If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.
Are you spending time fantasizing about cool offices where the team members are best friends and go out for drinks after work? Maybe you’re bored and feel your current job has no room for growth or career development opportunities. No job is perfect. Some days are good and others can make you want to throw in the towel and quit. Finding the perfect fit takes time, practice, and patience.
Until destiny comes knocking at your inbox, it might be necessary to learn how to be happier at work and enjoy your current job (or at least stop yourself from banging your head against the wall). With a little effort, your piece of coal may reveal a diamond in the rough. Here are a few suggestions on how to fall in love with your job.
1. Take on new roles
Boredom doesn’t necessarily signal a bad fit. Sometimes it reflects your commitment and drive. Famed British author G.K. Chesterton once said “There are no uninteresting things, only uninterested people.” If you’re tired of the same old job day in and day out, do something about it. Volunteer for extra assignments and new projects, or approach the hiring manager and tell them you would like to shadow a colleague. Most companies promote learning new skills and career development opportunities. Just don’t neglect your own work and assignments.
One area companies want to advance but tend to ignore is community engagement. Whether it’s lack of resources or time, many CEOs never conceptualize their volunteer programs. Taking time to volunteer to build a program would benefit the community, company, and your accolades. Start small at first. VolunteerMatch, a company dedicated to bringing charitable causes and companies together, provides free training material and advice for starting a project.
2. Build new relationships
We spend more time with our colleagues and co-workers than our own friends and family, meaning job satisfaction is directly linked to our work relationships. According to a recent report, making friends and having a healthy social life improves stability, interest, and interaction — all key aspects of knowing how to love your job. Learning to get along with your peers and enjoy friendly activities may help you change your mind about your current work conditions, going a long way towards staying positive at work.
Rather than use office mail, instant messaging like Slack, or email, walk over to your co-worker’s area and talk directly to them. Ask about their work, projects, and listen to any difficulties they may have. Offer suggestions only when they are welcome. Also consider joining office activities and groups. If none exist, speak with a few like-minded co-workers and start your own group. Activities need not be extensive; a walk around the building each day or casual lunch helps build budding relationships.
3. Talk to your boss about changes
Sometimes it’s not the company we detest, but rather, the job itself is mundane. There’s nothing wrong with asking for a transfer or seeking another position — it's a quick way to stay positive at work. Look at the company’s career site and see if there are any positions available. Depending on your company’s size, they may list positions on Monster or Glassdoor. Many hiring managers give preference to candidates already working for the company.
Don’t be afraid to recommend other changes as well. You don’t have to transfer, change jobs, or leave the company to improve your work surroundings. Carefully think about the areas that need improvement and speak with other co-workers to get their input. Whatever you do, don’t complain; rather, ask what areas they think could be improved. Then, take these suggestions to your supervisor and ask if you can help with improvements. Make sure your approach is professional and courteous, and they should be receptive to your ideas.
Related: 6 Ways to Impress Your Boss
4. Make your work area more comfortable
Giving your work area a small makeover could mean the difference between a lackluster start to each day and renewed vigor upon entering the office. You don’t have to go overboard; simply start by eliminating clutter from your area and organizing the space to suit your needs. A well-organized office space is less stressful and helps make your workday smoother. Also, a workspace you love is an easy step towards learning how to love your job!
Once your area is optimized for peak performance, start giving it a customized look. Think of your workplace as an extension of your home or personality. A small potted plant and photos brighten any office area, but be careful not to violate any office policies. Always ask your immediate supervisor before bringing any personal effects from home, because while some offices promote creativity, others require you to maintain a clean look.
5. Take a short vacation
Do you have extra vacation time that you’ve accumulated? Sometimes a quick break works wonders for staying positive at work. If you’re starting to hate your job and you’re thinking about quitting, consider a short respite. Use this time to evaluate your goals, the pros and cons of staying or leaving the job, and other career options. The point of this time off isn’t to take a break or have fun, but instead, it’s the time necessary to remove yourself from the environment that’s causing doubt. Without the negative triggers, a rational decision is easier to make.
Three days should be enough to help make a decision. Use the first day to rest, unwind, and allow the stress to leave your body. The next two days should be used for reflection and determining whether you’ll have better options elsewhere. Be sure to run your thoughts by those who care about you; their objective opinions may lead you to see aspects of your job that you’ve lost sight of. Anonymous online counseling could also be useful. Talkspace, an online counseling service, offers low-cost therapists and advisors to talk about problems and help guide you to the best decision.
6. Keep your eye on the prize
We all want to work at the company of our dreams, whether that means offices on the beach, a pineapple juice dispenser attached to the water fountain, or exciting projects with world-class clients. These dreams are (somewhat) possible, but they take patience and determination. The ultimate goal is to build your resume, learn new skills, take career development opportunities, and gain valuable experience. Then, when the perfect job pops up, you’ll be ready.
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