how to love your job

assembly_line_workers

Don’t hate your job. You spend far too much time there to hate it.

One of the major reasons people seek me out for therapy is due to their job related stress. They hate their jobs, they don’t feel appreciated, they haven’t had a raise in three years, their co-workers don’t like them, they are bored.

The first thing I need to do with clients is help them determine where it is they are unhappy at work with.

I ask the client to rate their satisfaction level with work in four different categories, using a standard grading scale from A+ down to F-, and I ask them to keep their answers focused to today, right now, not how the job could be or how it used to be.

“The first category is Achievement,” I tell them. “A good grade in this category means that you have a manageable work load. You feel challenged, but not often overwhelmed. You are being stimulated without being bored. And you go home at the end of the day having enjoyed what you do, feeling like you are making a contribution.

“The second category is Work Environment. A good grade here means you enjoy your coworkers, have a good relationship with your boss, and that you do well with the politics of the place. This also includes the space you work in, the facility and office, the lighting and location.

“The third category is Sustainability. A good grade here means this is something you can see yourself doing long-term. You recognize that you are growing and changing over time, and your needs at work will do the same. You can grow and adapt within the position, and feel like you are contributing.

“And the final category is Compensation. A good grade here means that you receive a fair and competitive compensation, given your education level and skill level within your position and company; you are making a fair wage given what others in the field are making, and given your responsibilities. In addition, you have a fair benefits package.

“Now in accordance with all of this, of course, is balance with life and relationships, but we are focusing specifically on the job itself. I know attorneys who make an awesome wage, but they work 80 hours per week and burn out quickly. I know people who have created their own catering businesses and love what they do, but they are struggling financially and get bored working at home. I know people who love their job at the fast food counter and do great at it and love their coworkers, but they aren’t paid fairly and have no benefits.

“So look at your job and think about what is missing. If you have an A for compensation, but an F for work environment, that probably isn’t a sustainable job. If you have an A in everything but sustainability, and you know this job is temnporary, you have to find a way to make it work, to grow where you are and plan for what’s next.”

So as you look at your current job, what are your ratings? What is it you are happy with, and what is it you need to look at and problem-solve to get the higher satisfaction ratings you crave? Sometimes that means bold changes, or difficult conversations, or more patience, or further schooling and training.

I know people who stay in the same jobs that they hate for, literally, years or decades.

Don’t hate your job. You spend far too much time there to hate it.

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