How to Love Your Work Every Single Day (Let Me Count the Ways)
Choosing your job is much like choosing a partner in life. There's no perfect job (at least not for many). There are times when peer pressure or a couple of hurried, misinformed decisions can place you in the wrong company. It's only when you've started working that realization hits you. You and your job were not made for each other.
But then, you've already committed. You’re afraid to leave so soon because that will stain your record. What if you're stuck? Do you drag your feet to work just because you don’t love your job?
Or maybe, you found your company as the best fit. You're meant to be there. You're just looking for ways so that every single day of your relationship will be a page torn straight from a romance novel.
Look no farther. I've been in both situations. Both times, they were deep, meaningful relationships. I learned a lot from it. One thing I realized, there's a way to love your job so that your relationship will not end up in a Shakespearean tragedy—not every time.
So, how do you love your work every single day? Let me count the ways.
The first way is to know your company at a deeper level. Then, connect.
Deep-level connection means understanding your company's vision, mission and core values. Something in that vision or mission might resonate with you. What the company cares about in its core values might be the same things that you care about. If that's the case, your relationship will be guided.
Your common goals will make it easier for you to bring out the best from each other.
Secondly, discover what's beneath the surface.
You might have accepted the job only for the money. Sure, you’ll rake in the big bucks. But will the experience give value in the long-term?
Or sometimes, the pay wasn't even worth it that’s why you’re sulking.
Look beyond the payslip is what I'm saying. You might be getting more than you bargained for in terms of growth and development.
Your daily struggles at work could shape the future CEO or CFO in you. You might get specialized knowledge or technical expertise that will become your edge in future recruitment interviews. You might get connections for your future business or freelancing stint.
Find the hidden rewards in your relationship. Don't measure the short-term return. Rather, account for the long-term value.
Third, be clear on your personal vision and mission. Always connect what you do to what you want to become.
Stephen Covey in his book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People mentioned this exercise. Imagine yourself attending your funeral in the future. What would you want people to say about you during the eulogy?
You may be an accountant now who finds your relationship with work as dull and impersonal. But if you want people to remember you as the "nicest, most helpful man I ever met", become that picture as early as now. Even if your daily job consists of simply crunching numbers in and out.
Love people and people will love you back.
Your company may not love you and vice versa. Your job may not love you. But your colleagues will. If you showed enough that you care, if you respect them, if you value their contributions and if you give them a pat in the back for a job well done, people will love you for it.
Another way is to express gratitude.
Be thankful every day that you have your job because others were not so lucky. Thank your job for the learning experiences, whether it’s good or bad because it will be part of your character-building.
Give it your all when you're at work but give yourself breathing space too.
Too much familiarity breeds contempt, as the saying goes. When you're that diligent, it may be very tempting to plow through your job without a proper break.
When even in dreams, your work invades, that's one sign that you've turned your job into a leech. You let your job suck the blood out of you. Gradually, you lose vitality. When that happens, hate creeps in. And suddenly, you find yourself losing the passion that days ago, made your relationship with your job sweet and fulfilling.
Give yourself regular, steady breaks. Or set a boundary. Say, when you're at home or during the weekend, you and your job should establish a respectful distance.
If you're just starting, set that boundary at the early stage of your relationship. If you're already halfway through, gather your guts to talk and lay down your new set of rules. Ask the same of your job. Both of you will benefit from a mutually-agreed and defined set of rules and boundaries.
Lastly, learn to let go.
If the relationship was already to your detriment, end it. There's only so much dirt that you can handle. If you're nearing the toxic bend, pull out. Think it over. Then, drive away if that would make both of you happier.
If both of you were already hurt, continuing the relationship will only worsen things.
For example, a colleague of mine pulled an all-nighter one time at the office. The finished work pleased him. But the one-time all-nighter turned into a habit. He found himself coming in later and later for the succeeding days. His colleagues cannot find him during important meetings because he's still catching on sleep. His work suffered. His body suffered, too. One time, he clutched his chest in pain and just died.
It was an example to the extreme. The moral is, don't wait for the toxicity to eat you from within. To love does not mean to suffer (although most love gurus would not probably agree with me on that one). But this is your job we're talking about.
Love your job but love yourself more and the people around you.
When you do that, your love will manifest energy of its own. You'll find your passion burning holes through your computer because your focus was that intense and powerful.
Finally, remind yourself every single day about the reasons behind your job. Get into the habit of affirmations. If it helps and if you're a fan of romantic poems, recite these few lines from E.B. Browning's “Sonnet 43”.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
Just replace the last three lines with ways of your own and you’re set. Happy love-your-work day!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
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© 2020 Chris Martine