Let’s be honest: working isn’t normally very fun. In fact, people who are interested in their jobs and speak positively about their work are very few and far between. So what’s the difference between those who enjoy their jobs and those who don’t?
What can we all be doing to like our work better? And is it possible to like the jobs that we have right now, even if we don’t want them for the long term?
Do the Work You’re Passionate About
It’s almost always exciting to do work that you care about. But what can you do if the work that you’re doing right now isn’t in your preferred industry? What if your job doesn’t have the ideal job description that’s your personal end goal?
Trey Ferro, the CEO of Spot Pet Insurance thinks that it could just take a little bit of extra effort to find something that you enjoy in your work as it exists at the moment.
“I think it’s easiest to be happy in your work if you’re doing things that make you excited,” Ferro says. “Just let yourself get excited and passionate about the things that you do, even if you aren’t where you want to be just yet.”
Maybe that means you personally take the reins and initiate opportunities to do work that you care about more at your company. But it could also mean that you have the ability to find something that you love that’s already part of your job.
And writer Chuck Palahniuk seems to agree. He explains that it’s best to “find joy in everything you choose to do. Every job, relationship, home… it’s your responsibility to love it, or change it.”
And while fast changes in the work you’re passionate about may not always be possible, it’s true that you have some level of choice in most things you do. Might as well choose things you enjoy.
Find Opportunities to be Creative
If you’re a creative person, you could be desperately straining for any opportunity to have your dream creative job. Or any creative job at all.
While it’s true that working in an office might not be as exciting as being on a film set, it’s possible that you can still make the best of what you have. Anish Patel, the Founder of Tinto Amorio, has some thoughts on that.
“Even in the most boring jobs, I’ve found that you can be… creative. Pitch ideas on how to improve the way the company runs… to your boss. Offer to design some of the display tables. Look for those opportunities to be helpful in the ways that you most enjoy helping,” explains the drink founder.
It’s possible that there truly are opportunities to be creative in every job you have. And even if those chances for creativity aren’t as glamorous or exciting as you would like them to be, it doesn’t hurt to take advantage of the better parts of the job.
American Chef Ruth Reichl seems to agree when she says, “The secret to life is finding joy in ordinary things.” Sure, while not everything is as exciting as we would like them to be, some level of satisfaction can be found almost anywhere.
Try to Relate to Your Work
Have you ever worked on something that felt like it was part of the bigger picture? Maybe there was a time when you volunteered to serve underprivileged people, helped put together a ceremony that allowed you to connect to your family history, or got to participate in a subculture that made you feel closer to your friends.
The CEO of Lashkaraa, Sumeer Kaur, loves to find new things to relate to at work: “It’s important to relate to your work… in some way. I personally feel a cultural connection with mine, but you can also connect with your friendships, your values, anything.”
Focus on the Parts You’re Best At
Even in jobs that you don’t absolutely love, there’s probably a task or two that you’re particularly good at. Maybe you’re really thorough at sanitizing the tables or making sure that a customer gets what they need, whether you like doing it or not.
If you don’t like some parts of your work, it can still feel incredibly gratifying to get work done and know that you’ve done a good job. And according to Tom Mohr of CEOQuest, a man who is a business coach, author, and singer-songwriter, this is still incredibly true.
“Focus on the parts of your job that you know you’re great at. Feel proud of yourself. Letting yourself feel accomplished is a great confidence booster… a great joy booster,” he recalls. And he’s done this despite having other, more exciting passions waiting for him when he gets off the clock.
Treat it like a Learning Experience
The jobs we have now can be used as building blocks for our greater careers, meaning that we can try to make the best of every experience that we have. Trying to take away something positive from your work, or even just figuring out how to do something better the next time, can really make the workday go by faster.
According to Melissa Rhodes, the CEO of Psychics 1on1, this is definitely the truth of the situation. “Jobs are often going to be learning experiences,” says Rhodes. “Treat this job as training for the next one, like you’re getting ready to level up. And always connect with people. People can help you level up too.”
Treating everything like an opportunity to learn can be incredibly helpful. And Rhodes is correct: other people can be encouraging mentors and hard-working peers who want to climb to the top with you.
Remember: You’re Making People’s Lives Better
It can also be as simple as thinking about the people you’re serving. Even if you’re a cashier at a grocery store, you’re an important part of making sure that others are able to take home food so they can put dinner on the table.
The Co-Founder of Tumble, Justin Soleimani, loves to live by this principle. “Sometimes it comes down to the fact that I’m making other people’s lives easier by doing my work,” Soleimani explains, “Whether you work at the grocery store or a doctor’s office, you’re helping someone else out, you know?”
Find Good People
It’s not difficult to believe that the best parts of many jobs are the people we work with. Truly, coworkers can make or break a workplace experience.
But Dawn Kendall, the Co-Founder of 8 Sheep Organics, knows that there are always good folks in every company. You just have to find them. “Even if the job you have is the worst, you can almost always find good people. If you leave a bad job, always keep the great people.”
And Kendall is right. People can be helpful in all walks of life, whether they’re in our lives to create beautiful life-long friendships or they’ve chosen to stick around to be referrals on our next job applications.
Get Excited about the Future
One of the most difficult parts of a job can be the fear that you’ll be stuck there, whether for the rest of your life or just a little while longer than you want to be there. But it seems like looking toward the bigger picture can be the key to giving us the longevity to survive until it’s time for another life change.
Lauren Kleinman, Co-Founder of The Quality Edit, says “I try my best to be future-oriented, whether that be with personal growth or sustainability efforts. Even if I’m in a bad situation, I try to tell myself that… I’ll be more prepared and experienced for next time.”
It’s obvious how thinking this way can get you through to your next opportunity, even if you don’t want to stay where you are for eternity. There’s always the possibility of getting to do something better suited for you in the future.