Job Satisfaction: Positive Thinking and Vibrating Higher in the Workplace
What do when you don’t love your job…
Be a badass!
Over the course of my career as an English instructor at University of North Carolina Wilmington, I have gained a rapport and reputation among the local academic community.
Most academics desire to develop rapport and reputation via the laborious trenches of scholarship and research. But that world was never quite my style. I do yoga and wear malas. I preface freshmen literature discussions with pranayama. And I put crystals in the middle the conference table at meetings.
So it was no surprise that when UNCW’s Center for Teaching Excellence was looking for someone to facilitate a faculty development book circle for Jen Sincero’s book You Are a Badass, they came to me.
Did they ask me because I’m a badass? Maybe. But it probably had something to do with the fact that there’s no one else on campus who has already read the book, teaches yoga, and re-tunes the vibrations of the faculty hallways with Tibetan singing bowls.
In her highly-acclaimed handbook to badassery, Sincero dishes the metaphysical secrets and tools to uncover your deepest and most authentic self. Getting to the root of your badass-ness requires a bit of work. But the first step, she claims, is to be aware of your vibrations.
She writes, “All energy vibrates at a certain frequency. Which means you’re vibrating at a certain frequency, and everything you desire, and don’t desire, is also vibrating at a certain frequency.” She continues, “The Universe will match whatever vibration you put out. And you can’t fool the universe."
In other words, it if has energy, it has vibrations. What we think, say, and do sends out positive or negative vibrations to everyone and everything. And, more importantly, you get in return the energy you give. “The Universe will match whatever vibration you put out,” Sincero writes. When you think good thoughts, the Universe responds with positive experiences. When you think negative thoughts, the Universe responds with negative experiences.
Sometimes, this is easy. Most of us love our friends, family, and hobbies. Likely, you put out positive vibrations when you are interacting with the people and activities you cherish. But not every arena in life is so simple.
For many, one area where it isn’t oh-so-simple to be positive is at work. I get it. Work can suck (if you keep thinking it does). We don’t always love what we are doing. And we don’t always love who we work with. Add in that we live in culture that has increasing labor demands and stagnant pay, it can be hard to vibrate higher at work.
Trust. I have spent more than an appropriate amount of time complaining about work and blaming others for my dissatisfaction. At times, I hated my job so much that I would sit in my office and cry. Students were too lazy. Tenured faculty members were too rude. Administration was ruining my life. Everyone was else was making my job suck.
Is my job complicated? Yes. Are some of the above complaints true? Probably. But it doesn’t matter. How I approached my job was my choice. I refused to acknowledge anything positive about my career. The more negatively I spoke and thought about my job, the more I hated it. Thankfully, yoga taught me that your thoughts, my thoughts, everyone’s thoughts are controllable. You get to choose what you think. When a negative thought surfaces, you can choose to hang on to it. Or you can choose to change the thought into something positive.
As Sincero claims, “[G]ood ole awareness is your key to freedom. Once you realize that you can dramatically improve your situation by…raising your frequency, you can freaking do it already…instead of opting to stay in the suckhole and feeling like a victim of pathetic circumstances.” The choice is yours and only yours. Had someone told me this before I was indoctrinated with guilt learned in Catholic School, I probably would have saved a few thousand dollars in therapy...
By now, you might be thinking, “Ok, lady, what in the fuck are you asking me to do at work?” Well, I’m asking you to go to your shitty job and call it an awesome job. Say it out loud. I’m asking you to look around at your obnoxious, shitty co-workers and smile at them. And mean it. I’m asking you to take the shitty ass tasks that you hate doing at work and be thankful for them. Speak that gratitude aloud.
Go to work, and think positive thoughts when it is difficult to do so. Especially when it is difficult to do so. Think them so much that you actually start to believe yourself. “In order to truly raise your vibration, you’ve go to believe that everything you want is available to you,” Sincero writes.
Work is a crucial time to practice a higher frequency. The portrait of American work life, at best, is grim. Recent studies show that Americans are working longer hours than at any time since labor stats have been recorded. Americans are working longer than folks in the rest of the industrialized world. Fold that into the fact that American laborers have less vacation time than most countries and that 52.3% (2014) Americans are unsatisfied at work, there is a seriously low workplace frequency in the U.S.
I’m not arguing that higher vibrations will fix the dense complications of the American work ethic (though I think it is a damn good start). I am suggesting that sending out a higher frequency can help you enjoy the daily grind in ways that don’t seem possible when you are rumbling on the lowest frequencies from 9:00-5:00.
How can you vibrate higher even when you are having challenges in the workplace? Here are a few suggestions that you can practice each day when you clock in:
Develop a Morning Self-Care Routine
Self-care sets the tone for the day. Start your morning with a nourishing routine before heading into the office. I like to drink a cup of warm lemon water first thing. Then, I make a small cup of coffee and drink it on my short, morning walk. Before leaving for work (or at work if I’m running late), I meditate for four minutes.
Being good to yourself and to your body is an act of vibrating higher. When we feel good on the inside and out, it is easier to think and behave with clarity and positivity.
Practice Kindness at Work
Be kind to the people you work with. Hold the door for someone on the way in. Take 10 seconds to put something kind in an email (“I hope you are well” is my go-to. But you can try something fitting for the recipient). Practice being a better listener in meetings and work conversations.
Recurring acts of kindness put out a steady wavelength of positive vibes. Keep them small, manageable, and consistent.
Set an Intention and Take Action
Be clear on what you want from your job. It is easy to be down and out if you are waiting for a promotion to happen to you. But you gotta vibrate high and know where to direct those vibes if you want to achieve anything.
Sincero writes, “The trick is to have both parts—energy and action—working in unison…if you get very clear on what you truly want (rather than what you think you should want), believe that it’s available to you regardless of your present circumstances by…keeping your frequency high, and take decisive actions, you will eventually succeed.”
Notice What You Love
Do I love grading freshmen research papers. Fuck no. But I do love seeing students gain clarity and writing skills.
Do I love department meetings? Hell no. But I do like being a part of a group of intellectuals.
Do I love my salary? Fuuuuuuuck no. But I love that I have a job that pays me enough to sit around and think about stuff like vibrating higher and to lead book circles about vibrations.
Turn the negatives into positives. Even if you aren’t in love with your current profession, acknowledge the good parts. There are good parts to everything. Write them down every single day. And when shit hits the fan, reread them.
Be a Badass
Do your work the best that you can, each and every single day. And when you have finished your work, be proud of what you did.
Be you—unabashedly and authentically.
Believe that you and your work are badass (because it’s true). As Sincero states, “This is about your faith being greater than your fear.”