Are you among the 30% who enjoy what you are doing?
According to a 2013 Gallup poll, 70% of those surveyed described themselves as “disengaged” from their work.
Put it another way, only 30% honestly admitted they enjoy their job and their bosses.
If you are in the 70%, then this article is for you! You will discover what to do to help you find the joy in your work.
A caveat about the word “work”. Too often, we think of work as something that we have to do instead of something from which we draw energy and inspiration. In this article, work is that which you love to do. It makes you wake up every morning, excited to take on the world.
More importantly, it is your why. For when you know the why you can take on almost any how.
Are You Excited About What You Do?
It wasn’t always the case for me. In fact, it took me a long time to get there. The first step I took was in consciously deciding that I needed to break out of my vicious circle of nonfulfillment and lack of enjoyment in my job.
Once I did, the difference was just night and day. These days, I would often wake up around 7 am on a Saturday because I am excited to get to work. My work schedule is actually Monday to Friday.
Now, it did take me several years to finally make enough sense of it all to go get what I wanted.
I was able to find what I enjoy because I learned more about myself. You, too, need to learn more about yourself. One thing I ran into early on when I started to question life and work was the Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation. For a fee around $675 to $750 in major cities across the United States, they run a whole slew of tests to determine your aptitudes. (Note: I am not affiliated in any way, shape, or form with the Foundation.) Your aptitudes remain stable throughout your life and are also called your strengths. We tend to enjoy those tasks that call upon our strengths.
Through the tests, I was able to rediscover something that I instinctively knew when I was a child but then turned my back from for years, simply because of stereotypes: I am a writer. I love to write. Yet, my life’s path turned to engineering. On top of that, I am an Asian American and fell into the stereotype that we are only good at math, not writing.
These days, I am still an engineer. I write code. I also write documentation for our customers to help them understand the changes we incorporate into the system. So, I made a conscious decision to make my next job more enjoyable by making sure it utilized my strengths.
So, understand that you, too, have the power. If your employer is flexible, ask to do more of the things that incorporate your strengths so that you can make your work more fulfilling and enjoyable.
Learn About Yourself
If you don’t know your strengths, then it’s time to learn more about yourself. Besides taking the aptitude test, which provides a test report, listing your aptitudes and suggested career fields, find out what your Myers-Brigg personality type is.
Hundreds of books have been written, describing the traits of Myers-Brigg types. You can also find websites that tests you to find what your personality type is. To understand your personality type well is to know yourself better. It will also help you find what you are looking for and help you better work with other people with different Myers-Brigg types.
Understand, too, knowing your personality type compliments your aptitudes test results. Combining the two will help you better learn about yourself and what it is that you really want.
Do Your Hobbies
Chances are you have hobbies because your job currently does not allow you to do the things you really enjoy doing.
Hobbies can also help you reconnect with the joys you knew as a child. It helped me reconnect with my love of writing. For the longest time, I maintained a newsletter for my club. When it was time for me to move on, I had a hard time looking for a replacement. Do you know what the most frequent response was whenever I asked friends if they would be willing to take over? “I hate writing.”
Now, I have come to accept that my love of writing is unique to me.
What is it about these hobbies that you wish were in your day-to-day job, attributes you wish you can incorporate so that you get hungry about work again?
For most people, it’s simple. You may be a photography buff on the side. Is it the creativity, the mechanics of taking a photograph, or the artistry involved in composing a shot that makes this hobby fun for you?
If you are into flying, is it the intellectually stimulating aspect of flying or the freedom of being up in the air that thrills you?
If you are into model shipbuilding, is it working with your hands to create something out of nothing that gives you joy? Is it the meticulous nature of working with small pieces that takes hundreds of hours to master?
Ultimately, it is mastery over a skill that brings us fulfillment and joy. Naturally, when you master something your self-confidence goes way up.
Chances are your job already has some of these attributes. What can you do to put more of the other attributes into the position?
If you cannot put these attributes into your current job, then it is time to move on. Find another job that uses more of your aptitudes and skills. More importantly, find what you enjoy and love doing.
If what you love to do doesn’t exist, you may even have a niche market and the beginnings of an entrepreneurship. In other words, stop feeling stuck and move towards something drastically new if you have to. Your life is too short to be living it the way others think you should live rather than the way you truly want it.
In the end, it all boils down to a simple choice. You have to consciously decide that you want a better life for yourself. You have to consciously decide that you want to do the work that you love, not the work that someone thinks you should love. So, start learning more about yourself today and you’ll find the rewards to be immensely gratifying. More importantly, go find it. Create it in your current job if it doesn’t exist. Or, better yet create a niche industry and provide a service to others.
What is it about your job that you wish you can change? What is it that you wish you can be doing instead? Better yet, have you always wanted to do something drastically different? I’d love to hear from you! Please leave your remarks in the comments.
Benson Wong supports people who are feeling burnt out and unfulfilled in their jobs find what it is that they really want to do and help them go get it. This often involves a shift in your perception and a strong change in the way you think. It’s about first finding yourself. To get started today, claim your free blueprint containing 3 audiosets: How to Be More Confident, 3 Ways to Live the Life of Your Dreams, and How to Live a More Successful Life.