Do You Need to Love Your Job? Not Necessarily
Much has been touted about how important it is to find a job you love. Maybe
that's not as critical as we've been led to believe.
(Reading time 150 seconds)
My experience is that most people don't love their work. Many like it, some
tolerate it, but it is a minority who find work they love that also supports
Does that mean that everyone else is left to live in frustration, desperately
seeking that perfect job they can be passionate about? Not at all.
You can and should find enjoyment in your work. Doing so is very valuable to
your life in many ways, including greatly increasing your probability of
financial success. But you don't have to love, or even like your overall job to
enjoy everyday aspects of it.
It is critical to distinguish between the job and the way you do it. This is
important because every job has aspects that will be very unpleasant for you.
You need to be able to get through them with a smile on your face.
Let me give you a personal example. Coming out of college I helped start a
company that required me to develop a sales pattern to teach to others. The
nature of the sales contact was face-to-face cold calling. Unlike some of the
great salesmen I've worked with since, I DISLIKED SALES. So much so that, for
the first year, I got up every weekday, threw up, and then went to work.
Although my specific job literally made me sick, I was proud and took
satisfaction in the way I was doing the job. I was giving it my best. Somebody
had to create a successful way of selling our product, and money and manpower
restrictions made me the best choice.
Why did I put such a concentrated effort into a job that I clearly didn't love?
Because I needed to make a living. I saw a significant opportunity for my
partners and myself. And as importantly, it made me feel good about myself. I
enjoyed undertaking something and giving it my best. It made me feel better
about me, and my life as a whole.
Passionate about the job
no. Passionate about how well I did the
yes. Fortunately, the effort paid off and we were able to hire and
train others to do what I didn't like to do. For a few of those folks, it was
their dream job. For most, it was an okay way to make a good living. As for me,
I moved to a job that I disliked less.
So if your boss doesn't appreciate you, you're underpaid, your company isn't
that can be OK, for now. They aren't the key evaluators in your
life. You are. Do your job well for YOU.
Even if you don't like your specific work, or the work environment you are in,
you can love the way you do it.
Be able to pat yourself on the back at the end of every day. By doing so, you
also set yourself up for finding, within your company or somewhere else, a job
you will enjoy more.
And you may discover, as you focus on doing it better, that some of the
irritants of your job become more rewarding, or at least less lousy. For me, I
eventually grew to like sales, though never to love it. However, after 30
professional years, I am fortunate to have created a job I love doing. It would
have never happened without my previous work experiences, many of which were
less than ideal.
Afraid of being stuck in the same job for life? Don't worry. Individuals who
emphasize the positive and rewarding aspects of their job, don't stay in
unpleasant jobs that long. They get promoted or use their positive record to
get a more fulfilling job.
So, paraphrasing a verse Stephen Stills penned,
If you can't be in the job you love
Love the job you're in (or the way you do it)
It will make EVERY JOB much more enjoyable and rewarding.
But what about Passion
.Love of Life? Is that dependent on finding a job
you love? No.
We all need to love life to fully benefit from it. But which parts of our lives
generate that ardor, will vary from person to person, and over time. Someone
who is passionate about their job is not necessarily living their life any more
or less fully than someone who is passionate about their family or their music.
So, other than your job, what is your passion in life? Do you love to learn, or
teach, or write? Are you fervent about cooking, sports, cars, or clothes? Do
you have a wonderful friend, lover, or a family that you adore?
Congratulations! You've discovered some of life's great turn-ons for you.
Why not expand the joy in your life by regularly blocking time to engage in
those activities you love, with the people you love? If it's cooking special
meals, set an evening a week aside from TV and laundry to be the chef you want
to be. If that's not enough, get a part time job as a prep cook in a restaurant
you enjoy. Do it for free if you have to
it's not your job, it's your joy.
This is not hard to do. You just have to decide to do it. Then, in a calendar or
planner that you use on a daily basis, write it down on the day you will do it.
"Buy tickets to Sunday's game" (tonight), "till my garden"
(Saturday), "sign up for a design course at night school" (5 p.m.),
"read my new book" (everyday at lunch). Don't take your loves for
granted - plan time with them. And that certainly should include the people you
cherish the most. Commit to regular, celebration times, play times, bring them
flower times, in addition to the routine.
Please understand that I'm not encouraging you to stay in a job that makes you
miserable and find all your joys elsewhere. If you dislike the job you are in,
start to lobby or look for a better one today. And create a plan to get it.
But remember, while you are searching for that perfect job, enjoy the way you
are doing your present one, and keep celebrating and expanding all the other
joys of life that surround you.
©WorkLifeBalance.com 2003 - All Rights Reserved
The Power of Recognition
You can help create a work environment that the people around you enjoy more.
Simply recognize the value of what they do more often. Congratulate them more.
Thank them more. Don't fake it. It has to be real. Just focus a bit on
regularly catching them doing something right. Then tell them. You'll enjoy it
too. Who are you going to make feel good about working with you today?
The Manager's Role
More and more organizations have recognized that creating a work environment
that people productively enjoy is great for the bottom line. It draws out the
discretionary focus and effort that can double or triple the contributions each
of us can make on the job.
Managers in such an environment must expect, communicate and celebrate
professional and organizational achievement. But what a manager must also
recognize is that in addition to having a job, people on their team also have a
Showing sincere, even if brief, interest in the non-job related passions of each
person that works for him or her can do this. Such sincere interest makes work
a place that reinforces the achievements and enjoyments of ALL of life. When
such a tone is set in our work, we all willingly contribute more to it.
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"Making a success of the job at hand is the best step toward the kind you want."
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"Every calling is great when greatly pursued." Oliver Wendell Holmes
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