Work. On average, we spend 7.5 hours a day there. That’s 37.5 hours a week. And that doesn’t include the time we spend getting there and back, or the free time lost to our work-related stress. Maybe you liked your job at first, but now you’re feeling stuck. Or perhaps you thought you’d try it out, but you don’t like it and don’t know what else to do. If you really don’t like your job, you might consider finding a new one or even a career change. But in the meantime, it’s up to you to make the most of your current job. Here’s how to fall in love with your job again.
Change your attitude
‘Change your attitude’. It’s a cliche, but we don’t mean it in a self-help, happy-go-lucky, positivity way. All we’re saying is, if you wake up dreading the day ahead of you, expecting it to be a nightmare, it doesn’t take a genius to realise it probably will be. If you feel negative and resentful inside, that’s how you’ll interpret your immediate environment — even if that’s not how it really is. It’s unlikely anyone at work is trying to make life miserable for you, so recognise that the world isn’t out to get you. As Bruce Lee famously said, “As you think, so shall you become.”
Recognise what’s upsetting you
You might think you hate your job, and for the most part, that may be true. But do you really hate every aspect? The chances are, there’s at least some part of it you enjoy. So do your best to notice which tasks you hate and which tasks get you ‘in the zone’, and then think about how you can capitalise on the good parts. It’s worth speaking with your manager to see if you can perhaps take on more of these projects. As long as you do a good job, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t at least consider saying yes.
Make sure you take your breaks
If you’ve got a stressful and ever-increasing workload, you might be tempted to skip your lunch break so you can get it all finished. Trust us: it won’t work. Your lunch break isn’t just for recharging your body with food; it’s also about recharging your mind with a mental health break. If you don’t, you’ll reduce your productivity to a complete trainwreck. You might think you aren’t affected, but employees who skip lunch cost businesses £50 million.
Make sure you take your full allowance, and ideally, get outside for some fresh air. Who cares if it’s raining — bring a raincoat or umbrella! It’s better than being stuck in a stuffy office all day, especially if you can enjoy nature while you’re at it.
Engage with your coworkers
It’s normal not to get on with all your coworkers. You can’t expect to please everyone. But it would do you a world of good to at least try engaging with your colleagues, even if you don’t want to. Even when you’re surrounded by people, you can still feel lonely — and loneliness is something that can have a tangible impact on your mental health.
This is especially prevalent in this day and age, where it’s easy to avoid face-to-face contact. Instead of emailing your coworkers, physically go and talk to them. Try to find some common ground and genuinely get to know them. You spend most of your time with them, so you might as well try to enjoy their company.
Hopefully your company organises social events, but if not, you could always arrange something yourself. You could start up a running club, or arrange for drinks after work. It really is up to you, but make sure you plan something that allows you to get to know the people you work with. If your job isn’t ideal, their friendship can make it more bearable.
Focus on one thing at a time
If your workload is colossal, and especially if it’s work you don’t enjoy, it can certainly be hard to love your job. But recognise that no matter how many items are on your to-do list, you can only devote your full attention to one thing at a time. We know the demands on your time evolve constantly, but hopping from task to task will just make you stressed and resentful. Not only that, but you’ll get yourself in a muddle and find it hard to focus and actually get anything done. If you give your full attention to one task, and then another, and then another, at least where possible, you’ll find your stress levels going down — which can only make it easier for you to like your job.
Separate your identity from your job
It’s common practice in our society to associate our professional lives with our identities. So much so that many surnames are actually occupational. For example: Baker, Carpenter, Hunter, Cook, and Smith. When people meet for the first time, a prevalent conversation starter is “So, what do you do?” Should we really tie so much meaning to our jobs? Of course they’re important; we spend most of our time doing them; but as a person, there’s more to you than what you do for a living. You have so many other interests and aspects that make up who you are. Working a job that isn’t exactly where you want to be can wreak havoc on your self-esteem, so to avoid this, do your best to separate your identity from what you do every day. After all, does your job title really summarise your entirety as a person? Of course not.
Remember why you’re working
Of course, we all work for money. We need money to survive, so we can find food, water, and shelter. But is that the only reason you’re still at your job? While you may think it is, it probably isn’t. Sustenance and shelter are our basic needs, but we have plenty of other psychological needs. For example: the need to feel validated. The need to feel appreciated. The need to feel like we’re making a difference. Focus on the aspects of your job that allow you to facilitate the meeting of those needs.
Learn something new
Learning a new skill can be a great way to break free from a mental rut, or reignite the passion you once had. If you’ve grown to resent your job, the chances are that it isn’t challenging you enough to be fulfilling anymore. To overcome this, consider enrolling in a training course, or working towards a qualification. Either could be just what you need to get unstuck and out of the stagnant position you’re currently in. Who wouldn’t want to move forward in their career?
Source: CV Library – Kieran Barker – 10th February 2017