Most people just don’t like their jobs. You may think you’re in the minority, but some studies even go so far as to suggest that a measly 13% of people worldwide actually enjoy going to work.
The trouble with most jobs is that we tend to look at them as instrumental. Like necessary evils. A means to a paycheck, food, clothes, eventual vacations and…retirement? Someday?
If you’re not lucky enough to love what you do, there are still ways of deriving meaning from what it is you’re doing in a way that can help you at least love your life. Here are three things you can get from most any job and fend off the negative vibes:
1. How well you do it
It’s always possible to excel. Even when you don’t particularly feel like doing something, it is always possible to do that thing well—extremely well. Push yourself to see just how far you can go. Striving for personal excellence can be its own reward, regardless of the task. Even if you don’t love your job, it is possible to take great pride in how well you do it. Your colleagues and supervisors will notice this and you’ll be surprised at how easily you’ll command respect for displaying this kind of integrity.
2. How much you make
It’s all well and good to talk about meaning and value and excellence and loving what we do, but for some of us, money is the motivating factor. And that’s okay! Turn your dull job into a game. See how quickly you can work your way up the ladder if you put your mind to it. How many bonuses or commissions can you rack up? How quickly can you boost your bank account and your salary demands? You might not be curing cancer, but you might be able to put a kid through college with this kind of dedication. No one else needs to know your motivation for doing such good work—as long as it’s getting done.
3. How many people you help
It doesn’t matter how small your job is, or how insignificant you feel. Maybe you’re not a CEO, but you can still make the world—and the workplace—a better place. Try to do your job well and help others do the same. Mentor a well-meaning newbie or recommend a colleague for a high-profile project or promotion. Spreading the love around will make life better for more people than just you, but it can also benefit you. Kindness has a way of multiplying.
These may seem like strange and radical suggestions, but any one of them can change your relationship to your job, and your day-to-day life, for the better.