Work is work and so it’s not always fun, but it’s how we spend the majority of our day and can greatly impact our overall mentality. Not to mention, how you feel about work impacts your productivity too. That’s why it’s important to love your job, to feel good about going to work, not necessarily every day, but in general. So how do you do that?
Maintain a hopeful outlook
As I said, work can be hard. Organizations go through changes, people come and go, and our individual work can ebb and flow. Sometimes it’s easy to become negative about the future, especially when others around you are expressing their discontent. While it’s important to be realistic, it also doesn’t get you very far to be pessimistic, so focus on the things you can control, the things that are working, and stay hopeful that the challenges you are currently facing will pass. Uncertainty can be scary, but most things in life are temporary, so take it in stride and you may be surprised to find that the outcome is better than before.
Create solutions not complaints
Sometimes issues will arise that can inhibit your ability to work effectively or may impact your job satisfaction in other ways. Don’t let these issues be a reason to give up and check out. Instead, think of potential solutions. Remember that if you’re spending your time complaining about the problem, you are only contributing to making the problem worse. Nothing is perfect and that’s ok, because each of us can be part of making our situation better. By focusing on solutions, not only will you have the opportunity to resolve the problem, but just taking the initiative can boost your engagement and commitment to your work.
We all have unique experiences and skills, which we can leverage to help others. Not only does helping others make us feel good (not to mention the professional benefits of being a team player), but it also shows us our own value. Through the process of helping others you learn more about yourself and gain a sense of purpose. “Purpose is what gets you out of bed in the morning and into work without groaning and grumbling — something that you just can’t fake,” wrote Janet Choi in her article, The Motivation Trifecta.
Do more than your day to day job
If what you do day in and day out excites you, that’s great. But if you feel like you wish you could do something else, something more, well than you can… and you should. Even better, you don’t have to switch jobs to do it. Don’t feel restricted by your job description. Ask how you can help a coworker on a project, get involved with an internal effort, become an intrapreneur. If there is something within your organization that intrigues you, get involved.
Go outside your comfort zone
Change is hard, and often we prefer the safety of where we are now. But the flipside of change is stagnation, and as we stagnate we grow bored, less productive, and dissatisfied. Change may mean trying something new, something you’re unfamiliar with, or not an expert at. It may mean going from being the most experienced person to the least, but it is absolutely worth it. The only real way to grow is to get a bit uncomfortable. As professionals, we should seek to grow constantly. Admit it, we’re most excited at work when we’re learning, trying, and mastering new things, so step out of your comfort zone and take on something new.
From a personal perspective – some days are very difficult to have fun and love work. However, the positive attitude with which you approach any situation does impact your well being and those around you. I try and look at things not from a day-to-day perspective, but from an overall perspective and recognize that things will turn better. It is each of our responsibilities to make the environment in which we work a good working environment and to create ‘fun’ and joy with our activities.