Why It’s Important to Enjoy Your Job - and How to Like the One You Have, Better
Do you wake up every morning excited to get to work? Do you arrive at the office in a great mood—and no matter what happens, nothing can turn your smile upside down?
Or is your morning ritual comprised of hitting the snooze button five times, dragging yourself into the shower, chugging your coffee and hoping you can make it through the day without giving up?
For most of us, the reality lies somewhere between the two. Though there are a few lucky people who truly love their job, the majority of people view work simply as a way to make a living, while some are actually deeply unhappy in their job.
So why is it important to enjoy your job?
According to Kira M. Newman in her Greater Good article titled “Six Ways Happiness Is Good for Your Health,” happiness has a number of health benefits. It protects your heart, boosts your immune system, makes you more stress-resistant, wards off disease and lengthens your life. In contrast, unhappiness can cause stress, lower your immune system and have a range of psychological effects such as prolonged depression and anxiety.
Now, consider this: we spend an average of 8.9 hours a day working or doing work-related activities. If you’re unhappy in your job, just how quickly do you think your physical and psychological health will suffer? And how soon do you think this will affect other aspects of your life, such as your interactions with your loved ones and your enjoyment of your leisure time?
There’s also another reason it’s critical to enjoy your job: you’re far more likely to advance your career. Think about it: if you dislike your daily tasks, you’re probably not going to go the extra mile. But when you’re passionate about what you do, you’ll have more energy—and your upbeat attitude can even make it easier for you to hone your skills.
If you’re still looking for a full-time job, it’s relatively easy to factor enjoyment into the decision to accept a job or not. But if you’re a mid-career professional, you’re probably thinking, ‘This is all very interesting, but what am I supposed to do—quit my job?”
The answer to that question is, “Only as a last resort.” Here’s why: the truth is that not everyone is going to get a well-paid job where they can do what they’re good at, take on interesting projects, advance their career and collaborate with amazing people in a great work environment.
It’s entirely possible, however, to be passionate about one or two aspects of your job. For example, let’s say you’re a technical support specialist working in the contact centre of an established software company. Though you don’t like sitting in a cubicle for eight hours a day and you’re not crazy about the occasional late shifts, you really enjoy helping clients solve problems, the pay is good, and the company offers a number of interesting career paths.
The best way to get a job you like is to find your enjoyment in your current job… and then plan your next career step accordingly. Begin by listing the aspects of your job you do enjoy, and see if there’s a way to focus more on them. For example, if your co-workers are the best thing about your job, volunteer for team projects. Or if you’re in sales and you enjoy competition, make it your objective to become a top seller.
After you’ve pinpointed one or more things you enjoy, you’ll likely have more energy and start to feel happier and more confident. At that point, you can start looking for a career move that enhances those aspects of your profession that truly make you happy.