your needs, just start doing them. Even small things can make a big difference.

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