People value their jobs in different ways.
Some want to climb the corporate ladder or own a six-figure business, while others work to pay the bills and fund their personal interests.
Whatever reason you are working for, know that it’s OK. With that said, how do you get comfortable working a job you aren’t particularly excited or passionate about?
Find ways to make your days special
Sometimes, a lack of excitement or positivity can bring feelings of dread and anxiety. A great way to combat this is to find ways to make your day special.
You may have zero passion for your job, but gratitude can increase job satisfaction, which can help you get through your day easier. List five things you’re grateful for when you start your work day. It could be a shared cup of coffee with a colleague or a goal achieved.
You can also practise gratitude by celebrating others. When someone reaches a milestone, make them feel special with a message or a small gift. It will make your days brighter and make work relationships better.
Remember why you’re doing it
Maybe your job offers you stability, and the opportunity to fund your life and support your family through consistent income. Maybe you have a bigger goal and saving a third of your salary will help you get there when the time is right.
Pearl Chan used to work as a corporate professional but always felt like something was missing. She then set out to create a business to help people in their everyday lives. With her skills, she launched Resparkle, a cleaning product company with ethically sourced and sustainable ingredients for people who want zero-waste and organic products.
Ultimately, her day job gave her transferable skills like analytical thinking and problem-solving that would help her when she started her business. When she realised that most mainstream cleaning products comprise almost 90 per cent water, which requires excessive plastic packaging, she saw it as a design problem and worked to find a solution. Chan’s greater mission in her business keeps her focused on the bigger goal and reminds her why she started the business and why she keeps going.
You can do the same by acknowledging the benefits of your job. Whether you make a list to remind yourself what your job allows you to do or simply recognise the benefits, a benefits list is a great way to stay motivated. Your top benefit could be the advantage of leaving work at work and spending your free time with the people you love. Or it could be the conferences you get to attend twice a year and make connections with new people in other places.
Pursue passion outside of work
You’re allowed to use your work as a conduit to passion. How can you use the financial freedom your job gives you to pursue what you really want to do?
Erin A. Cech, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Michigan, wrote a book titled The Trouble With Passion: How Searching for Fulfillment at Work Fosters Inequality. She writes about the inequalities and unrealistic expectations that can come from employers who expect people to pursue their work for passion so much that it becomes their life. This view is supported by the notion of paying a ‘passion tax‘, which argues that the more you love your work, the more likely you’ll be exploited.
In Cech’s book, she advises people to diversify their meaning-making portfolio. This can look like finding purpose and passion in things besides your work. You can still do your job well and live a happy life with fulfillment that goes beyond your employment.
Refuse unrealistic expectations and ideals
While inspiration and aspiration are great, you risk feeling inadequate when you don’t measure up to those ideals.
Cultivate your own work mindset and culture that keeps you comfortable without sacrificing your daily responsibilities and duties. It’s OK for work to be fifth place on the list of things that give you purpose or self-realisation.
Have a work friend can make your days a little brighter. Get to know a colleague and be intentional about grabbing coffee with them and checking in often. It makes a difference when you have a meaningful relationship. See who you can build a relationship with based on interests or experience. Finding belonging can help you cope with longer days.
You can also find ways to support other women from traditionally marginalised or underrepresented groups through allyship and commit to educating yourself about different life experiences. When you commit to something bigger than yourself, it can bring fulfillment in an otherwise unfulfilling place.
Katie Juran spearheaded an inclusion and diversity program to promote belonging by building an equitable environment for previously marginalised groups. The program received a score of 90 per cent in the Disability Equality Index and received recognition as the best place to work for disability inclusion. Her story shows the power of allyship and what it can do to create spaces of opportunity and increase representation among previously marginalised groups.
Decorate your work desk
Another way to brighten your day is to decorate your work desk or workstation with items you love. It could be a potted plant with a vase that has a meaningful message on it or artwork from your kids.
If you have a friend or family member who paints or creates sculptures, why not ask them to make something for you that you can keep at your desk?
Work from home if you can
A Zapier study shows that 95 per cent of knowledge workers want to work remotely. Their top reasons are the freedom and flexibility to work anywhere, save money, and spend time with their loved ones.
If it suits you and your needs, you might feel more fulfilled if you work from home some days to achieve that balance.
Work can be the gateway to your passions
For some, work isn’t everything. What’s most important is that you feel fulfilled in every aspect of your life. This can look different based on your goals and priorities.
This can sometimes mean you work a job you don’t like to support what you value most — and that’s OK. Your story doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s.
By taking a broader view of passion, and seeing it as something that can be pursued outside of work, it can help you to live a more content life and find meaning beyond your professional context.
TELL US: What do you think? Do you have any tips for getting more comfortable working a job you’re not passionate about? If so, please share your thoughts in the comment section below.