Allison’s excellent post on being a good boss left me thinking about employees and their place in a company. Having a good boss is a great starting point, but if a business’ employees mope around feeling lost and miserable, the whole thing will fail. As an employee, it can be difficult to muster up enthusiasm for a job you’ve possibly ended up in out of desperation, exasperation or just plain necessity. Yet it is possible. How?
Bring your self to work
This may seem like an obvious thing to say, but note the space between the words ‘your’ and ‘self’. Many people arrive at work reluctant to be there, expecting to spend the day doing something they hate with no input on their part. This can easily become a self-fulfilling prophecy; if you never volunteer ideas, why should your boss think of asking you for them? Everyone has something they can bring to the office, and there is a surprising amount of crossover between hobbies and work, if you just allow room for it. Try to think of ways you can use your hobbies and interests to make your office a more stimulating place to work. Encouraging others to do the same can lead to an exciting and really quite enjoyable day, with far less time spent clock-watching and more time spent working. Satisfaction all round.
Do what you love
Easy to say and not so easy to do in the current climate; but if you really hate your job, work out why. If you’ve always hated maths and finances, how have you ended up as an accountant? What was your dream job when you were a child? Woud you still like to do it? Why aren’t you in that job now? Working out what you’d love to do and why are the first steps in finding a truly fulfilling career path. Interviewers like enthusiastic candidates, sometimes even more than they like experienced ones, and working out why you’d love to be a teacher, surveyor or translator will give you a good chance of succeeding in finding your dream position.
Love what you do
On the flip side of this is the fact that most of us don’t absolutely hate our jobs, even if we go through periods of wishing we didn’t have to work. Realistically though, what would you do if you weren’t working? Sit at home watching daytime TV and eating doughnuts? Surely even this would become boring after a while. So instead of wishing you weren’t heading to work in the morning, try to inject some spice into the inevitable. Work out which parts of your job you’d miss if you were to leave it tomorrow, and build on those. Also, it is surprisingly easy to trick your psyche. Chanting ‘I-love-my-job- I-love-my-job- I-love-my-job’ whilst waiting for connections during my three-and-a-half hour morning commute seems to make my mind think of reasons why this is the case. ‘Yes’, it starts protesting, ‘I do! Because it’s a fun place to work, I like what I’m doing, it’s interesting…’ and so on. Never forget that the power of suggestion can work on yourself as well as others.
Take a break
If you’re stuck in a rut and have no idea whether you like your job or not, let alone what to do about it, take a break for a few days. Don’t go to the Maldives; stay at home. Take a few days to sit down with a cup of tea in the environment you’ve created for yourself in your home, and work out why it is like it is. Why all the framed photographs? An interest in photography? Career option, perhaps? Why all the books? Have you always wanted to be a researcher or a librarian? Why all the detective novels? Why all the recipe clippings? And so it goes on. Taking a couple of days from your holiday allowance to work out who you are and how you’ve ended up in your position is possibly one of the most important steps in working out what to do next.
What about you? Do you love your job? Why? I’d love to hear your thoughts.