We all spend more time at work than most of the things in our life. If you work eight hours a day five days a week for fifty years of your life, that’s over a million hours of our lives spent at work. And for the large majority of people, that can be a nightmarish thought. Why? Because many people go to work dreading their jobs. Many people today clock in and out of a job that they don’t enjoy. In the worst-case scenario, we actually hate our jobs. The more shocking reality is how many people think this is actually fine.
If you’re asking questions like…
- Is it really OK that I don’t like my job?
- Do I really have to enjoy every moment in my career?
- What if I hate what I’m doing but need the money?
- Now that I know that I don’t love my job, what should I do?
- What do I do if I’m no longer passionate about my job but I’m afraid to lose my secure position?
… then let’s explore this growing issue together.
A study by the Gallup group shows that only 15 percent of employees actually feel engaged at work. So think about it this way. There are over 45.9 million Filipinos who are part of the labor force. With Gallup’s findings, there are around 39 million people who don’t see their jobs as a joy. I’ve long believed that work can be meaningful and that it should be. Work is supposed to be a blessed joy. When we don’t view it that way, it’s easy to get burnt out with our jobs. That kind of lifestyle often leads to a a life deprived of meaning and excitement.
Is It OK When I Don’t Love My Job?
But what does it take to find a job that you love? Too often, people get stuck at work, not because they aren’t earning enough or getting enough benefits and perks. You can throw all the bonuses at someone who’s unhappy and still end up with a disgruntled employee.
Accordingly, you end up feeling guilty if that’s you. You think that all the money in the world would fix your negative emotions towards your career, but it doesn’t. If you feel that way, my friend, you don’t have to feel condemned. We’ve all been there. Truth be told, on a day-to-day level, it’s normal to not always like what you do. As a work-from-home professional, people tell me all the time how lucky I am. I have a career allows me flexibility of time and space to live anywhere I want. I’m part of a high-demand industry that pays comfortably. And, most importantly, I enjoy what I do. But even with all those things in consideration, I have days where I don’t love my job. There are times when I wonder why I even chose my profession!
But, no matter how much I hate my job one moment, I still get a strong reality check. Then realize once again the joy and privilege of being able to be a virtual professional. So if you woke up today feeling that you don’t love your job, but feel the different tomorrow, it just means you’re human.
What To Do When You Don’t Love Your Job AT ALL!
But when you wake up every single day, dreading your profession, that’s a different story. I’ve heard of horror stories of people throwing up before work (sorry for being gross!). That’s just how unhappy they were. In these cases my friends, we need interverntion. So here are four tips to help you start getting on track to doing work that you love.
1. Discover An Outward-Oriented Why
Nothing excites a person more at work than a sense of mission. What purpose do you want to serve and how can that purpose serve others? A compelling “why”— a reason for what we do— is that it’s always others-oriented. Studies show that our bodies react best when we take on an altruistic stance. In other words, we’re happiest when we’re serving others. When you do things for others, you ignite a hormone in your body called Oxytocin. That hormone peaks your sense of fulfillment and joy in a way no other hormone does.
So, for instance, if you’re in a customer service job, which can get really toxic. Imagine that you’re facing irate customers. Don’t think that you’re just taking complaints. You’re solving people’s problems and making their lives easier. The question you should ask yourself is if that’s a mission that connects with your why. If not, it’s time to start that process of discovering what mission you want to serv. Find a company whose mission aligns with yours.
2. Build Your Talents into Strengths
We’re all built with our own sets of talents, but those talents will often start out pretty raw. I’m not just talking about talents like singing, dancing, and tying your tongue in a knot (unless you figure out a way to turn those into professions). I’m talking about talents you can turn into professions, like sales, marketing, strategic planning, counseling, planning, project management, and so on.
If you haven’t discovered what those talents are, you should consider taking a personality assessment like Strengthsfinder and Working Genius. These assessments will help you find the working talents that can give more meaning and fulfillment to your job.
3. Celebrate Wins No Matter How Small
There’s a reason why shopping is so addictive— it’s because our wiring pushes us to respond to positive rewards. Now, of course overdoing that will also put you in financial ruin, but when we put a healthy balance to rewards for our hard work, they can bring so much fulfillment. I remember the first time I earned my first income from my first business, which was in wedding photography in Boracay. I received PHP 5,000. Now that might not seem like a lot. But during that time, it was more than I dreamt of every receiving from a job! I called my dad out of excitement and told him I was going to save it all.
My dad urged me to save a portion and use some of it to celebrate. I’m not the type to splurge at all and would rather see money in the bank or in an investment fund, but I followed his advice. That became a pivotal moment for me because I realized that we should enjoy our work’s output.
4. Leave If Necessary
If you’ve done the first three things with all your might and you still don’t feel fulfilled, then don’t feel like you have to stay in your job. There’s no point staying in a place that you’re unhappy, but consider this first— if you leave your current job and transfer to another one will you still feel the same? How many times have you hopped from one job to another to feel the intimate rush the first six months and then fall into a slump again? If necessary, leave. But do so with a desire to see change in the next job— a change in your environment and a change within yourself.
Out of those three practices, none of them have to do with the actual work, your toxic officemates, or your demanding boss because truth is that you have no control over any of those things. What you do have control over is how you respond to your job. I’m also not claiming that doing these things will instantly fix your job.
Which of those three practices can you start actioning on today? What are some things you can do differently to start being more engaged at work?