6 Steps to Loving the Job You Hate

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

You've gone from skipping to work, to dragging your butt. Little annoyances mushroom in the dung of frustration.  Reasons vary:  a terrible boss, unrealistic expectations, downsizing pressures, stagnating gifts, or unrecognized contributions. You've considered quitting—but that's a bold move and another post.

I've made a career out of re-engineering my own jobs.  There's joy-packed potential all around you.  Energizing possibilities abound, and it is possible to grab the happiness that lurks in your day job. Here’s how:

Name your frustration

Write down what's really ticking you off.  The big and the small stuff.  Use as much paper as needed, and get it all out. Then step away.

Pick the biggies

Find a big red pen and cross off the annoyances—every job has them.  Next, determine the one or two game-changers.  Focus your energy on addressing those concerns. You know what must be done.  Listen to your heart.   If you weren't scared, where would you start?   Talk to a mentor or coach, and make a plan.  You are powerful.  Use your power to change your scenery.

Collect joy


Remember what you love.  Negative feelings overshadow joy.  Notice what makes you truly happy at work.  Certain tasks? Interactions? Challenges?  Write those down too.

Forget humility

Write down your best talents.  Not just the "work appropriate" ones.  One of my leaders has an amazing rock band.  I love to sing.  You'd be surprised how many opportunities you can find to sing "at work." Sure, in the long-run, confident humility is vital.  But you've got to acknowledge you gifts to have the courage to use them.

Create the job you want


Bring your passion to your job. My deep desire is growing leaders.  My job description says that I manage sales, marketing, customer service, outsourcing, and so on. But it does not say: "design and deliver unique leadership development programs for your team" or "mentor anyone that asks for help" or "spend your weekends writing an International blog to let your team in your head."   By investing deeply in those aspects of the job, I get through yawner finance meetings just fine.

Look for special projects

Before our leadership summit, a frontline leader asked if he could take a few pics and video throughout the two-day meeting.  Yesterday, my entire organization received a fully professional video that lit us all up.  It was an amazing investment of personal time and energy.  He took it upon himself to leverage his gifts to bring more joy beyond his role.  

Bottom line: Skipping to work turns heads. How have you found more joy in your work? How could you?


About the Author

Karin Hurt, founder of Let’s Grow Leaders, helps leaders around the world achieve breakthrough results without losing their soul. A former Verizon Wireless executive, she has more than two decades of experience in sales, customer service, and HR. She was recently named on Inc.'s list of 100 Great Leadership Speakers and American Management Association's 50 Leaders to Watch. She’s the author of 3 books: Winning Well: A Manager's Guide to Getting Results-Without Losing Your Soul, Overcoming an Imperfect Boss, and Glowstone Peak.

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