How to fall in love with your job

Stats show that in general, Americans are relatively satisfied with their jobs. I suppose it could be worse. They could hate their jobs. Why settle for a job you barely tolerate, when it’s possible to fall in love with your job or at least really start to like it. Imagine how you would feel if your significant other told you they were relatively satisfied your relationship. Wouldn’t you do everything in your power to change things?

Like any relationship, you can make real change in how you perceive your job by adjusting your mindset. Want to fall in love with your job? Do these three things.

1. Keep things in perspective

We give the greatest amount of our time to our jobs, so hopefully, it’s a place we like to hang out. Even if you don’t really love or even like your job, it’s important to keep things in perspective, especially on those hard days . The work may be tedious at times, people may steal your lunch out of the fridge and you  may have that one co-worker that gossips all day, but rest assured, things aren’t as bad as we think they are. Still not convinced? Consider the following –

  • You may feel as though you and your boss lack compatibility, but my most inept manager taught me an extremely useful skill at age 21 that I have carried with me throughout my whole career.  This boss, who shall be known as Jerry, was belligerent with employees, misogynistic and arrogant. Nobody liked him and we all dreaded having to work with him. He didn’t know it, but he taught me how to work around my limitations and play to my strengths. Even though he and I clashed, the lessons I learned under his direction have helped me through many workplace challenges.
  • No one is an island onto themselves. We exist to impact the lives of other people. Maybe you’re there to inspire someone to go back to school after a long break, or maybe your health journey will encourage someone who’s been stuck on the couch for years. When we think that we can really make a difference in the lives of the people around us, it will change how we see the workplace. It will no longer just be a place we go to earn money, it will transform into a place where we can build community with other people.
  • You might not be working at your dream job, but unlike a huge portion of Americans and people in other parts of the world, you have a job. Always be thankful for that.
2. Develop a strong relationship with your boss

We all know it’s not appropriate to fraternize with your boss, but if you want to be successful at your job, it’s important to have the support of your superiors. Your boss isn’t a mind reader, so you can’t expect him to know when you’re maxed out because you’re studying for your MBA. Engaging with your boss helps your relationship in many ways. Firstly, when your boss is aware of your job aspirations, she can more readily help you to achieve them. Unless they’re lacking good-will, a good boss will help you with your career progression because they see that you genuinely care about company goals and objectives. Secondly, you are there to help your boss. One of my favorite sayings is “Play for the name on the front of the shirt and they will remember the name on the back of the shirt.” Spend time thinking of ways to ease your bosses burden. This is something they will never forget, and will more likely think of you first when promotion time comes. If you make your boss look good, you make yourself look good too.

3. Go beyond balance to blend

Millenials get a lot of bad press when it comes to their work ethic, but maybe we can learn from them when it comes to balancing work and personal life. Most generations (Gen X, Boomers) tend to compartmentalize work and home life. We have a hard time integrating these two aspects of our lives. This means that we continue to strive for the elusive “work/life balance”.

We ask ourselves questions like –

  • “What do I have to give up in order to achieve this other thing I really want?”
  • “Can we really have it all?”
  • “Do my children/spouse hate me for spending so much time at work?”

We still don’t have answers because work/life balance doesn’t really exist. Thankfully, things are changing as we see more employers offer flexible working arrangements and we might just have a millennial to thank for this.

I recently heard a story about a young woman who was training for a marathon. She was on a strict schedule which meant she had to eat and train at certain times each day. Her job required her to attend weekly team meetings which happened to interfere with her training schedule. Rather than attending the meetings with her team, she would call into the conference room (which happened to be located directly across from her desk). Her reason? She needed to prepare her green smoothie at a certain time each day, and the noise from her USB blender would interfere with the meeting.

The rest of the team who attended the meeting felt that she should be there too and they voiced this to her boss. In actual fact, her boss didn’t have a problem with her calling in. She was more worried about the optics of the situation. After all, how could she request everyone attend the meeting, but allow one person to call in? A minor stand-off ensued between the employees and the marathon runner. Who won? The marathoner. She reasoned that as she contributed to her overall health, she would become a more effective employee. She also showed that being goal-oriented made her a better employee too and that in order to achieve these results, she would need some flexibility during working hours. She didn’t have to trade off one thing at the expense of the other (which is generally how work-life balance works). Instead, she managed to integrate her work and her personal life without having to sacrifice one thing for another. She blended these two aspects of her life and was on her way to achieving her own work/life bliss.

We’ve all heard the expression “Do what you love”. I wonder how many of us are living our childhood dreams and truly doing what we love. For those of us who aren’t Beyonce, Kobe or Bill Gates, we can still love the job we have by making a few small changes. And with love,  it’s the little things that count.