Unhappy at your job? Reluctantly getting out of bed to work? Or maybe you hate your boss? Being stuck in a job, or as organizational psychologist Meryl Veenstra-Verschoor calls it, “Locked to the job.”It is a social thing. She thinks we should be more honest about that.
Meryl Veenstra-Verschoor wrote her thesis at Tilburg University on the phenomenon of “staying at your job”. It comes, as she describes it, “from afar.” Feenstra-Verschure once started in high school, then went on to general secondary education, attained higher vocational education and obtained two master’s degrees. She herself did not progress in her career as much as she really wanted. “I wanted to make a difference in the job market.” She left her job at ABN-AMRO and decided to start her doctoral research at the age of thirty. Six years later the final result.
Being locked into your job, according to science
Why did an organizational psychologist delve into this “workplace issue”? “Whether it’s a butcher or a lawyer, everyone understands the feeling of dissatisfaction with their job.” According to the researcher, the feeling of siege is related to two factors. “One of them is dissatisfaction. This may be, for example, because you do not have enough responsibility, or you receive little appreciation, or you have a conflict with the manager. But according to Feenstra-Verschoor the question is at the same time: ‘Why don’t you leave? “This is because of the perceptions we impose on ourselves.” According to the researcher, for example, we tell ourselves that we will earn less with another employer or that we cannot do our current job elsewhere. “Then you will not move.” The organizational psychologist concludes People stay in this state for an average of 2.5 years. “It starts at six months and can go up to eight years.”
And this feeling of embarrassment does exist, as Veenstra-Verschoor has proven. But why don’t we act? “There is a taboo around this topic. On the one hand because we do not want to admit that we feel this way and at the same time we know very little about it. We are not aware enough that we are going through this.” In addition, according to the researcher, this focus The days are on “Continue studying, growing and preventing better.” But there is little concern when things do not go well.
Depression and fatigue
But the researcher concluded that there are clear consequences of feeling trapped. “In addition to uncertainty, frustration and anger, productivity also decreases. It was precisely people who felt trapped who showed that they were less productive. It was also found that a third of the people studied eventually suffered from burnout.” And there is another group, a third. Also, you experience daily stress and a feeling of being drained and exhausted. It’s a shame that one has to deal with that for so long.” As a result, according to Feenstra-Verschoor, we remain “stubbornly calm in the workplace.” Did you know these five ways to bring more meaning to your work?
An apology for not leaving? Financial comfort, “I’m too old”, “I’m very poorly educated”, “I’ve been working here for a long time” or “I love my colleagues”. In addition, according to organizational psychologist, people are creatures of habit. “Leaving the situation as it is is easy and comfortable and we would rather stay where we are. But I think there is a large group of people who could do with less vacation twice a year, in order to be happy with another job.
Incidentally, feeling “trapped” is nothing new, according to Veenstra-Verschoor. “But nowadays there is more interest in job satisfaction.” The organizational psychologist compares it to the phenomenon of psychological burnout. “A few years ago, people would look at you strangely if you talked about burnout. But nowadays there is more interest and understanding of it and people are realizing it. We should have that with our jobs too. You dare honestly say that you might prefer to do something else.”
Talk to the boss
But the researcher stresses that being “job-bound” does not mean you have to leave immediately. According to her, senior executives, presidents and managers should also participate in this. Feenstra-Verschure and her company The People Society advise these bosses on how to best deal with people who feel trapped in their jobs. “Have a conversation to see if you can change something internally. Managers should also be open to this. If your wishes are not heard, it may be time to resign.
On the first page of her thesis, which she published as a book, Veenstra-Verschoor wrote: ‘Nothing is impossible“, which she dedicated to her two daughters. She calls herself a good example. “It’s been an amazing journey, but if you try hard, a lot is possible.”
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