So many people wake up to go to work, moaning and groaning that they have to spend another day at the office or doing whatever it is they do for a living. So many people just hate their jobs. They hate the people or their boss or the work that they have to do. Given how much time has to be spent at work, that means there’s a lot of misery in people’s lives…
For my job, I review research protocols to make sure that doctors are following ethical guidelines in their clinical trials. I read about side effects of experimental medications for diseases considered incurable by Western medicine. I may read about vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, rashes, hair loss, bleeding, infections, and death. If I were to let myself think about what would happen if I were diagnosed with one of those diseases, my life would be really depressing. And it’s not always easy to keep those thoughts out of my head. Study protocols aren’t exactly the most engaging read. There have been plenty of mornings when I have not wanted to go to work, dreading having to spend yet another day reading through studies with all of these negative side effects.
But I didn’t want to have a negative relationship with my job. I spend forty hours a week at work. I was not going to allow so much of my life to be filled with negativity and misery. I wanted to love my job, to be excited to come to work, to enjoy what I did. I transformed my workspace into a place of comfort and happiness. I put up a calendar with pictures of the beach so that I could be transported to paradise every time I looked at it. I put up a poster of a beautiful forest to remind me of the times I spent in the woods as a child. To change my negative thoughts at work into positive ones, I created a series of web shots for my screen saver. Mountains, beaches, forests, animals, beautiful pictures of nature that bring me inspiration and comfort. I enjoy sitting in my office and learning things about Western medicine and health. I’ve transformed my work space into something that is motivating rather than draining.
• What is your relationship with your work? Are you ever excited to go to work? Do you love what you do? Or do you hate it? What is your office space like? Have you personalized it in any way? What about your computer? How can you make yourself feel more positive at work?
I think the problem is not in the type of job people have but in their capacity for joy. A person with a high capacity for joy will find satisfaction in any work they do. I once met a janitor at a local airport who was singing and dancing while doing his job. How could he be so happy while cleaning up trash? And yet there he was, enjoying his time at work. What stops most people from being happy at their job is that they get hung up on the negative aspects. For some reason our society has made us associate work with unpleasantness rather than joy. We need to change that. Stop thinking about why you hate your job and instead focus on what brings you joy. There has to be something enjoyable about your job. You just have to look hard enough to find it. Think about the coworker you love talking to everyday. Or the satisfying sense of accomplishment you feel when you finish a task. Maybe you get to observe people and learn something new every day. Learn to find joy in the little things and put a positive spin on the less pleasant aspects of your job.
Your workspace is extremely important in determining your relationship with your job. If you spend every day in a dull office with a bunch of clutter and no personal touches, it will be very hard for you to stay positive at work. Clean up your desk space so that you aren’t surrounded by mountains of paper. Put up a calendar or poster with something that brings a smile to your face whenever you look at it. If you have a window in your office, open the blinds and let the sun in. Spend time looking outside. Change the background of your computer to something that you like. Bring in some small things from home to put on your desk. A picture of a loved one or a little figurine that’s related to a happy memory or something you like. Get a plant for your office to connect yourself to nature. Do whatever you can to make your workspace more positive and less stifling.
Also remember that your job is not just about you. Instead of thinking what your job can do for you, think what kind of service you provide to your community. What is it that others need and value that you can provide for them? Gratitude from others for a job well done gives an extraordinary sense of satisfaction. Remind yourself of how you are connected to others through your job. Your work could be making an enormous difference in someone else’s life. Think about that the next time you find yourself feeling bitter about your job.
Lastly, try not to get trapped in a materialistic mindset that many people have in today’s society. Money truly does not buy happiness. If you really can’t stand your job and wonder why you’re doing it, change it! You have the right to pursue your own happiness. Take some time to reflect on what you genuinely want to do with your life and don’t be afraid to go get it. Change is scary, and sometimes we can’t afford to make a drastic decision to stop everything we’re doing. But other times, the only thing standing in the way is ourselves. You spend such a significant chunk of your life working. You might as well enjoy it!
International Bestselling Author
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