How Can I Learn to Like What I Do For a Living?
There’s nothing worse than hating your job. Most people spend a large portion of their lives earning a living—typically eight or nine hours a day, five days a week (if you’re lucky and don’t have to put in overtime). It’s inevitable that you’ll have bad days at work, but have you found the occasional “My job is the worst” venting session has become the norm? Sometimes it requires a major life overhaul, including a career switch, to set things right. And sometimes all it takes is some simple reminders to make you remember why you fell in love with your job in the first place. Before jumping ship, read on for a few ways to recalibrate and recharge.
Consider Your Purpose
You know your job description—now is the time to consider that description in the context of your own personal life goals. Think about what you’re most passionate about, what moves you, what drives you. How can you connect what you’re doing at work with any of the larger themes that matter to you in life? This requires a phenomenal amount of introspection, which we’re often too busy to really consider. But it’s the answers to those larger questions that can help you find new purpose in your job, even if your work duties don’t directly relate to your passions.
Spend Time With the Coworkers You Enjoy
Identify the people you get along—and work with—the best. Those are the people you should attempt to spend most of your time interacting with, whether you’re just shooting the breeze or intensely working on a project. Don’t just look to those in your immediate vicinity, either—consider the customers or vendors with whom you have a particularly good relationship, and do what you can to continue building that positive rapport. While you’ll certainly have to work with some people who just aren’t your cup of tea (everyone does!), focusing on the professional relationships that do boost your morale can go a long way toward making work worth it.
Remember that Work Isn’t Everything
When you don’t really like what you do, you’d think it would be easy to put it behind you at the end of the day and enjoy leisure-time pursuits. But ironically, job dissatisfaction often has the opposite affect—it can consume your thoughts even when you’re not in the office and color everything else around you. That’s why it’s vital to pour your energy into something bigger than yourself. Volunteer at your local shelter, become a Big Brother or Big Sister—anything that helps remind you the world is a much bigger place than it seems during the work day. Your job isn’t you, it’s simply one facet of your life.
Get Away From It All
Regardless of whether or not you like your job, regular breaks are important throughout the workday. That means no eating lunch at your desk. Even if it’s just a trip to the break room to get some coffee or a run to the supply closet to grab a new pen, try stepping away from your desk (and your email and your laptop and, yes, even your phone) for at least five minutes. It will give your brain a chance to relax and will help you refocus when you come back. Obviously, longer breaks, such as vacations, should be used as much as your employer will allow—you may want to consider taking a “staycation” if the thought of planning a trip somewhere just makes you more stressed out.
Do Your Part to Make a Positive Change
When you don’t like your job, it can be easy to foist the problems on outside factors: your boss is a pain, your projects are boring, your coworkers are annoying, etc. That’s why it’s important to refocus on yourself and what you can do to make your workplace more inviting. This can be as simple as being kind to those around you and not talking behind people’s backs or as challenging as trying to relax, laugh, and simply have a bit more fun with your job.
We’re often bombarded with the idea that you have to love your job to make it worthwhile. Throw that idea out the window, because that’s not the only type of job option that exists for people. It may take some time and effort, but it is possible to learn to like a job that doesn’t seem to do a whole lot for you at first.
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