We’re all too familiar with that foul, four-letter-word we try not to say and flinch when we hear: work.
According to Google, the definition of work is the mental or physical activity as a means of earning income; but what does work mean to you?
As children, my sisters and I would play ‘work’. We played pretend cashiers, hair stylists, even policeman and bankers. As a little girl I was ecstatic to become a big person so I could venture out and work– earning my own quarters so I wouldn’t have to beg for rolos at the vending machine anymore; it’s humiliating, even for a five year old, ok?
Nonetheless, work is portrayed as a joyous, liberating sense of freedom to the young. Be whatever you want—the world is yours for the taking. Is this image an accurate depiction?
Apparently not, as NY Daily News revealed 70% of Americans hate their jobs. In this study, researchers found neither perks nor incentives could change the negative attitude employees had. Wowzers.
What do you think of that statistic? If you’re anything like the majority, you probably feel work is a malicious creature that reels you in and uses you in a game of keep away from your loved ones and social life.
I hate to see that statistic. We spend well over 50% of our [conscious] time at work. As a single mother, employee and student, I value my time more than any amount of dough in the world. I can’t imagine spending my time at a place I absolutely despise.
I know what you’re thinking: Alright Salina, when I quit my job after reading your blog, do I link my rent withdrawals to your checking account? Negative. If I could afford to pay everyone’s bills, you wouldn’t know because I’d be in Costa Rica getting a hot stone massage (lucky for you, I’m writing this blog instead).
I can’t pay your bills. I can, however, share my counsel on what to do when you hate your job. I’ve worked in retail, restaurants, outdoors, even wrote for a local newspaper. I didn’t exactly love my past jobs (hence the term past), so upon reading the NY Daily article, I felt moved to share my successes on how to clock out with your sanity with three simple steps.
Love your job Step one-
Learn to cherish your time.
Every day is an opportunity to grow and take a step toward improvement. To live life favorably, I’ve learned you must honestly love every day.
We must learn to love life through all the trials, big and small—because there are no do-overs, pause buttons or take-backs. You’ve got to learn to say so what, keep smiling and move forward. Negativity steals from our gratitude, so once you begin to truly value your time, you’ll fight off negativity more often allowing room for more of those warm, fuzzy feelings.
This includes loving the:
- demanding, frantic days
- days our precious fur babies poo all over our apartment
- days we snooze our alarm for five minutes yet wake up an hour later and have an immediate mini-stroke
- days we have disagreements with a close friend or relative
So, to summarize, step one is to realize your time is precious and your sincere smile increases its value.
Love your job Step two-
Evaluate the reasons you hate your job.
Are your hours too long, or too short? Are your co-workers shifting majority of work onto you?
These are all things we can change if necessary. Talk to your supervisor today and request more work you enjoy doing and less work you find difficult. Communicate with your boss. If you hate or struggle with certain duties, ask to do less while offering to pick up work elsewhere. If you express your lack of eagerness for a certain department in an effective way, chances are your boss will hear you out. Everything takes time, so be patient with this step.
Are you finding yourself uninterested? As human beings, we are motivated by our own mastery of trials; we strive for purpose. You may hate your job solely because you’re bored.
Step two is imperative–without knowing the cause, we cannot alter the effect. Most things we can change with action and professionalism; build some courage to make the changes you need.
Love your job Step three-
Spice things up.
Here are a few personal tricks I still use to help get through the whole ‘M-F’ thing with ease:
- Stop dreading Mondays. When you dread Monday, you steal from your Sunday, and no one likes a Sunday stealer. Every Monday, wake up twenty minutes early (it’s possible, I promise) to stop by your favorite coffee shop, enjoy a latte and read your favorite paper or scroll through your twitter. Only on Mondays. It will become a habit after a few weeks. A beautiful, venti white-chocolate-mocha habit.
- Love your co-workers. Get together outside of work and become friends. We each have our own strengths-this is a great opportunity to build on them. In most cases you spend more time with your co-workers than your own family. Getting paid to be in great company will help time on the clock pass quicker. Who doesn’t want to work with their bestie?
- Challenge yourself. Remember, we strive for mastery and purpose. Work for the job you want, not the job you have. Go above and beyond; recognition will come later, but the self-satisfaction will feel great. If you stop at the end of your to-do list, you’ll rejoin the frightful circle of boredom.
- Stop looking forward to Fridays. Make every day your Friday. Have a thirsty Thursday night with your co-workers to have a little fun and loosen up. Upload your pictures and use the hashtag TGIT to get others on board, too. Remember to stay professional, don’t be that guy who calls in after thirsty Thursday-we know darn well you don’t have a cold. If you can’t head out after hours, enjoy a taco Tuesday (my personal favorite). Take turns in the office bringing tacos in for everyone. Anything special in the middle of the week to look forward to.
- Stay organized. This will help ease any stress or anxiety caused from a heavy work load. Have you ever felt like you had a zillion things to do until someone asks what you are working on, and you suddenly realize it’s two things? Write down your daily tasks and prioritize; this way if you’re unable to complete the entire list, you’ve at least knocked out the most important (like tacos in the morning—obviously number one on my task list).
- If you’re able, show up to work a little early. Give yourself five or ten minutes to enjoy your coffee and reflect on the day ahead. We’ve all had that bad day that started when another human approached us before having our coffee. Being prepared will help spin any negatives into positives with ease.
- Educate yourself. Take one online course per semester to further your education in your job field. Most employers will compensate your time and funds if the course relates to your field (Camden has an amazing tuition assistance program for those qualifying!). This will help your level of understanding and will certainly open doors for promotion down the road. Knowledge is power.
If you hate your job for reasons you can’t change, i.e., you groom cats and you have a cat allergy, I reveal my grandest tip:
FIND A NEW JOB.
Make a change. Change is GOOD. Stress and anger are BAD. Yes, this will cause a little disruption in your life, but all for the better. When you are able to perform tasks you love, the pay is another reward, not a rip-off.
I mean this as humbly as possible, I absolutely love my job. As a Camden employee I get to sit down with my co-workers and create my schedule, I receive assistance with my tuition, free courses to build knowledge in my job field, a discount on rent in my luxury apartment; I am constantly rewarded and recognized, I have amazing co-workers with the same goals as myself, I get to give back to my community through Camden Care volunteer work, blog on company time, have fun and provide excellence through our brand promise. I absolutely love what I do.
My job helps me become a better person every day, so this not so much a sacrifice, but more of a reward. I am fortunate to work for a Fortune 100 company (see what I did there). It wasn’t easy getting into Camden, but my hard work eventually paid off (remember, challenge yourself).
As an employee in any field, I’m telling you from the very bottom of my heart, you deserve to be happy. You deserve an employer who appreciates your dedication; after all– YOU are the company’s means to success.
Don’t be part of the 70%; you deserve more–
you deserve to love your job.
Check Camden’s hiring listings in your area here.
I was able to locate a few members of the happy 30% club. Check out these contagious smiles for some inspiration!