Feeling ‘dead-ended’ at your workplace may just be a blessing in disguise – here’s how you can capitalize on a negative emotion and come out tops!

Dead end signsEver get the feeling that it just isn’t worth it to go in to work today?

Has your get up and go ‘got up and gone’ never to return?

Do the doldrums hit you senseless the moment you cross the threshold of your office and not even caffeine can snap you out of it?

Well, the good news is that you are not alone as a majority of the workforce out there share your emotional frustration and dilemma. In fact, in most business environments it happens quite often to professionals who have challenging careers.

The even better news is that it may just be the best thing that could have happened to you! Experts tend to view it as ‘character building’ and just what a flagging or stagnating career needs. It may not be as exciting as striking the lottery perhaps, but it really does have a silver lining.

Finding that hard to believe? Well look at it this way – life is a continuous cyclic measure of time and change; by analogy, this applies to the workplace as well. We are in a continuous process of learning and perpetually applying our knowledge to our surroundings and our life. A child learns to walk; a teenager learns to drive; an adult learns to work. Sometimes the learning is apt for application; but more oft than not, it is lacking in some manner. Education may be insufficient or the person may lack skills and is unable to acquire it. In the words of Joseph Heller, “Something Happens!” and what was once an interesting workplace, an interesting life, is now a ‘real drag’. Crisis is starting to peep around the corner.

When this happens, feelings of frustration naturally appear, coupled with some pretty strong beliefs that one is unappreciated. Needless to say this, this eventually leads to job dissatisfaction. You feel that you are not performing up to mark; that management is coming down unduly hard upon you; that the job itself has no real attraction and there is no empathy with the workplace. That’s a whole lot or negative energy for one individual to cope with and it just keeps getting worse.

At this point it is necessary, however, to make a distinction between day- to-day irritants and actually being in a dead-end. Day-to-day irritants are easily distinguished as they tend to happen in the ‘now’ of the moment, and can generally be solved almost immediately. They can, however, contribute to a more serious problem, that of dead-ending. Dead-ending in your workplace tends to happen gradually, there is a build-up that occurs over the weeks and finally culminates in a very strong feeling of being stuck where you are and seriously lacking in motivation. You tend to ask yourself, “What am I doing here, anyway?” Crisis is gathering over the horizon.

Lacking an answer may lead to depression which in turn will allow job dissatisfaction to take over. Lethargy, laziness, even paranoia may be some of the ugly Gorgon heads that make its presence felt in the workplace. Surprisingly, all this negative energy can be turned into a positive action simply by altering one’s mindset.

By accepting that dead-ending and all its resident evils are a necessary part of life and not just the workplace, it is possible to actually accomplish something quite pro-active in your career as well as the way you live. Crisis tends to lead to change, which in turn facilitates personal growth; the trick is to make it a positive one. By accepting that change is the norm of life and certainly the workplace, we accept that we need to change too in order to keep up with the ever-evolving pace of life.

When dead-ending occurs, it is actually the body’s biological way of letting the mind know that the time for change has arrived. It is time to move on to the next phase of life and how the mind handles it is what makes the difference in the outcome. By embracing the problem, adapting the way we handle and understand it, we affect a change in the outcome as well. By looking at dead-ending as a life and workplace improving event, it is possible for us to actually take that all important next step known as progress.

Thinking that it is possible to sit-out or rough it out through a dead-ending is never the correct attitude to take. Ignoring a problem does not make it go away, nor does a shoddy, half-hearted attempt at fixing it. What is essential is that you realize what is happening, or rather not happening. Your dead end means your workplace or business model is not working as well as it should or could be. The old ways are no longer any good and you need some new ones to replace it.

At this point, you need to step back, look at the situation at hand and analyze what exactly is the problem. Then, institute a solution that will change dead-ending into an upward step towards a better environment. By doing so, we actually capitalize on an opportunity to institute a better understanding of ourselves, and what works best for us as well as our environment. The Irish poet, Oscar Wilde sums it up best when he says, “A man who is master of himself can end a sorrow as easily as he can invent a pleasure. I do not want to be at the mercy of my emotions; I wish to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them”.

[Photo credit: Digital Art]