Is it just me, or does it seem more socially acceptable to hate your job than it is to love your job? We spend approximately 50% of our waking hours at our jobs – and that’s if we only work 8 hours per day. This doesn’t include commute times, time spent getting ready to go to work and the time that work is on our mind even when we aren’t there. Why would we want to hate it?
Our society has deemed that there are ‘low end’ jobs, jobs that we should want to get out of. What a shame that is for the people that love to wait on tables at restaurants, to always feel that pressure to “better” themselves. The truth is we need people to work in restaurants, to sweep floors, to do any of those things that are labeled as “menial”. You know that if you go out to eat and the person waiting on you loves their job, you will get phenomenal service and a fun, and memorable experience to add to your list of the small moments, that in the end, are actually the big moments.
Not everyone is meant to be a CEO or a lawyer, or doctor, or business owner.
Earlier this year, I had some plumbing issues in my house, really yucky and gross plumbing issues. I made a phone call and had someone come to fix it for me. I remember saying to the guys that were here, “I don’t know how you guys can deal with stuff like this everyday”. One of them responded “Sometimes, I don’t know either” but the other one responded “I LOVE this!” I’m grateful for that guy! He set about dealing with stuff way out of my comfort zone with zest and excitement and made my day much better, partly because I no longer had gross plumbing issues, and partly because his enthusiasm was a little contagious! What if his parents, or friends, or spouse, or society in general talked this guy into being a lawyer instead of a plumber. If that were the case, I may have had to deal with someone that really hated their job and complained the whole time they were at my house, and that plumber could be sitting in an office thinking about how awful his job is, in turn, making his life awful. Sounds like a sad existence to me.
I just read a stat from the Gallup Organization in a blog post that 85% of employees worldwide are not engaged or are actively disengaged at work. 85%!! Chances are then that you might be one of these people.
If you are, do you know why?
Is it because society, or your family, or someone else thinks that your job isn’t good enough for you? Are they pressuring you to “better” yourself and move “up the ladder”? Do you feel like you’re supposed to want more, because of other people’s opinions?
Tip #1 – The difference between a good day and a bad day sometimes comes down to choice!
Only you can make you happy and only you know what truly sets your heart on fire. Don’t let other people dictate how you should or shouldn’t feel, what you should or shouldn’t want. Sometimes the problem with our jobs is the culture or energy of our workplace. If you work with a lot of people who buy into the fact that you’re supposed to dislike your job and all you hear is complaining, or see those people that have their coats on, keys in hand, ready to bolt out the door 5 minutes before quitting time, it’s hard not to fall into that. Even our friends and family can make us feel this way. About 10 years ago, I was in a job that I absolutely loved! I couldn’t wait to go to work everyday and face whatever challenges came up, and there were many! On Fridays, I had a standing date with a good friend. She would always say “I bet you’re glad that week is over”, or “TGIF” or something along those lines. It was unbelievable to her that I didn’t feel that way and that I did truly love this job. She kept digging for problems or reasons for me to be disgruntled. I didn’t get angry or sad or exasperated with her, but I did feel sorry for her. Of course, there were moments and times in this job that weren’t spectacular, but I chose to take the bad with the good and I chose to look at things in a positive light as often as I could. By doing this, I feel that I was able to bring some positivity to both my friend and my workplace. We all know that it only takes one person to bring everyone else around them down, wouldn’t it also make sense then that it only takes one person to raise the energy? Be the one that raises the energy! It won’t always be easy, and you won’t always feel like it, but it will make the days better!
Maybe you’re feeling disengaged because this job no longer feeds your soul? Maybe it never did. Every job comes with mundane tasks and day to day chaos that can make us forget why we chose this particular path.
What if I told you that there might be a way to find a little bit more joy in your current job? It comes down to choice. Nobody is forced to go to work everyday – sure, you might think your circumstances are forcing it but truly that’s just an excuse. Trust me, I get the reality of mortgages, bills, kids, family, etc., and there is a way….
