This February is a leap year. What are you planning to do with your extra day? And to make the month even more special, it’s been reported that the famous groundhog Punxsutawney Phil, that intrepid weather-predicting rodent, has indicated an early spring. This is all great news to start off the month and should put us in a positive mood to tackle one of our biggest social and employee work issues – learning to like our jobs when we don’t, and the employees who come with them.
People are the number one issue we have in the workplace. Unfortunately, we just don’t like all of them. And when we struggle with the people, we struggle with our roles.
This month I’ve pulled together some tips, ideas, and resources on the ways and the reasons to love your work.
Let’s start with the most important tool – communication. But beyond learning new ways to talk it out in the work place, I think it’s important to talk it out with yourself.
- Why are you working? Money, prestige, interest, power. Are you simply paying the rent or saving for something larger? Are you working on your career path and focusing on the next position along the way?
- How do you define success? Job title, salary, leadership, contribution to mission.
- If you are in a job you don’t like, why do you stay?
Finding a way out of your unhappy workplace maze begins with understanding how you entered and what may be on the outside.
Fall in Love with Your Job
Author Elizabeth Gilbert, best known for her book, Eat Pray Love, speaks often about creativity and the creative process.
In her book Big Magic, she writes about the value of living a creative life. She talks about people who want to cook, woodwork, garden, or take photos – basically any hobby that lights you up that may not be related to your day-to-day job.
Professionally you may be labeled a systems engineer or project manager, but you’re really a musician who wants to play guitar on the weekends. By changing your mindset about your work, it may change how you approach it. She recommends you work to be your own patron. It would be amazing if we could all make a living in a creative work field, but the reality, going back to Da Vinci and Michelangelo, is that without a patron like the Pope, it’s near impossible. You’ll spend your creative energy trying to keep ahead of your bills instead of in the workshop.
If instead when people ask, “what do you do?” you said, “I’m a dancer” instead of “I’m a CPA”, how would that change how you felt about yourself and your work? Would defining your true self empower you to live it and in order to live it, give deeper meaning to your work as a CPA? Okay, maybe not. But my point is when we are unhappy at work or when we are frustrated by employees, we become defined by it. Maybe the issue with John or Jane in the next cubicle isn’t that they’re bad at budgeting, but that they’re better at painting.
Sometimes changing and finding job satisfaction needs to start with us before we can help others. Find what you love and let that become defines who and what you are. Bring that sense of self to work and it may surprise you.
I welcome your feedback, ideas, and the chance to connect anytime you want to say hello. Contact me with your questions and goals for the year ahead.