So you’ve qualified and the glittering world of work awaits you with a variety of options filled with excitement and challenge!
But slow down…there may be some discrepancy to work through. And that is: not every job is going to blow your socks off. Some jobs may prove dull and routine, downright boring, certainly lacking in the scintillation you had mapped out in your head beforehand.
Unfortunately, there are many people who find their work a chore, and tend to express this view to anyone who will listen; eventually you, your job, and your long whiney complaint become a perfect fit. It’s easy to see how negativity can become a vicious cycle. So how to make the job you dislike not just bearable, but satisfying and fulfilling? Whether your situation is short-term or longer term, it can be done.
The hidden values of ‘just a job’ are in your mind
Firstly, a job – any job – is giving you a salary. So you shouldn’t complain, right? Money is a good start. The harsh reality is that there are many jobs that may prove repetitive and boring – even if you find yourself riding high on the corporate ladder. The way to tackle your job so it doesn’t feel as though you’re merely working for the money, is to understand the importance of the work in the bigger picture – and how you can change your mindset to love your job, and build the potential to see it differently.
Some jobs are definitely stepping stones to better places, and can be endured because you have change planned up ahead. But there are also instances where people may find it really difficult to move to another job; if a job has just been landed after a long search, it means that giving it up in a hurry may not be feasible.
Whichever the circumstances that dictate your position, there is one golden rule: learn to love what you’ve got before moving on to better pastures. What does this do for you? It adds discipline, motivation, open-mindedness, tenacity and worthwhile experience – all of which will be enormously useful when applying for your next job.
The keys to happiness
The keys to making your workplace a better experience are not much different from the advice often given to people who are going through difficult times: you can choose how to manage your thoughts, perceptions and behaviour. You can manage your response. Changing your mindset, opinions and reactions can change you – and that is also the route you must take to see your job in a different light.
- Firstly, clean up your workspace. Filing and labeling may sound arduous but these tasks can really benefit your working time. A clean desk is helpful. Then add a pot plant if you can, a shelf with some books you particularly like, a desk lamp to improve lighting. Do your best to get a comfortable chair, hang an art picture you admire. If you are efficient and at ease in your space, your attitude to the work improves.
- Choose how to enrich your day by noting the best moments. Perhaps someone has shared a joke, perhaps a client on the line has an interesting question or project to hand. Choose the moments that you felt some success: good advice given; a satisfied customer; a task completed; a goal reached; an improvement in your skills. Every day is filled with rich moments which you can harvest to improve your mood if you look for them.
- Set and reach goals consistently and you will find that you build a track record of achievement, and a reputation for getting things done. This kind of reputation enhances your sense of self-worth, and this improves your attitude towards your work.
- Talk to your boss as often as you can, expressing your interest in the daily happenings, and even in the bigger journey of the company. You may find he or she has great information on the company that will help you to see the bigger picture, put your role in perspective, and enlighten you on prospects.
- When a job doesn’t hold quite the excitement you had anticipated, then channel you drive into something after-hours that you love. Sport, dancing, night school – all of this helps to improve your mood and motivation, and makes the daily chores lighter and pleasanter.
- Make an effort to dress well for work. You don’t have to be uncomfortable but paying attention to your appearance indicates you don’t care to be sloppy. Appearance does affect the way people see you, and if you’re working for that promotion, dressing with neatness and co-ordination is helpful. Taking care to dress well, helps you to feel good, and that will help you to take better care with your work. Both these are beneficial aspects that can affect how you enjoy your day.
- No matter the dull routine of any job, you are always learning something – how processes are managed, how people interact, how you can improve your own skills. If there are training courses on offer at your company, take as many as you can. Every step forward, every fact learned, is valuable. And feeling more valuable makes your job feel worthwhile. Very often there are better ways to do things. And thinking up ideas for improving a workflow or teamwork is always useful. Begin to look at your job with an innovative frame of mind. It can make your day and your job way more interesting.
- There are always aspects to any job that are deadly, and tasks which you dread coming around. But deal with that head on, and then make an effort to enjoy the more interesting challenges with a positive attitude. These may be the fun parts of the job – so make them fun, and make sure your colleagues see that you enjoy these tasks. Visible enthusiasm is infectious.
- Make real friends with your colleagues where you can. Stop and ask questions, find common ground but don’t use the time to complain about your job, the company or management. Make your friendships about shared interests and lift your spirits with planned out-of-office get-togethers. If you feel camaraderie with fellow colleagues, it makes your dull job much more enjoyable.
- If you have particular skills or talents, aim to master these while at work. Use what is natural to you to improve your engagement with your work. If you’re shy but have a good speaking voice, aim to work with this more effectively when making telephone calls. Work out your best attributes and match these with skills enrichment whenever you can. This alone can make your job way more interesting.
- Don’t forget to add a healthy dose of your own creativity; change the job in subtle ways that give you greater control, broader decision-making powers, and better delivery. Nothing is more satisfying than this.
- And lastly, the tried and tested advice of gratitude. There will be so many things in your job to be grateful for, don’t miss them: the fact that you have a job is number one, your opportunity to improve your skills is number two; the scope you have for planning, initiating, innovating, making friends, learning the ropes of interaction, gaining better business know-how – and ultimately, successfully, polishing that stepping stone to the next job.