What should you do if the job you thought you'd enjoy is turning into something other than you expected? Perhaps your job felt like love at first sight but slowly turned into a struggle, or maybe you accepted it because you needed work but knew the situation wasn’t ideal.
Either way, it’s possible to revive your relationship with your job. If you’re reading this now, you’ve already taken the first step!
Even the best job won’t seem so great if your attitude is bad, so the fact that you’re seeking ways to improve your outlook means you’re already on the right track.
10 Ways to Learn to Love Your Job
There are things you can try to help change your perspective. At best, your job may turn into what you expected it to be. At the least, you'll know that you tried and you can plan on conducting a job search and moving on.
Here are ten simple ways to learn to love your job, even if you don't like it very much at the moment.
1. Work With Your Supervisor to Set Goals
Work can feel like a real bore if you don’t feel like you have something to strive for. Work with your supervisor to set reasonable but inspiring goals that will motivate you and help provide structure and focus for each day. Achieving these goals can also help create leverage for you to negotiate a promotion or a salary increase, or provide leeway to switch teams, departments, or roles down the road.
2. Make a List of Things You Want to Improve
Make a list of what aspects of your current job you’d like to improve, because you can’t begin to solve a problem until you’ve defined it.
Take some time to clear your head and step away from any biases or negativity. Then, set a timer for ten minutes, and jot down everything you don’t love about your job. Be as specific as possible. Whereas “distracting atmosphere” or “rude coworkers” are both too vague to troubleshoot, breaking these down into “desk near the elevator makes it hard to focus” or “Seth in Marketing always shuts down my ideas in meetings” can help clarify your next steps. For example, you might talk to your supervisor about potentially moving your desk space or getting approval to work from home one day per week, and maybe you can find a “meeting buddy” who can help make space for you to express your ideas.
3. Figure out What You Really Love to Do
First, think hard about your job and what parts of it you love. Nothing is too big or small for this list. Then, brainstorm a dream job description. If you could wave a magic wand and have any job, what would it be? Finally, look for the overlaps. Consider talking to your supervisor about making these tasks a bigger part of your day-to-day work. If there are no overlaps, you can look into opportunities for transfer within your company. Or, if your “dream job description” entails responsibilities you aren’t yet qualified for, it’s time to make a plan of action to figure out how you might get there.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Support
If you feel overwhelmed, swamped with work, or are struggling with a particular aspect of your job, don’t be afraid to consult a trusted co-worker or manager about ways you might be able to find support. See if they can help you figure out ways to delegate work, schedule tasks so your workload is more balanced, or even point you to resources (like training or education) that will make those nightmarish tasks more manageable.
5. Expand Your Network
Although it may seem like the challenges you face in your specific role or industry are unique to you, it’s very likely that others are going through the exact same thing. Make connections in your field by attending industry meet-ups, events, or conferences. This can help build a support system that you can consult or simply commiserate with when times get tough. Note that expanding your network doesn’t necessarily have to apply to people outside your company. You can benefit greatly by building relationships with colleagues in your organization.
6. Make Use of Your Benefits
So maybe you don’t love your job, but there are probably perks that are easy to love! For example, maybe your health insurance covers self-care practices like massage or acupuncture, or you have a technical budget to treat yourself to a new monitor, or your company offers complimentary gym memberships for its employees. There might even be benefits that you aren’t aware of, so do your due diligence to find out what’s on offer and then make it a priority to make use of them.
7. Stay Present
It’s impossible to love your job if you’re mindlessly browsing Facebook, CNN, or Amazon all day. Try to stay present and concentrate on the task at hand. If you simply don’t have a lot to do, consider finding a side project to work on. Completing extra projects shows initiative, and will make a positive impression on your supervisor. If you do have a lot to do but just can’t concentrate, set increments of focused time and then reward yourself with mini-breaks as you get stuff done.
8. Create a High-Vibe Workspace
Give your workspace a make-over: get rid of clutter, hang an inspiring quote or some photos of places or people you love, buy a new pen or planner that makes you smile, bring in a pair of headphones so you can listen to your favorite soundtrack, or light an uplifting candle. By creating positive associations with your workspace, you’ll feel better about coming into work every day.
9. Make a ‘Gratitude List’ for Your Job
Write down all the little and big things you’re grateful for, from the coffee shop you stop at on your way into the office to the fact that your job helps you support your family. Studies have shown that listing everything you’re grateful for can help you feel more optimistic about your current circumstances.
10. Remind Yourself Why You Took the Job in the First Place
Think back to the initial job offer and why you accepted it. Perhaps you’re making good money, or you’re working for a good cause, or your schedule is flexible, or the benefits are great. Even if things have changed since then, keeping in mind why you accepted the job offer (and what’s important to you now) can help you navigate your next steps, whether that’s taking action to improve your job or preparing a plan to find a new one.