It’s Valentine’s weekend, and whether you’re in a romantic relationship or not, love is in the air. It’s possible that one of your most important relationships is being neglected – the one between your job and you!
Consider this: You spend at least 24% of your life at work. For most people it is likely more. That’s a full quarter of your time that is accounted for in the office. Dedicating such a large chunk of time to something you don’t enjoy seems crazy. Work will always be work, but like any relationship, there are ways to maximize the partnership between you and your job so that everyone is happy. Here are a few tips:
- Make sure you’re a good fit. Again, work will always be work. It is unrealistic to assume that every day you’ll wake up anxious to go to the office and change the world. That said, a job that is above or below your skill level, or in an industry that doesn’t interest you will likely be frustrating. Before taking a job, evaluate the mission of the company, the atmosphere of the office, and the day-to-day tasks to determine if it’s a good fit for your talents and interests. Talk with some of the employees to get a feel for the environment, ask questions about benefits, and picture yourself walking into the office every weekday from now on. If your current job isn’t meeting your needs, consider breaking up and moving on.
- Work on friendship. There are some people that truly prefer to work alone at all times, but most of us would rather have at least a few friends in the office. If you’re miserable at work, consider your relationships with coworkers. Do you have someone to talk to? What do you do on breaks? Is there a team that you feel like you work well with? If not, try reaching out to others and developing some friendships. You may even find someone in another department that compliments your talents and can help you learn new skills. All of this will lead to more satisfaction at work.
- Set goals. Whether you love your current job or not, goal setting is a great way to keep your spirits up. If you’re working in a less than ideal career, focus on learning new skills, networking, and looking for ways to contribute around the office that use the talents you most want to develop. Putting your best foot forward and expressing interest in other areas of the company could lead to new assignments that are more fulfilling to you. If you already love your job, don’t take it for granted. Think about why you love it and set goals to help your team members feel the same excitement you do. Or strive for a promotion. Both short and long-term goals will help you feel more connected to your current position, and excited about moving forward.
- Celebrate Success. Small or large, acknowledge the achievements in your career. When you land a big account, celebrate with your coworkers. If you’ve been with your company for five years, think about sending your boss a note of thanks. If you just got your own office, take a moment to enjoy it! Every accomplishment deserves to be reveled in, just a little. Enjoying these successes will help you push through the long hours and sometimes frustrating conference calls that brought you to this point, and hopefully will again.
- In any relationship, communication is the key to happiness. It’s no different on the job. If you’re unhappy at work, make a list of the things that are bothering you. Choose one that is fixable, and talk to your coworkers or supervisor about it. Maybe you need a raise, an opportunity to travel, or just a change of pace. While not all of your complaints will magically be cleared up overnight, talking to others about your professional goals is often the best way to make them a reality. Tackle your issues one at a time, and soon your job will be more fulfilling and may even take you in a surprising new direction.
Every relationship takes work. The one between you and your career is not stagnant. If you’re diligent and work on your professional relationships satisfying, you’re whole outlook will soon change.
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