Let’s say that you are in a job that doesn’t feed your soul, you dread waking up every morning to head off to that place that feels more soul sucking than soul filling. Let’s say that this job used to be amazing, you felt like you were making a difference and you couldn’t wait to get up in the morning and get started. What changed?
Tip #2 – Have a conversation!
Sometimes it’s not the job that’s changed, it’s us. We try to recreate those feelings of loving our work and we just can’t seem to get there. Maybe the challenge is gone, maybe it’s just become mundane and we feel a pull to do something more, something different. Is there opportunity in your current role to provide this challenge or answer this pull? Don’t assume there’s not, hopefully you have a good relationship with your supervisor and you can have this conversation.
When thinking about leaving this job, more often than not, fear keeps us rooted in the stuck place that we feel. Fear that we’re too old to try something new, fear that we aren’t smart enough, fear that the bills won’t get paid, fear that people will judge us. It’s not always about leaving your current job though. There are definitely reasons to do that, but there are also reasons to stay.
Instead of lamenting over what was, look at what is. It can’t all be bad. Change the focus from negative to positive.
Tip #3 – Write down all the reasons that you like your job!
It might be the people that you work with. It might be those few tasks that really make your heart sing. It might be the work environment. When we’ve been caught in a negative spiral for awhile, it might take time to come up with much of a list, just keep working away at it.
Tip #4 – Identify your Strengths – Manage your weaknesses!
When I do strengths coaching with my clients, we look at their top 5 strengths from the Clifton Strengthsfinder and then we look at how we can incorporate using more of these strengths in their day to day life. You can do this too! If you can recognize when you’re working in your areas of strength, you may be able to “unbalance” your life to find more opportunities to feel this.
Identify those things that you do at work that energize you, these are clues to your areas of strength. Let’s call these green activities – activities that are a GO, that you want to figure out how to do more of. These are activities that:
- you truly enjoy doing
- make you feel energized
- make you forget time
- you look forward to
- you can do well even under conditions of stress or fatigue
Alternatively, there are red activities, STOP activities that you may want to stop or figure out a way to work around them. These are activities that:
- you do not like doing
- make you feel depleted
- seem to pass very slowly
- you don’t look forward to
- require a lot of effort and self-control to do well
Over the next week, keep track of both your green and red activities. Look at ways that you can increase the amount of time you spend on the green activities. Then, look for a way that you can manage the red ones. Can you delegate to someone else? Can you schedule them such that you can prepare your energy for them?
These activities can potentially make your job feel a little easier to deal with or they could clarify that you are in the wrong role altogether. If the latter is the case, then you may want to start looking at a plan to leave this job and do something else. Think you don’t have what it takes to change careers, or feel like it’s too late? It’s not! Louse Hay started Hay House Publishing when she was 58 years old. Colonel Sanders was 64 when he started Kentucky Fried Chicken. It’s never too late to start – the trick is starting!
Tip #5 – Identify your transferable skills!
Whatever job you are currently in or have had in the past can provide you with skills and knowledge to move into a new job. Don’t feel like you’re stuck because you’ve never done something before. Find those transferable skills and see where they can possibly take you. Look at every aspect of your life and see where those skills are. Write these down in a list called “Current Toolbox”. Review this list against job postings that make you excited! What are the things that you’re missing? Write these down in your “Future Toolbox” and figure out a way to make them happen. Then revel in the fact that you are making changes and that job that seemed endless and mundane yesterday is just a stepping stone to the path that you are meant to be on. It can make going to work everyday a little less daunting knowing that you are working on a plan for something that suits you far better, in turn, opening up your job for that person whose soul will be truly set on fire doing the things you do!
Tip #6 – Find the JOY!
You spend a lot of your life at work, you might as well find some JOY in it!
And hey…. if you’re one of those people that LOVES your job! Stop right now and take a minute to be grateful! Apparently we are in the minority!