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How To Love The Job You Have

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Do you feel like you’re caught between a rock and an ergonomically incorrect office chair?

If you can’t seem to find joy in the workplace, it’s easy to blame the job, the people, or the culture.  On some level, most of us believe that making money and enjoying our job are mutually exclusive. And if you decide that’s true, you’re probably right. But, if you decide it isn’t true, you’re also right.

If you’re feeling stuck at your job, you’re likely rationalizing it by saying:

  • “I need to support my family.”
  • “I don’t want to change my lifestyle.”
  • “I don’t want to start from scratch.”
     

And while I certainly don’t advise feeding your kids canned beans for the next 6 months, I question whetheryour version of “success” is worth the empty feeling inside. We often think that financial success will provide fulfillment when the opposite is actually true. Fulfillment yields success. Because what you’re chasing isn’t the money, it’s the feeling that money gives you.

And make no mistake, I am not advising you to quit your job and blindly pursue your dream to start your own line of couture hamster fashions. You may be at the right place, but simply need to reconnect.

SO HOW DO YOU START LOVING YOUR JOB? YOU CREATE THE RIGHT CONDITIONS:

1. As much as it may suck, taking responsibility is the first step to changing your situation. That doesn’t mean it’s all your fault. It means that you’re willing to do something about it. If you’re committed to not leaving (or not yet at least), check this out.

2. Chances are, the last time you felt fulfilled, you were engaged and challenged. Quit waiting for something interesting to happen. Make it happen yourself. When you move things from the “to do” list to the “did do” list, you empower yourself. What can you do to be more proactive? Can you ask for an interesting assignment instead of obeying your inbox?

3. Get a good reason. Sure, motivation can wax and wane, but your ability to push through the discomfort of the “fuck its” is only as strong as your reasons to do it.  Decide what you actually want to get out of this job (beyond the paycheck): 

  • Do you want to learn more about your field?
  • Do you want to learn how to manage a team?
  • Do you want to learn how to resist the office candy jar?
     

Whatever your goals are, find compelling reasons why they matter to you. If your reasons don’t move you, nothing will.

4. Incorporate what you love into what you do. What are the things you’d be happy to do and never get paid for? What are the things that excite you? If you enjoy being the go-to person for advice, it doesn’t mean you have to quit your job and become a therapist, it means you should include that talent in your day-to-day. And remember, your talent might not be what you do, but how you do it. A good friend of mine has the ability to break things down into logical pieces and build it back up again in a new way. His strange way of looking at things makes him successful in his career. If you can identify your talent and then use it to help others, you’ll find fulfillment faster than it just took autocorrect to fix my misspelling of “fulfillment.”

5. If you’re committed to shifting your perspective, staying motivated, and honing your talents, then it’s time to put it to work. What can you do to shift your environment to work for you? If you get assigned another crappy task, why not state your case for why you’d like to be more challenged? Maybe that task is a better fit for someone else who would actually enjoy doing it. Start to find ways you can align with your job and have your job align with you.

Ultimately, if you decide to love your job, you’ll love it. If you decide to hate it, you’ll hate it. It comes down to choice. Which will you choose?

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