Job satisfaction in your family business – Pick up some great advice right here
“Job satisfaction in your family business” – What on earth does that even mean, Maj?
I’m glad you ask!
I’ll tell you what it means!
I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Jon Kjær Nielsen since the Fall of 2014.
We’ve had a lot of great talks about joy, job satisfaction, satisfaction in your everyday life; in your family, in your life and in your relationship.
Last year a bunch of us went on a work trip to Thailand, and this is where Jon and I sat down together and agreed that NOW was the time that some of all Jon’s tips and tricks should be accessible to all of you!
Jon is one of Denmark’s leading experts when it comes to job satisfaction, and he has for more than 10 years been working as a consultant and speaker.
In 2013 he released his third book “100 Tips for Job Satisfaction” and in three years ago Jon was elected one of the 10 best speakers in Denmark.
He is trained as a civil engineer and in both his lectures and in his books, he utilises what he knows about this particular area very well in this work too.
I spoke to him about how he saw the research he uses when working with job satisfaction, fitting into “the family business”; the situation at home.
It’s special knowledge from the positive psychology which is also what Jon clarified when I spoke to him. The positive psychology is something I myself is absolutely crazy about too!
I began by asking Jon if he sees any parallels in the problems you’d typically experience when it comes to job satisfaction and the satisfaction at home, in your relationship and your daily life.
“Every time you ask people what ruins their job satisfaction, the trend is very clear.
A few years back I helped conduct a study, and from the 600 people who participated, nearly 4 out of 10 highlighted the same issue: hearing their colleagues complain. That right there, is the biggest killer of our job satisfaction and our general mood even.”
But why does other people’s bad mood ruin our day?
Isn’t it possible to just not care about your colleagues’ negativity?
“Yes, you’d think that we would just say to ourselves ”I won’t let her ruin my day” but this doesn’t really seem to work.
Bad moods and negativity is contagious because biologically we’re designed so that we are easily influenced by others!
It’s what the scientists call ‘mirror neurons’; the brain cells that are really good at discovering how other people feel and then recreate that very same feeling in ourselves. We feel what others feel.”
So if someone is being negative, I’ll become negative too?
“Exactly. It might be even easier to recognise, if I say that when someone is sad or depressed, you too will feel more sad.
When someone is angry, very quickly you’ll start feeling angry.
However, it goes the other way too, for sure! When someone is happy, smiling, excited or enthusiastic, this will rub off on you as well.”
And this applies in your personal life as well, you say?
“A lot more actually. The fact is that these mirror neurons work a lot better the closer the relationship between the people is; the closer the relationship, the more sympathy we feel towards the other person.
For instance, you can sit behind the check-out counter at a supermarket and come across a very negative customer without it ruining your job satisfaction. You can keep your distance and perhaps just think “what a jerk” or “wow, he must be having a bad day” without your day turning sour too.
However, your colleagues are closer and it matters more to you how they feel. This is why the colleagues’ emotions will tend to rub off on you a lot easier, and this is why their negativity ruins our own job satisfaction as much as it does.”
And therefore, your partner can ruin your day too?
“Exactly. At home is where we have our closest relationships and, unfortunately, it’s very easy for us to bring each other down. Right here is a very clear parallel between satisfaction in your job and satisfaction in your ‘family business’, as you like to call it.
Before we move on, do you have a good piece of advice on what to do if a partner is carrying around a lot of negativity?
What you need to do is deal with it.
At work you can do a whole heap of things, like distance yourself but this obviously wouldn’t be a good solution at home.
I believe that the best thing to do is to work on your own awareness of what you bring home after work finishes.
If you’ve had a rough day and if this has caused you to bring some negativity home, then make it a ritual to stop up in front of your front door at home and decide what attitude you want to bring inside with you.
Psychological science has shown that we actually ARE able to choose what we want to think and how we take on the day; it has shown us that the negativity from work is not something we necessarily need to bring home with us.
If we discover that we’re carrying around this negativity in time and decide to leave it at work, that is.”
What is your best tip for job satisfaction which you believe can be applied at home?
“That’s a no-brainer.
An advice I always make sure to include in my talks about job satisfaction is that you can train yourself to look on the bright side [of life].
The effect is extremely well-documented and it’s all very simple: Every day, you need to ask yourself “what went well today?”
At work I recommend that you do this just before you leave work or alternatively on your way home. This way you direct your thoughts away from the problems before you get home.”
All right, so should the partners do it separately or can you do it together?
“Doing it together would be really great. Instead of talking about all the bad things, then ask your partner to mention three good things about their day.
I’ve used this trick myself for years whenever I’ve lived with a girlfriend. This way you share the joys and you take part in each other’s successes.
And that is all part of strengthening the feelings that bring us closer together.”
