I was at church a few weeks ago and had an interesting realization. We were talking about decision-making and gaining wisdom in difficult situations when my good friend, April relayed the following experience:
April said she was selected for a student-teaching position at a low-income school in the fall and was struggling to enjoy her work. She said, “After several months of dragging my feet around the classroom, I just decided I was going to make the best of it. And honestly, the best choice I ever made was the decision to love my job.” I was so impressed by April’s story I wrote it down in my journal and made a decision right then and there to love my job (more). Here are a few concrete things I have done to love my job, not just in the last few weeks but over the course of several months.
1. Recognize that work is work
This is something I have to re-realize every time I get bored with my job. Maybe I just haven’t found my “DREAM JOB” but for me, work is work. Even at it’s best it’s not terribly fun and exciting, and it’s never something I would want to do on the weekends. But work is important to me because it helps me develop professional skills and provide for my family and contribute to society. That sounds cheesy but it’s true. So even though it’s not what I’m just dying to do on a Monday morning, it does give meaning to my life and so I want to do it well.
2. Get involved
I work as the marketing coordinator at a cosmetic dental lab and when I feel like I’m not as invested in my job as I should be, I like to sit down and make a list of all the things I could do to make my company more successful. Some things are a little out of my hands (other peoples’ messy desks), but there are a lot of things I CAN do that would help my office. I read somewhere once that the best thing you can do at work is think of the number one problem your boss has and take care of it. I love that idea! My boss really needs his office redecorated so that’s something I want to get done soon.
3. Be grateful
This is the number one thing I have to remember when I feel frustrated with my work. There are so many great people who don’t have jobs or who have jobs that don’t pay the bills and they would give anything to come to work everyday and take home a nice paycheck. Heck, there have been times in my life when I would give anything to have a steady paycheck! A job is a privilege and I should be grateful for it.
Other things that have helped me to make a “bad” job better:
- Make friends
- Find a great pen to write with
- Try to compartmentalize your personal life and your work life so that you don’t have to worry about work when you’re not there
- Decorate your office—make it cute!
- Get a calendar and keep track of all your tasks
- Make a list of all the skills you've developed at work
- Try to remind yourself why you have a job and what your long-term goals are, that way you can feel good about your work instead of dreading it.
I know there’s a difference between a BAD job and a job that’s bad because you have a bad attitude. In my experience, most bad jobs are actually great once you decide to like it. I don’t know if I’ll ever have my “dream job” but I hope I can always find joy in my work, regardless of what I’m doing.
Thanks for reading!