The definition of work is: activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result. Synonyms: labor, toil, slog, drudgery, exertion, effort, industry, service and so on. Clearly, if jobs were supposed to feel like a party or a vacation, they wouldn’t be called work in the first place. Now, that doesn’t mean that we cannot enjoy what we do for work. Further, it would be even better if we could achieve a sense of gratification from the work that we do, especially considering the fact that we spend the majority of our lifetime working. The following are a few simple ways to foster a more satisfying experience at your job, and hopefully will help to eliminate toil, slog and drudgery from your description of what you do.
Mentorship. Find or become a mentor. Either way, effective mentorship is equal parts learning and teaching. Mentorships are relationships and relationships at work are important. Networking with colleagues both in and connected to your organization can greatly enhance your effectiveness by providing you access to valuable guidance, knowledge and expertise. Not to mention, a strong network could ultimately lead you to better job opportunities, inside or outside your current company. If you are mentor-material, and possess experience and a wealth of knowledge, sharing it with someone who can benefit from it is also rewarding.
Friendship. Trust and mutual respect, the foundation of friendships outside of work, are just as important at work. This can be tricky in a supervisory/subordinate situation, but, by friendship, I refer to getting to know your coworkers and building genuine bonds to create a positive, caring atmosphere. Warm, authentic and gregarious attitudes at work don’t have to become complicated. Showing genuine interest in your coworkers can lead to more positive experiences at work.
Passion. Think outside the box. Forget your job description. For a minute. Think about your interests and what you are passionate about. Is it possible to incorporate any of these into your current workplace? For example, if you work in finance, but love career development, ask your boss if you can create an after-work expert speaker series. Or, perhaps you work in human resources, but love sports. You could organize a workplace softball team or league. If you love party planning, volunteer to be the point person to organize your work luncheons and other workplace events. It is possible to incorporate things that you personally love to do into your daily work activities without compromising your productivity. You just need to be creative in your approach.
Extracurricular activities. It just may not be possible to incorporate your personal interests into your professional world. If this is the case, try to find external opportunities. Even if you don’t have a lot of spare time, volunteerism could be the answer to fulfilling your void. Organizations are happy with any amount of time you can spare, so join a group in an area that interests you and give as much or as little time as you can spare. This can satisfy your personal-passion-needs and improve your overall wellbeing. If you are happy outside of work, you are more likely to be happy at work.
Make the most it. Even if you are looking for another position and just biding your time with your current employer, remember the power of a good reference or recommendation. If you are a happy, committed and driven employee, your chances of a great reference will improve exponentially, and it may just land you the job you have been waiting for.