Editor's Note: Lisa H. (aka RunningBear) is the founder of Getting to Zen
I can’t count the number of times that I have heard someone say “I hate my job”-- Day after day, begrudgingly going to work repeating this mantra. But, if this thing called a “job” was taken away from them they wouldn’t have the means to pay for the things that they needed on a day-to-day basis (food, shelter, clothing). So isn’t it ironic that something like a “job” would be hated by so many people when it can bring them so many benefits.
You have a choice
I have never been much for staying in a job that I didn’t like. I have a low tolerance for unhappiness and unhappiness at work is no exception. How you feel about your job is up to you. You have choices. You can choose to be miserable and stay in your current job or you can leave for one that you enjoy. A third option would be to stay in your current job and change how you feel about it. If your goal is to be a happy worker, then avoid making excuses for why your situation sucks and begin to create the kind of work environment that brings you joy.
People stay in jobs that are not satisfying for these common reasons:
> I have children (wouldn’t you be a good role model by showing your children how to enjoy work)
> I don’t know how to do anything else
> I don’t the education to do differently
> I won’t find something that pays as well as this (You may find something that pays better)
> I am scared
> This is my family’s company
> My father, mother, etc… worked here
> They have a good benefits plan
While these may seem like good reasons, and in some cases, they may temporarily be, they don’t have to keep you stuck in a situation that has the potential to give you stress induced ulcers. You can be happy at work.
Get a different perspective
If you choose to stay in your current job, then change how you feel about it. Begin by speaking positively about your work to others and most importantly to yourself. If you hate your job, that means that it is something that you are doing against your will—and there is no way that you can be happy while you are acting against your grain; And to add to that, anything that you resist becomes increasingly difficult. Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to swim upstream? It is even difficult for salmon, and swimming upstream is part of their nature. The longer you go against the flow, the more energy you will use and the more tired you will become. Similarly, if you were to swim downstream, you would use very little energy. You could practically float while the waters carried you along.
Equate this to your job. If you use positive terminology while speaking about your job, you will be going with the flow and it will become easier for you to carry out your duties. However, if you speak negatively about your job, the opposite will be true. Hating or loving your job has a lot to do with your perspective on it.
Tip for managers
If you are a manager, you can make positive changes around your workplace that will benefit your employees. Employees like to feel appreciated and like they are a part of a team. In the end, you will be the biggest beneficiary of this change. A happy worker is a productive worker.
For a team building activity, you may consider putting positive slogans up around the walls of the office. This small action can have a big effect. There is a lot of power in words. When I go to the local YMCA, there are slogans and banners everywhere with words such “honesty”, “respect” and “caring.” And every single time I read one these banners or slogans, I feel my attitude shift. They make me want to be an honest, respectful, and caring person.
Putting positive slogans up will also impress visitors to your company. So make them as meaningful as possible.
One big thing to remember here is that no one is forcing you to go to work. It is something that you are choosing to do and you are not doing it for free. So when you think or speak about your job, take all of the benefits it is providing you into consideration. Either keep your job and enjoy it or move on. Tell yourself that hating it is not an option.
Lisa H. (aka RunningBear) is the founder of Getting to Zen, a personal development blog featuring articles on productivity, motivation, inspiration and organization. You can sign up for her RSS feed or follow her on Twitter.
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* Charlie over at productive flourishing has a post about prioritizing your core activities. Too often we worry and focus on stuff that doesn't matter.
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