Love It Or Leave It: 5 Ways To Like Your Job More Than You Do Now
Whoever came up with the put-down, “You’re married to your job,” clearly was deriding the lack of work/life balance. It’s not a compliment.
Having no personal life to enjoy, distract or fulfill you outside of your profession is not the goal. But you can love what you do, even if it is just a little bit. Or maybe just a little bit more than you do now.
According to USA Today, for 1,500 people recently “surveyed by The Conference Board, a little more than half reported they were satisfied with their jobs. One percent said they were satisfied with their jobs.
“One of the aspects in which the largest percentage expressed satisfaction was social — 62.4 percent gave a thumbs up to people at work, and an impressive 57.5 percent were happy with their supervisors. On the logistical and technical fronts, 60.6 percent were satisfied with their commute, 59.6 percent with the degree of interest they found in their work, and 55.9 percent with their jobs’ physical environment.”
It also is good for your health to be more positive about your work. Disliking or even hating your job can lead to physical symptoms like headaches, insomnia, weight gain and more, Leah Thomas writes in Fairygodboss.
In honor of the most romantic month of the year, February, here are six ways to perhaps love your job, or maybe just like it a little bit more than you do now.
Get the bad parts over with quickly. Of course not everything associated with your position or your leadership role makes you deliriously giddy. Whether it is paperwork, data collection, weekly staff meetings or required email responses, elements of every day will likely be less than joyful. Just get them done. “Don’t procrastinate the tasks you hate. You want to minimize the amount of time you have to dread something you don’t like, so take care of it quickly. And while you’re doing that task, pay attention to how you’re actually feeling. Often, the task itself isn’t as bad as you fear it will be. By recognizing that it isn’t as horrible as you remembered it, you might make it easier for you to do that task in the future,” Art Markman writes in Fast Company.
Set boundaries. Of course, meet your deadlines, do what is required, be a team player, collaborate, be excellent. But also remember to take care of yourself. Leave time for that every week, every day if possible. “Women typically have to do more than just do their work to be seen and feel valued. There’s this whole additional game of armoring up, conjuring the powerful-confident mode even when they don’t feel it. The whole shebang is exhausting,” writes Tahirah Edwards-Byfield, senior writer at 72andSunny, in Fairygodboss. “If that womanhood intersects with anything that makes you other, i.e., being a person of color, LGBTQIA+, disabled, or you show up in any way that defies (boring) cultural norms — that emotionally laborious work triples. Boundaries are a mandatory component in creative self-care. Boundaries aren’t about shirking responsibilities or not being wholly present when it’s time to be all-in. It’s knowing that a constant state of sacrifice probably isn’t working to serve you.”
Ditch the digital and stick to a schedule. Create a part of your day that is without digital distractions from social media and email and reserve this chunk of time to do what you need to do and the work your enjoy. Bruce Daisley, European VP of Twitter and host of the podcast Eat, Sleep, Work, Repeat, tells Now To Love to “unplug to maximize work time and stick to it, as it erases ‘learned helplessness.’” Now To Love adds, “One of his suggestions is Monk Mode Mornings– figuring out the hours of the day during which we are most efficient and removing ourselves from email and other distractions over that time. He suggests keeping track of how much more work you get done during these digi-blackouts, in order to prove the utility of it to your boss.”
4. Check off the checklists. I am a firm believer in keeping to-do lists, separated by work and “other,” that way the errands and tasks that must be done for the personal side of my life do not interfere with the deadlines of work. I also have an enormous sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. Crossing off more than a dozen tasks for work, large and small. The tally is rewarding. Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop tells ABC, “I’m a great believer in lists. I’m a ‘things-to-do’ list person, I list tasks in order of priority and I try to stick with that task to completion as much as possible. I try to focus on one task at a time. I try to keep a very ordered day, although it doesn’t always work out that way.” Bishop adds, “My over-riding philosophy comes from my mother, who had this saying: ‘you go this way but once.’ By that she meant take every opportunity, and that life isn’t a dress rehearsal—you don’t get another go at this. So be busy, be active, take opportunities, contribute as much as you can because this is your life, this is your one opportunity to do it.”
5. Pick and choose. Authors Phanella Mayall Fine and Alice Olins write in Step Up – Confidence, Success and Your Stellar Career in 10 Minutes a Day that selecting what you like most about your job and concentrating on that can help you love your job more. “Job crafting is the technical term for taking the job you’re in and making it in line with who you are, because often it isn’t practical or achievable to leave the day job for your dream career situation at this very moment in time. To be successful you need to understand what you enjoy and then use this knowledge to make your current role suit those needs,” they write. This strategy involves three steps: First, “break down your strengths, weaknesses, passions and most hated tasks. Secondly, do the same for the different elements of your job – what you have to do on a daily or weekly basis. Third, review the lists side by side and reflect. Where can you use more of your strengths and passions in the job list? How can you remove tasks that you enjoy less from your daily grind (think redesign or, better yet, delegation) and, most importantly, where do your passions coincide with your work? Being thoughtful and deliberate about your day-to-day is an automatic work happiness enhancer.”
We do spend most of our waking moments at work, so we might as well learn to love our jobs, this month and all year long.
About the Author
Michele Weldon is editorial director of Take The Lead, an award-winning author, journalist, emerita faculty in journalism at Northwestern University and a senior leader with The OpEd Project. @micheleweldon www.micheleweldon.com