If you do an internet search for the phrase why don’t I love my job, you will find over 216,000,000 keyword results! That’s an astonishingly high number. Considering that the internet is only about 30 years old, it identifies a prolific, market-wide epidemic when it comes to people being happy with their jobs. The tragedy of all of this is that it doesn't have to be this way.
86% percent of today’s workforce are not-engaged in their current job, according to a recent Gallup Poll. For most people, they get stuck in a rut because they don’t know what truly drives them. They wake up, go to work, trudge through the day, go to bed and repeat. Imagine the potential if these people could be truly inspired by their life’s work. They’d look forward to waking up each day, optimistic about what that day brings and be ready to take on the world. And at least they’d be more productive.
Just like the person who decides to improve their health by eating better and exercising, a person can improve their job prospects with a little work on the front end. For me, these nine things (ten is so cliche) helped me convert from an uninspiring career to find a great working environment that brought out the best of what I had to offer. Everyone has different values and things that drive them, but these are the things that worked for me, and hopefully they can act as a guide or resource to help others in a similar position.
Know yourself first
The initial step for any person taking their personal journey to happiness is to understand themselves first. Many people go through the motions every day without ever taking the time to dig deep to ask some very important questions. Taking time for some much needed introspection can yield life-changing answers. Knowing what drives them and makes them truly happy is an important place to start. If a person can align their drivers or motivators with what they do for work and fun, they will find themselves energized, balanced and loving life.
Put reasonable effort into it
Some people feeling less than thrilled with their current situation may look for quick fixes to their problems. Many people rely on self-help books to try to break out of their funk. But just like treating an ailment with aspirin, it is usually a very temporary fix. If the “problem” is a job that someone doesn’t like, the same negativities will resurface long after the uplifting message of the self-help book disappears. While inspiration is good, inspiration combined with action is even better. It’s important to change your overall perspective or change the cause of the underlying problem in order to achieve lasting change.
Expect the best
Since many jobs require working eight-hour days and forty-hour weeks (or more), doing a job you enjoy is really important. Work is something the typical person will spend at least one third of their life doing. People are learning new skills and changing careers all the time. Whether it’s the company, the position or the line of work you are in that makes you unhappy, the only thing that is stopping you from changing is you! Don’t be afraid to come out of your comfort zone and look for a career that will be satisfying to you both financially and mentally.
Discover what drives you
I found out, through introspection and professional assessments, that finding a position that requires creativity was something I needed to stay engaged and interested every day. Formerly being in sales, there was little room for creativity. I had success in sales because I was well trained and observed people that excelled in the field, but I never got excited about the position. In fact, I really didn’t enjoy it at all.
While each and every person has their own priorities and motivators, I realized the things that were most important to me were these four things:
- The need for balance & harmony between work and life
- The need for making the most of my time and efforts
- Working with a very specific purpose
- Being able to do new things in new ways
Find balance and harmony
Work and life balance is talked about often in the workplace, but few workplaces truly execute the concept. With email, texting, Skype and other forms of instant communication, workers of today can be perpetually on-call. And if you are on-call, you are working, even if you are not physically at your place of employment. People driven to work long hours can easily lose sight of balance in their lives, because there is always work that can be done. Balance is something all workers should strive to achieve and it is an essential component for me.
Time is money - make the most of it
Given that I am very focused on return on investment, I feel that time is money. I want to use every single moment of my day in a productive nature. Even in leisurely activities, such as cutting the grass, I want to be the most efficient grass cutter on planet Earth. Maximizing my time and efforts is an essential need for me, and working in a career that allows me to do that is fulfilling.
Live life with purpose
Much like being resourceful, working with a very specific purpose is of the utmost importance to me. I don’t work just to work, I work for specific reasons. Sometimes my priority is to learn a new skill. Other times my priority is income. The reasons may change but in my life, there is always a very specific purpose behind everything I do.
Be open to new ideas
I am receptive to trying new ways to do new things. It keeps things fresh. I get bored with routine and like to change things up. In one of my former jobs as a beer distributor, I had a planned route I had to run. Driving the same way at the same time every day became so mundane that, after awhile, there were days I would run the route in reverse just to see what was on the other side of the street!
Really driving this point home, I moved across the country not once, but twice (two different directions) so changing things up and keeping it fresh is definitely a priority for me and any career in which I am involved.
Knowing what makes you tick, especially what makes you truly happy, will help you set yourself up for success. Balance doesn’t just come into play between work and life. Balance needs to be achieved in both work and in life. This can best be accomplished by ensuring that you are doing things that really speak to your inner voices; the reasons you get up every morning, optimistic for the day ahead.
Doing things you enjoy will energize you while participating in activities you don’t enjoy will take your energy away. You are in charge of your own success and your own energy; make the choice today to create positive energy by doing something that you truly enjoy.