Is loving our jobs a realistic goal? Are you torn by “needing” the salary, the benefits, the opportunity and truly “loving” the work that you do, no matter how hard it might be? Here are a few key things to consider to determine if you do, or if you even need to, love your job.
- Do you love your life? If you rely on your job to fulfill you as a human on the planet, you might be buying yourself trouble. Many who don’t like their jobs, and think changing their jobs will improve their entire lives, are probably missing the point. If your relationships, hobbies, activities, and non-work time are not providing fulfillment, you might first investigate the 128 weekly hours that you are NOT at work. Did you take this job as part of an overall life plan? Do you have a life plan? That may be the larger gap that needs to be filled.
- Do you take the daily ups and downs personally? This can often make a day on the job difficult. Just like a marriage, or any other serious successful relationship, we all know there is give and take, good days and bad, colleagues you’ll like, and others you won’t. And, just like we do in marriages, we know the mistakes, the surprises, the failures, and the misunderstandings are not a reflection of the entire relationship, but reminders that it might be time for an attitude adjustment, a heart to heart conversation, or just time to take a break. Whether a daily walk, or pep talk, find a way to manage the consequences, and the rewards, without being thrown off balance.
- Are you healthy? It’s hard to love anything or anyone if we are not feeling up to snuff. Take a look at your diet, work out plan, sleep patterns. If any of those are off, or if you haven’t had a check up recently, take care of yourself. It’s way easier to love your job, let alone your partner, parents, and kids, if you begin each day feeling on top of your game. Clarity, focus, and energy can wane quickly when our health suffers.
- Are there truly ethical issues on the table? Sometimes jobs really are difficult. Colleagues, boards, and bosses can be abusive, unethical, and engage in actions that are illegal. This behavior is guaranteed to have negative effects on attitudes and atmosphere, and make it easy NOT to love your job. If this is the case, reach out to a mentor, review the handbook and policies, get help! Not loving your job because this workplace is putting you at risk is reasonable, ignoring the situation is dangerous.
- Are you being honest? If all of the above is true: you’re happy, your attitude is great; you’re healthy, and your job is terrific, but you just don’t like it, that’s okay! Maybe you took this job for all the right reasons: great opportunity to learn and advance; fits right into your overall plan; terrific salary and benefits; right location for commute and family. But after several months you realize, it just doesn’t fit. Before you give notice, give yourself a moment for honest review. Ask a mentor or best friend to help you analyze the situation. Are you bored? Do you need greater challenge? Are you working over your head? Is there a different skill set you’d like to develop? If it isn’t a great fit, what can YOU offer to improve it? Think beyond what feels like an uphill climb, and before you quit, see if this is not an opportunity to take control. Bring options, not complaints, to the table and talk to your boss. If it’s time to make a move, it’s better to approach it knowing you have covered all the possibilities, and you leave with a great reference and strengthened resume.
Loving your job may be a lofty goal, but feeling valued and valuable is worth it’s weight in gold. Before you quit, or break your back pushing boulders across the room, take an honest look at yourself and you might find that things can be better than you think, whether or not you love your job.