A Labour of Love

by: Doug Michaelides

Do you love your job?  Too many of us don’t have a positive answer to that question.  Or at best, our response is a tepid “Well, it’s a living . . .”  We spend an awful lot of our lives in the workplace.  What can we do to start enjoying the work we do?

Here’s a checklist of ideas, from the obvious to the audacious to inspire you to start doing work that you love:

Delegate the boring stuff:  surely you have staff members or colleagues who would relish the chance to accept the new responsibilities that you abhor?

Stop being a push over:  once you get a reputation for getting things done, you always seem to get the action items.  Just say no.  Start working on your agenda rather than someone else’s!

Get feedback:  there’s nothing like knowing that other people appreciate your work to make it all worthwhile.  Conversely, if nobody cares what you’re doing or how well you’re doing it then, why bother doing it at all?

Quality over quantity:  do a little less but do it in a way you’ll be proud of

Take vacations:  vacations give you something to anticipate and recharge your mental batteries.  They also put you back in control of your time.  When you return, you’ll bring more creativity and energy to your work.

Engage the world:  start meeting people in your profession and in your business community through networking events, conferences and social media.  It will help you put your work in context, fight feelings of isolation, stimulate your thinking and you’ll make new friends.

Define a new project:  The mundane is the enemy of joy.  Getting all your emails done may be a relief but it won’t bring you much happiness.  Ensure that part of your work involves striving for a specific goal with a clear deliverable.

Dedicate yourself to a mission:  how do you want to change your organization or the world?  Make sure it’s something you really believe in.  Then get started.  You don’t need permission.

Start saying what you think: no need to be disrespectful or negative but speaking truth, especially to power, removes workplace stress by aligning your actions to your thoughts.  Odds are, your colleagues will appreciate your honest opinion.  And you’ll certainly feel better about things.

Support a not-for-profit:  it means work in the evenings but such satisfying work!

Start a new business:  make sure it’s something you enjoy.  Start part-time, on the side.  It may never become your main source of income but it will likely be a huge source of satisfaction.

Start looking for other work:  here’s the litmus test – do you care about the work you’re currently doing?  If you no longer care about getting good results then it’s past time you started looking for other employment.  You’ve been told.   From this time forward, you have nobody to blame for your unhappiness but yourself.  Oh, and here’s a little secret:  the process of looking for a job often makes you feel better about the one you currently have.

The common themes throughout this labour of love checklist are:  i)  take control, ii) commit yourself and iii) do things you enjoy.  None of these dictums necessarily means abandoning your current job.  But I guarantee you’ll be happier if you start injecting these principles into your work life.  If it all sounds like a lot of effort, you’re absolutely right.  I never said that finding a labour of love wouldn’t be hard work!

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