You’re unhappy at work and know exactly why: your desk faces a blank wall, you barely interact with your coworkers, you don’t take a lunch break, and your hours kind of suck.
Why, might you ask, does your desk have to face a blank wall? Why do you work through your lunch break? Why do you work hours that don’t work for you? Well … because everyone else does, too, so you have no choice, right?
I hear stories like this far too often with my coaching clients, and what I’ve realized is that far too many of us place limitations on ourselves at work. We are afraid to do something because it “hasn’t been done before,” or we tell ourselves we “aren’t allowed” for no reason at all. We follow (or even make up) these unwritten rules that get in the way of our own happiness and performance, when instead we could be giving ourselves permission to do what we need in order to do our best work. Making these assumptions hurts everyone around us, and most importantly ourselves.
I’m here to tell you that you can make the changes you need to feel in control of your work life. There’s no reason why you can’t move your chair to the other side of your desk to face a window instead of a wall. There are all the reasons (legal ones, too) why you deserve a lunch break in your nine-hour day. Just because no one else is taking their lunch break doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be.
Take this other example. Your work day starts at 10 a.m. and goes until 6:30 p.m., but you’d rather leave work at 5:30 to give yourself an extra hour in the evening to explore the new city you moved to for this job. On top of that, you’re more of a morning person–you know you are most productive in the morning when you have more energy to do better work, so you’re doing yourself and your boss a favor by asking if it would be possible to come into work an hour earlier once a week, if not every day.
Sounds like a win-win to me.
So, what is it that you need to feel at your best at work? What currently doesn’t feel right, and how many of those things are you just telling yourself you can’t change based on some made-up rule? Is there a certain software you’d like that will make you more efficient in your job, or a standing desk that will help your lower back pain? A solution could be just a question away. And remember, while there are some things you’ll need to ask for, other things can be done by simply taking the initiative on your own and reclaiming ownership of your life.