What about stress? This is also a huge issue in regards to people’s job satisfaction?
We’re constantly hearing about how stressed people are at work, and this is also something I see in the couples I work with.
Do you counsel people on this?
“Yes, you’re completely right. Stress is a very large problem. In Denmark alone 1,400 die from stress every year and 1,000 children lose a parent.
I’m very interested in assisting work places in handling this better; I genuinely believe that we need to be better at helping each other out in general too.
That all being said, we can’t transfer all good principles and tricks from the work place into our private lives. However, there are some problems in dealing with stress where the tips will help just as well at work as they will at home.”
What are these things?
“I’m primarily thinking about a mental overload. In our working life, technology is taking up so much space and you’re always able to get in touch with people.
When I give talks about job satisfaction and efficiency, I talk about very simple things: how much we’re on Facebook, how the e-mails are almost ruling our day and how we are constantly subjecting ourselves to unnecessary excess inputs.
You really can gain lots by cutting down on the time you spend online and it makes sense to do so at home as well.”
So less e-mails and Facebook?
“A lot less.
First and foremost, you need to leave it completely out of your quality time.
This means no phones, iPads or computers around the dinner table and absolutely no electronic devices in the bedroom.”
I completely agree. This is something I see very often as well.
A typical problem in the relationship is that the intimacy goes missing – or rather, the time for intimacy is no longer prioritised when we spend our nights on social media, mails or watching TV. And suddenly we no longer “feel” each other.
”Well, that makes sense. I’m also thinking about our time in the mornings; when we wake up. How we start our day has a large impact on how the rest of our day will go and studies have shown that our mood in the mornings, are actually the mood we carry with us for the rest of the day.
This is why it’s a bit of a kick in the teeth to start your day off reading 50 insignificant inputs from Facebook or watching the news, hearing about what horrible things are happening in the world.”
Some people might like to be updated and to be one step ahead?
”I know and this is such massive self-delusion. The same thing goes for the e-mails. We’re checking our inbox even though we’re off work and this does not benefit us at all. All that’s doing is to put stress on us and it takes away time that we could spend relaxing and enjoying the company of the people we care about.
How are you meant to see how your partner is feeling, if you’re behind your laptop checking e-mails?
How do you pick up the small signals of someone needing a hug or a slap in the butt and how do you actually show interest if you’re busy discussing politics on Facebook or watching the latest video of cute puppies?
This is some of the best time we spend together and we’re missing it. Most of this is about spending more time together and not spending our time being absent by being online.
It also means not to live in each other’s pockets though. We still need time alone to pursue our own interests. I don’t mean to point fingers or single out women but I’ll bet you that you’ll often hear women say, they feel frustrated by how much time their husband spends with his mates or working on his motor cycle or what have you.
Is that true?”
Well yes, I actually get this from both men and women. They’ll say that their partner is being distant – in all sorts of ways – and when they’re finally at home, they’re online.
“My point is that the answer to all of this isn’t that he or she doesn’t spend time on what interests them. Studies in positive psychology shows us that we’re much happier if we have something to be immersed in and concentrate on.
Scientist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi called it Flow; when we’re completely absorbed in something. To experience flow is so good for us. You can experience it at work or through whatever interests you might have.”
What does that mean to us?
“It reduces stress and provides us with new surplus energy. We’re simply more comfortable if we’re living an engaged life instead of just a comfortable or fun, nice or lovely life. Bottom line, you should be getting a better boyfriend back inside after he’s just spent a few hours in the garage working on something.
And it’s a two-way street. She needs to get out and have fun with her girlfriends or do something she really enjoys, without the things at home making this difficult for her.”
But what if this doesn’t help? If she lets him spend hours in the garage, just to use an example, and she still thinks he’s being distant?
“That happens too and that’s not as easy, of course. I can’t say a lot more than they both need to be able to put into words what they’re experiencing and they need to talk about it. I help workplaces with similar problems when I give talks and do workshops about job satisfaction.
I’m pretty sure that you will have better advice than me when it comes to actually dealing with your “family business”.
We completely agree. It’s about being able to put words to what you’re experiencing, thinking and feeling.
Work on creating an emotional language; communicating what your partner’s behaviour does to you.
And a big thank you to Jon for his words of wisdom ❤
Don’t forget to look after yourself, YOUR happiness and what YOU bring back home to your ”family business”. Please be aware of all of this every single day ❤
★ Do you have any good advice to improve your ”family business”? What works at your house? What doesn’t work? Do you have any good tips or tricks to achieve ”more intimacy in your daily life”? I’ll love reading your comment, your advice and about your experiences ❤
* Please remember to keep a nice tone, ANY negative comments will be deleted immediately; I wish to create a positive and supporting space, where we can help each other and because of this I have a zero tolerance policy to rudeness, condescension and negative inputs.