Finding a Job You Love (or Loving the Job You Have)
When I was in the corporate world, I often had projects I thrived in, coworkers I cherished, bosses I admired, and lots to be learned. But I never had a job I could wholeheartedly say I loved. There was always something—the blaming culture, the clueless management, the interdepartmental warfare—that prevented the job from being a perfect 10.
In recent weeks, I’ve heard five people say they love their jobs. One person is a web developer, one’s a nurse, one’s a business analyst, one’s an informatics specialist, and one’s an urban planner. OK, the business analyst didn’t explicitly say that she loved her job, but she’s been at the same company in numerous roles for more than thirty years, and she’s always upbeat about her work. Given the often-mentioned stress in the workplace, it’s nice to know that at least some people are happy in their jobs.
Maybe, though, it’s not so important to love your job. As long as you don’t totally hate it —which can zap your energy, motivation, and health—the key may be to do the job to the best of your ability so at least you can feel good about yourself. In the process, you’d be setting the stage for eventually finding a better job.
It’s also possible that you can find ways to love your job, or at least tolerate it, even if you’re not crazy about it. For example, you can identify the things you do like about your job, such as your teammates’ wacky sense of humor, and be grateful for those things. Or you can identify one thing you can do differently that will give you satisfaction you can’t get from other aspects of your job. In the process, you’ll learn some new skills that can serve as stepping stones to a new job.
If you’re already in a job you relish, it’s useful to reflect on what makes it such a good job. By becoming mindful of what energizes you in this job, you’ll know what to look for in the event you someday have to seek another. And if you’re miserable in your work, do the same thing: identify what’s upsetting about the job so you can strive to avoid those things the next time around.