If You Can't Have the Job You Love, Then Love The Job You're In
Does the idea that anyone could possibly enjoy work seem crazy to you? Perhaps you are stuck in a dead-end job, or you haven't been able to find your dream job yet. As impossible as it may seem, there are a number of ways to help you learn to love the job you are in right now.
Focus on What You Love
Believe it or not, it all starts with making sure that outside of work you are doing things that fulfill you. As your off-work hours are completely under your control you decide what you want to do with them. Plopping down in front of the TV set or mindlessly checking FB updates are not using your time to its best advantage.
Instead, focus on what you do love to do. If you want to be an artist, then make sure you dedicate your free time to painting or sculpting. If you enjoy writing fiction then join a fiction writer's group. If you've always dreamed of doing pantomime then join like-minded individuals already performing.
Doing what you love during your off-time will make your day job a lot easier because you will be more fulfilled and happier. The truth is that people (including co-workers) want to be around happy people and tend to avoid pessimist types.
Talk to Your Boss and Coworkers
Going to a job you are not passionate about is a lot more manageable if you work with friends instead of just acquaintances. Talk to coworkers about something other than work. Take a genuine interest in their lives. Even if they aren't exactly your cup of tea, appreciate their strengths and acknowledge them.
If there is an important co-worker whose friendship you want to cultivate then use the Ben Franklin approach: ask them for an easy favor. Borrow a book, pen, stapler, video, anything that you can return quickly and in good condition and then be sure to sincerely thank them. The underlying idea behind the strategy is that we tend to like the people to whom we are kind and dislike the people to whom we are rude.
You also want to be on good speaking terms with your superiors. It helps your employer recognize you as more than a cog in the machine. It could potentially open up better opportunities for you in the future. So be sure to value their opinions and respect their insights. Find some common ground and subtly let them know you are going above and beyond what is expected of you.
Take Refreshing Breaks
During your break time, don't just sit around the office and stare at your phone. Try going for a walk around the block to get some air and exercise. A walk will be particularly helpful if you spend most of your day sitting behind a desk. If there is an interesting building near your office, then go visit it. Admiring unique architecture or outdoor scenery will change your headspace, clear your thoughts and reenergize you.
Your snacking habits also have a big effect on your mood. Have a refreshing snack. A piece of fruit is better than chips. A cool, glass of water is better than sugar-filled energy drinks.
Dress To Impress
There is a good reason why HR advises people to "dress for success"; because it works. While you may not care for your job, you should dress like you care. If you dress disheveled, then you are more likely to feel tired and unprepared.
Dressing nicely will have a positive impact on your co-workers and superiors. They will be more likely to respect you because you look the part. When you feel good about the way you look, you naturally convey confidence and a positive attitude. These nonverbal messages are as important as your words.
Be sure to avoid wearing the following items to work:
- Denim and shorts
- Tank tops or crop tops
- Flip flops, sandals, or tennis/running shoes
- Trendy or loud clothing
- Very short, tight, or low-cut clothing
Customize Your Workspace
Whether you spend most of your day behind a desk or inside an office cubicle, you should make the area an extension of yourself. Look for file organizers with pizazz. Add a couple of pictures, knick-knacks, and indoor plants to make you feel more at home and help the time go by more quickly.
Be Aware of When You Feel Too Stressed
Feeling stressed is common, but you want to be careful of experiencing it too often. Some common signs that your stress is getting the better of you include:
- Social withdrawal
- Constant headaches
- Sleeping problems
- Stomach issues
Use an app such as Calm to help you reduce stress. During work be sure to stop for a minute and take a few deep breathes if you get an unnerving call or email. Use a motivational app such as You Totally Rock to receive daily inspirational messages. Don't resort to alcohol or drugs to relieve stress, get professional help instead.
At the end of the day, remember that you have a job that allows you to pay the bills and live independently. You have a roof over your head and food on your table. It may not be your dream job, but there are plenty of people who would love to be in your shoes. So be sure to keep a gratitude journal where you write daily or at the very least, weekly entries. Take some to reread what you've written on previous days and you'll be amazed at how much you have to be grateful for.
Do you have any tips for combating work-related blues? Tell us in the comments.