Have you ever felt you are losing the joy you once felt from your work? Few things are more difficult than coming to the office each day, going through the motions, but no longer experiencing any real enthusiasm or sense of accomplishment. You may not even be sure why you have the blahs, but you know you have them.
Thoughtfully answering these workplace questions can help you gauge your job enjoyment temperature—and locate the source of any discontent. Each question that follows identifies a possible problem area. You have a better grasp of your specific circumstances than anyone; use this self-knowledge to choose appropriate cures for your office doldrums.
• Do you know what is expected of you?
If not, create a position description or review your current one. Arrange a time to talk with your supervisor about any ambiguities. Ask the hard questions; leave the meeting knowing exactly what your responsibilities are and what they are not.
• Do you have the materials and equipment you need?
If a lack of resources constantly hinders your ability to do what you need to do, let your supervisor know specifically what is needed. Discuss options. In nearly every church there are people willing and able to help—if you ask.
• Do you make time daily top do what you do best?
What you do best is often what gives you the most joy. Sometimes in the crush of getting tasks done favored jobs are ignored or delegated. Rework your schedule as necessary to restore those rewarding assignments.
• Is your good work noticed and acknowledged?
We all like to believe what we do well is observed and appreciated. In some offices, this just does not happen. It should. But it doesn’t. For your own peace of mind, accept that reality—and don’t need the accolades of others to know you are a professional and a person of worth. Reward yourself when you do a difficult task well. Something visible is nice; maybe a flower for your desk?
• Do your opinions count?
Wise supervisors know that job satisfaction always soars when workers are involved in decisions affecting their work situation. Wise secretaries know it pays to do their homework and to offer rational, insightful opinions.
• Do you know what you do is important?
Sincere joy comes from having purpose. In theory, all churches have a clear purpose. In fact, sometimes the focus gets blurred. When assistants know the church is directing its primary time, effort, and funds toward goals with eternal consequences, they know even stuffing bulletins is ministry. Think through your contribution; decide if you are spending your time on tasks of value. This may be something to talk over with your pastor. If you are unclear about the church’s focus, others may be as well. Occasional clarifying is worthwhile for everyone.
• Are staff members committed to quality work?
It is difficult to find joy in doing the mediocre. Aspire to personal excellence; inspire others with frequent words of encouragement and appreciation. Your positive example can set the pace.
• Do you have opportunities for professional growth?
The work of the ministry assistant has never been more challenging. You need the best resources available. Take responsibility for seeking out and taking advantage of every possible avenue of training. If your denomination offers an association for ministry assistants—connect. Sign up for conferences or seminars when you can. And, use the tremendous resources available through Effective Church Communications. Learning and using new skills is a fabulous way to beat the blahs!