Career Advice: How to Love Your Job

June 15, 2015 by Margaret Townsend
GlobeHook engaged at work

Do you put time, but no energy or passion into your job? 

Sleepwalking through the day at work means you are daydreaming away two thirds of your life.  According to Gallup research, less than a third of employees are engaged in their jobs so you are not alone but that small comfort doesn’t make your own life any better lived.

How do you know when you’ve essentially ‘checked out’ and what can you do about it?  Use these alternative self-assessment techniques and tools to establish and improve your own engagement levels at work and learn how to love your job so that you can feel as enthusiastic in your role as the Janitor working in NASA, who famously described his job as “helping put a man on the moon”.

The mirror never lies.

Ask yourself how you feel about the day ahead every morning.  This tactic was employed by Steve Jobs, who admitted: “I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

Practice living in the moment.

Mindfulness is all about being aware of ourselves and the world around us.  It’s about living your life as if it really matters, moment by moment.  There are many established methods of practicing mindfulness and living in the moment, including meditation but you can practice it while doing anything.  Being mindful of the world around you and your place in it, without prejudice, may help you to engage better and enjoy the daily grind a lot more.

Get to know yourself.

Might seem obvious, but many people get asked this simple question during interviews: ‘what are your strengths and weaknesses?’ and most find it one of the hardest questions to answer.  Self-awareness is about understanding your own needs and everything that makes you tick, as well as your failings.  If you don’t understand yourself at this level it is pretty certain you won’t know where you fit, how or what to improve or how to be happy. 

All of this is very relevant in a working environment because it also helps you to understand other people, how they perceive you, your attitude and your responses to them.  A new fun way to learn about yourself is a game of cards called Packtypes. It helps you to understand and appreciate your own strengths whilst recognizing and valuing differences in others.

Develop a ‘work mode’ strategy.

The most talented, top performers in the world, in any profession or industry can and do have off days when they do not feel the least bit motivated.  To get around lack of motivation they develop a routine that they do each time they have to perform or each morning of their job and they do it every time without fail.  Try building a routine for yourself that gets you into ‘work mode’.  The trick is to make it easy, make it something that brings you closer to the physical act of what your job is and make it a habit.

When it’s time for change.

Though many people automatically become happier by truly living in the moment and practicing self-awareness, many others uncover the need to make some changes.  You might need to develop your own skills to become better at your job.  This is especially true for management positions which require soft skills such as motivation, assertiveness and relationship building among other attributes and if you are a Manager and you are not yourself engaged in your job then everybody you manage is also switched off. 

When management are not engaged in their roles then the whole team is sleepwalking!  If you feel your manager is bringing the team down then try raising the subject in a positive way and make suggestions for relationship building and better teamwork.   Also find ways to motivate yourself rather than relying solely on your manager.  Sometimes leaders choose the wrong managers who may never be good at their job of motivating, creating performance improvement and coming up with engagement strategies.  You may have to reassess your position within that environment if you feel stifled in your current role.

Find the right job.

Your current role may not provide you with the necessary ingredients to make you interested or perhaps it doesn’t challenge you enough.    Maybe the culture fit with your employer is wrong for you or, like the Janitor, you need to feel like the business you work at is doing something great that you believe in, irrespective of your role within it.

When this happens use online methods to find a new job that protect your privacy, such as where you can set up your job choices and view matching options in private, only disclosing your details to an employer of your choosing.  In this way you won’t compromise your current position even further by your Manager or employer finding out you want to move before you are ready with something better.

Remember to start as you mean to go on in your next job, finding ways to stay motivated and engaged and make your job part of a life well lived instead of a long shadow over your weekend!

About the Author

Margaret Townsend
An experienced recruiter and job seeker, now co-founder of a private job search website. Blogs are full of practical tips and advice on career development, work-life balance, the job search and the job interview. Also writes in-depth unique articles about workplace issues such as gender diversity, HR practices, culture fit, employee engagement and gainful employment.

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