To many, the concept of loving one’s work is nearly inconceivable. Plenty of people tolerate their jobs, and some may even enjoy their work to some degree, but an overwhelming number of modern workers dislike or detest their current careers.
Grinding oneself into hated job has become a veritable epidemic, especially since the 2008 financial crisis sent most people into an employment panic: A recent Gallup poll indicated that more than 70 percent of Americans have negative emotions (ranging from abhorrence to disengagement) about their current working positions.
However, hating one’s job is perhaps the most detrimental choice an individual — and a society — can make. Increased stress from an unhappy work life can lead to all sorts of health disasters, from uncontrollable weight gain to deadly cancers and heart disease, and a miserable workforce slows the economy, which has devastating ramifications around the country.
In the interest of preserving mental, physical, and community health, you should try loving what you do using the following tactics — or else find a way to do what you love and make money.
Here are some tips to help you feel better about your job.
1. Know Who You Are
No matter how many times you hear “you are what you do,” you must remember that statement is patently false. You may choose to spend your days at a workplace you resent, but that doesn’t mean your work defines you. People are complex and multi-dimensional, and no single aspect of your life determines the kind of person you are.
In order to slog through a job you dislike — and turn it into an agreeable position — you must have a firm grasp of who you are.
2. Ask for the Benefits You Want
Though salary and benefits don’t always turn a deplorable position into an enjoyable one, they certainly help. It is much easier to endure through a workday when you know you wouldn’t be able to find a better package anywhere else. Unfortunately, even if you are a star employee, your superiors are unlikely to offer up the benefits that will make you stay.
You should let your managers know what kind of extras you want without seeming disgruntled or threatening to leave.
3. Find Significance in Your Position
Still, the number-one most demanded job feature for modern workers isn’t higher salary or flex time; it’s job satisfaction, and that isn’t something your supervisor can provide. You must consider for yourself how your job is meaningful — and that isn’t an easy task.
Of course, fulfillment means different things to different people. Perhaps you need a job that allows you to use your creative skills to their fullest potential. In that case, you should strive to research, analyze, and report as frequently as your position currently permits. As long as your extra effort makes your managers look good, they will thank you abundantly for it, and you will start to appreciate your job.
4. Make Friends
Humans are social creatures, and any job endured in isolation is bound to become intolerable. No matter how strange your co-workers may seem, you should align yourself with one or two of them, at least during working hours.
You may just make friendships that will last a lifetime.
5. Develop a Better Work Routine
It is entirely possible that you dislike your job because you are burnt out. Overachievers and perfectionists strive to do well even in positions they hate, and eventually this leads to exhaustion (and sometimes depression). You must set limits at your job to maintain sanity and a healthy outlook.
For example, you should take as many breaks as your employer allows. On your breaks, you should avoid thinking about work; instead, relax with a soothing (work-appropriate) beverage, read a book or talk with friends.
6. Do More on the Weekends
Unlike the workweek, the weekends are a time of freedom, and you must take full advantage of your precious free time. Though you may be emotionally and mentally drained after working a job you abhor, you must strive to get up and out.
When you are away from work, you have the opportunity to participate in the activities you most love; you can volunteer, hike, shop, or whatever makes your soul sing. Though your work doesn’t define you, what you elect to do during your free time might, so you should make the most of weekends.