Do you love your job?

love-my-job

How often do you hear someone say, “I love my job?”

Our coaches, say this is rare.

Conversations at work are more likely to be along the lines of, “Thank God it’s Friday” or “When my lottery numbers come up I’m out of here”.

Confucius said, “Man who loves what he does, never does a day’s work in his life”.

Is it possible to love your Job? Do you know someone who does?

People who love their jobs rather than just turning up for the pay check, are engaged by it and gain meaning from it.

Research by the Gallup Organisation has identified that employees need the following to feel engaged by their work:

  • Role clarity: Employees know what is expected of them at work.
  • Talent utilisation: Workers have opportunities to use their talents in their roles every day.
  • Recognition: Employees receive recognition regularly and feel cared for.
  • Communication: Workers receive ongoing feedback on their performance and have regularly scheduled progress discussions.
  • Bonding: Employees have strong bonds with their coworkers.
  • Development: Employees have opportunities to learn and grow.

You might consider these factors to be the responsibility of your manager or your organisation to provide. It is true that organisations that value their employees and managers who understand people leadership will have these factors in mind; however you do have a self leadership responsibility for your own engagement.

Psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi studied thousands of people and discovered that we bounce between two extremes: during much of the day we live filled with the anxiety and pressures of our work and obligations, while during our leisure moments, we tend to live in passive boredom. The key to happiness is therefore to challenge ourselves with tasks requiring a high degree of skill and commitment and to become fully engaged in these activities.

When we are fully engaged in an activity we enter into a state of ‘flow’, a state where time goes away and the task seems effortless. We tend to experience such ‘flow’ moments when playing a sport or engaged in a hobby. Imagine skiing down a mountain with all of your attention focused on making the turns, you are unlikely at this moment to be worrying about trivial issues. Another aspect of a flow moment is that feedback is immediate; the mountain climber knows he or she is one step closer to the goal.

So how do you create more flow moments in your job?

  1. Constantly find challenges that will stretch your skill level, especially if it requires learning something new.
  2. Set goals and request feedback that lets you know how you are doing in the short rather than long-term.
  3. Find meaning in what you do

Meaning
A craftsman knows why he does what he does. The industrial revolution, with its soulless assembly lines, robbed many workers with the sense of meaning for what they do. Victor Frankl, who survived a Nazi concentration camp, suggested that we can stand any what” if we have a big enough “why”. Find the meaning in what you do; what does your work mean to you? To others? To the world?

For example a teacher might find meaning in that they get to share what they have learned and the more they teach the more they know about the subject. Their teaching impacts a generation of students and those students will change the world, even if only a little bit at a time.

To find meaning at work, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What does this work mean to me?
  2. What does it mean to my clients, customers?
  3. What does this work mean in the context of my life?
  4. How can I give this work more meaning?

When we combine meaning with our actions we become self-actualised, our life has purpose and passion and we can truly love our work.

Often when we think of someone who loves their job we think that they are engaged in a vocation rather than work (think doctors and nurses).

Aristotle said, “Where talents and the needs of the world cross, therein lies your vocation.” Today we might use the word passion rather than vocation.

The needs of the world are not just for excellent health care, but also for excellent customer service, sales people, accountants, technicians, builders etc. etc. etc.

Sometimes we think we will be happiest sitting on a beach doing nothing (passive boredom), but in truth we are happiest when we are doing something useful.

So do you love your job? Feel free to comment.

:) Andrew

Comments

  1. Yeap, I do.

    It’s the new challenges that keep me motivated I guess. When challenges stop coming in goals might be helpful, yet feedback doesn’t do much good to me usually no matter if they are good or bad feedback..

  2. Verrill says:

    I love my job, an opportunity for self-growth and yet at the same time bringing joy to others. Leaving an entry behind because just this morning i was thinking about the word Flow. Beautiful word. Thank You.

  3. Thanks for the great post. Good advice! Work day to day can be extremely difficult. Is the answer to enjoy what you do or do what you enjoy? It’s tough. Thanks for you insight though.

    I stumbled upon this blog like I did yours. Though their insight on work was very meaningful: http://burisonthecouch.wordpress.com/2009/12/31/our-house/

    Thanks for the post! I’d love to see more like it.

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