If you've fallen out of love with your job, there's still time to fall back in love with your current role.
You'll notice that the title of this post isn't "How to Fall in Love With Your Job." Rather, it's "How to Fall Back in Love With Your Job."
The New York Times recently revealed that as many as a third of U.S. workers don't feel engaged at work. The "why" for the lack of disengagement varies, but the piece makes the argument to seek out the granular aspects you do and don't like in your job. Instead of thinking in broad strokes, such as disliking your boss or feeling overwhelmed by your workload, employees may consider loosely applying the KonMari Method. This means examining daily tasks, listing the ones that spark joy and re-evaluating tasks that don't to rebuild job satisfaction.
It's an unusual tactic, but re-examining the smaller details behind why you feel disengaged with your job can act as a catalyst for change. However, creating lists of what you love and loathe about your work duties is not a happiness cure-all. Falling back in love with your job is a learning process. It means searching for, and being open to, little ways to rekindle that spark.
1. Develop friendships with your co-workers.
Is it possible to combine business with friendship? According to studies, yes! Payroll service provider Paychex recently surveyed 1,011 full-time workers on workplace relationships. The survey uncovers how these relationships, especially friendships, impact office environments and an employee's daily duties.
One of the key takeaways of the survey is that making friends in the office is not a detriment to productivity. There has long been a stereotype that office friends spend more time around the water cooler or chatting via Slack than they do getting their work done. Quite the contrary! Full-time workers satisfied with their work have 4.3 friends on average within their work environment. This may be attributed to the workplace atmosphere itself, and how it allows employees to collaborate, brainstorm and work together as a team.
What generally tends to happen when everyone feels comfortable in an inclusive environment? It's easier to make friends and feel excited to go to work and develop job satisfaction. Management also takes notice of workplace friendships: 70.6% surveyed revealed they perceive workplace friendships in a positive light.
2. Focus on creating a work-life connection.
All work and no play makes Jack and Jill very dull people indeed. Individuals who are proud of their careers like to tell those close to them in their lives. Pride in Your Profession, a study from FundRocket, surveyed 1,000 full-time workers to discuss how they take pride in their work.
The survey included a section on work-life connection. This is not the same concept as work-life balance. Rather, it's how job satisfaction connects to relationship satisfaction. Findings from the survey revealed that those satisfied at work also experience satisfying personal relationships, both of the friendship and romantic variety – and vice versa, with individuals who experience satisfying romantic lives likely to feel twice as accomplished in the workplace. Ultimately, what happens is that the happiness felt in both work and life aspects support each other.
Falling back in love with your job may require cutting the cord on behaving like a workaholic. The survey's findings suggest that individuals consistently prioritizing work over a social life – in platonic and romantic senses – face disappointment in both personal and professional worlds. If you find this describes you to some degree, put a hard stop on the hour you're up answering work emails and start adding more outings and date nights to your personal calendar.
3. Do more of what you care about.
Let's go back to that recommended list of writing down what you love and loathe about your job. There may be some duties on the "loathe" side that you'll have to grin and bear – and do the work.
Everything that you love? Try to do more of that – as much of it as humanly possible.
Meet with your manager or supervisor to discuss where your strengths lie in your position. Ask if you can do more of the things you're skilled at and care about. "Care" is the word to emphasize here. It may actually be more important to care for a job than to love it. When you care deeply about something, it holds meaning in your life. It is lasting, not fleeting, to care.
Employees who care about finding ways to perform better are doing more than increasing their job satisfaction. Their care allows them to lead by example. Others around them will begin to care accordingly. They ask how they can take on more initiatives and assignments that allow them to hone their skill sets. This will allow businesses, and the team members within the structures, to grow, increase opportunities and flourish together.
Now that you know what you love to do, and the simple ways you can jump back into being satisfied at work, there's only one question left: Are you ready to take the next steps forward to fall in love with your job all over again?