How many times today have you heard someone complaining about their job? How many times today have YOU complained about your job? I think we’ve all been there. And now with all of these self help books and seminars shouting “Find and follow your passion”, “Live your purpose”, “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” what are we supposed to do? Have you tried finding your life’s purpose? It’s not like it’s just hiding under the sofa cushion. Are you a “new economy” failure because you’re in a career that doesn’t ignite you? Worse, are you a life failure?? My answer is, fuck no you’re not! I call bullshit!
I’ve been to a lot of these seminars. A LOT of them. They are well intentioned and are meant to kick you in the ass and create a life you are proud to live and look back on instead of sitting helpless and hopelessly on the sidelines. However there are many ways to find what makes your life amazing and it’s not just defined by what you do to pay the rent.
I’m lucky. I’ve found bliss in my job. It’s not my life’s mission. It’s not saving the whales let alone the world. It’s not even about what I do. I’ve been able to find peace and love in my career because I’ve worked on the 10 things I list below. Perhaps for the first time my 10’s list is actually only 10 things! Success!
1. Find passion – “Damnit Jason, you’re thinking you just said that was bullshit!” That’s what you’re thinking right? Well I’m not saying that your work has to be your passion. Let me summarize something I learned from Darren Hardy:
Yes you can find passion in what you do. That’s great but it doesn’t happen for all of us. But… and it’s a big but… Sir Mix-a-lot big… could you find passion in: The way (how) you do your job? Who you do your job for (customers/clients)? What about where you do your job? What about what your job allows for? What about who you work with? All it takes is just being passionate about one of those things. I found my professional passion in WHO is serve and HOW I get to do it. Not necessarily in WHAT I do.
2. Define metrics and measure yourself – When I worked at Cisco Systems, my boss Howard Morgan introduced me to the works of Patrick Lencioni. GREAT business author. Highly highly highly recommend. One of his books is titled “The 3 Signs of a Miserable Job”. Imagine walking around with that book at the office… it raised some questions for sure. The book however is meant for managers to look at ways to provide a satisfying work environment for their employees. One of those things is clearly defined and measurable metrics. We are creatures of goal setting. Find a metric, set a goal, measure your progress, celebrate your success, repeat. It works!
3. Understand the vision – There’s a lot that can be said for understanding the long term vision of your company. There’s power in being able to understand how you fit into that vision and matching it with your vision to make something better. If you’re working at a successful business the CEO definitely has a vision. Do you know what it is?
4. What is your job doing for you? – It’s ok to be selfish. Have you identified what your job is doing for you and expressed daily gratitude for it? It’s a real game changer. You can’t be resentful and grateful at the same time. What is your job doing for you? Here is a starter set to be thankful for: income to pay your bills, insurance for your family, a space to build friendships, an opportunity to serve others. There’s a lot of satisfaction in contribution.
5. Find something you can be grateful for – Kind of like number 4 but what about the other corporate programs. Does your company sponsor a charity? Do they sponsor your kids little league shirts? Is your boss just mentoring you in a way that will matter later in life. There is always something your could be grateful for. Sometimes you just have to look harder.
6. Treat coworkers as friends – All of this don’t mix business and pleasure talk is offensive. All things being equal people will do business with their friends. All things not being equal people will still do business with their friends. I don’t remember where I first heard that but it strikes a nerve. One common thing amongst us all is that we crave connection at some level. You’re likely going to spend 1/3 of your life at work. Why dismiss connection during that 1/3? Besides it will give you another reason to want to go to work instead of dreading it.
7. Voice your ideas/create projects – Brendon Burchard once said “People support what they help create” What have you done to create a job your more connected with? For me, for a long time the answer was nothing. I had ideas, figured that no one wanted to hear them kept quiet. HUGE mistake. As James Altucher explains in his books this is the idea economy. Businesses are struggling for fresh ideas. Want to be in charge of a fun project at work? Create one and pitch it to your boss. Pitch it to anyone that will listen. No traction? No worries, do it again and again and again.
8. Behave like you own the company – Simply put vest yourself into your company. Carry on like it’s the sole source of putting bread on the table for your family for the next 10 years. Trust me, the right people will take notice and new opportunities will open up for you. Or don’t trust me but do it anyways.
9. Be a linchpin. Over deliver – Seth Godin wrote a great book called “Linchpin”. Basically become the go to person in your division. Everyone has a need for significance. How would it feel if you were the person that could be counted on when the chips were down. My guess is the company is going to have a vested interest in keeping you happy so you’ll stick around.
10. Stop talking shit! – Seriously let’s leave gossip and trash talk back in grade school. It has no place in the workplace. It’s always going to get back to the other person. Always. Dr Phil said in one of his books that you should conduct yourself like anything you did or said would be broadcast on the nightly news. Would you want to be the person out there talking trash? Really?
This list isn’t all inclusive. I’m sure that I’ve left a lot of successful strategies out of here. Maybe one day I’ll write 10 more ideas to love a job you don’t. What do you do to enjoy your job? Would love to hear from you! @JasonStuber