“I hate my job!” I have heard this statement so often and from so many people that I am almost convinced that most people are in jobs that they hate. I’m curious: Are you in a job that you hate but for whatever reason, you cannot leave? This is not my case currently although it has been the case in my past. I know what it’s like to pray that your last day off would never end. I know what it’s like to count off the seconds of the clock on Friday because that meant freedom from the week of torturous labor.
For the last twelve years, those thoughts and feelings have become foreign to me. I absolutely love my job and I can’t wait for Mondays. So, how did that change take place? Actually, I have learned some principles that I have implemented and they have changed me and the way I view work in general and my job in particular. As a delightful consequence, I now love my job and I can’t wait for Mondays. So, please allow me to share (somewhat briefly) what I have learned and how to love the job you hate.
- There is a very real possibility that the problem may be you and not the job. (Amen and ouch!) I hate to start with a negative but at least in the case of my previous job; I had to acknowledge that the real problem was not the job at all but me. Let me explain: I was able to survey my job and find out that there were some people that loved the job I hated. So, it was possible to be in the same job but have a different opinion of that job. Even in my case now as the pastor of a growing community church, I have pastor friends who complain constantly about their leaders, their members and their duties. I listen but I must admit that I do not share their opinions because I view the same job in a completely different way. I love my leaders, my members and most of my duties. We have the same job but trust me; the problem is not the job.
- Sometimes what we need is to change our minds and not change our jobs. Romans 12:2 says, “…be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Also Proverbs 13:2 states, “From the fruit of their lips people enjoy good things.” The idea is that we can often (not always) change our enjoyment of a thing, person or situation by first changing our minds and our words. Practically speaking, if you say every morning that you hate your job, you will hate your job. I have tried this personally and experienced the truth of it. When I had badmouthed my job, it created a negative mindset that gave birth to a toxic work environment. However, when I looked for the best in my co-workers and fostered a better work environment by my words and actions, the workplace became a better place.
- Find what you do like about your job. Again, using my own past work experience, even though I hated my job, I really enjoyed the people I worked with so in changing my thoughts and feelings about my job, I had to start by reminding myself how great “some” of the people were that I worked with and how much I enjoyed being around them. For you it may be the people you love or the schedule or the product or the…whatever it is, but fill your mind with the stuff you like about your job and you may find that there is much to show up and be grateful for.
- Find or create something (a project) you can take ownership of. Sometimes we hate work because it is exactly that-just labor. You will notice an immediate difference however, if you begin to take ownership for something at work. Find a project that you can own, personalize and be responsible for. This often takes us past the worker to owner mindset and increases our feeling of self worth and productivity. In doing this we feel like we’re a part of something bigger than a paycheck. When we feel like we are building a future and making an important contribution to the bigger picture, we begin to love what we are a part of.
- Help improve people’s lives. I have mentioned this in a previous blog but it is such a powerful and life changing principle that it must be repeated here.A Life Without Regrets Most people hate their jobs because they are there merely to make a paycheck to cover their bills. However, God created the concept of work in order to enrich the human experience and as a building block of productive society. So, find something at your workplace that you can do that will involve improving the human experience and enrich people’s lives. For example, you can convince your bosses that you should collect and donate things that you normally waste and throw away. Yesterday, as a mater of fact, the news outlets announced that Starbucks would be donating to local charities some of their products that would normally be thrown away. This was someone’s idea who saw a need they could fill and a way that they could bring joy to their job beyond their job description. Even if it doesn’t bring you more money, it will enrich your life and work experience in ways that money never could.
- If all else fails, find another job. This is not a contradiction to the other principles but an acknowledgement that in some rare cases we are actually in the wrong job. Your job should match your talents, abilities and interests. If it doesn’t, you can either change yourself (point #1) by acquiring what you need or you can find a job that more closely matches who you already are. This is becoming more and more common as people are ditching their first careers at 30, 40 or 50 years of age and embarking on brand new ventures. They are finding fulfilling careers as they chase their dreams instead of a paycheck. If you choose this path just be forewarned that these career shifts do not always result in bigger paydays. However, most people who follow this path have uncovered the principle that our jobs are most fulfilling when we are passionate about the thing we are doing and not just chasing money. Take my word for it, when you learn to love what you do and do what you love, the paycheck is not the most important thing.
Lets wrap this up. The bottom line is that life is too short to be stuck in a job you hate just to pay the bills. Usually this kind of existence leads to stress and unhappiness for you and everyone who cares about you. There is a better way that doesn’t necessarily require you to quit your job. You can get to the point where you learn to love the job you hate but it all begins with the decision to change yourself first. As with all meaningful change, this is where we must begin.
 Actually my workday begins on Tuesday but I am using the term Monday metaphorically to signify the first day of the workweek.
 I say that I enjoy “most” of my duties because as a pastor, I sometimes have to do things that I don’t like (like perform funerals) but this is also a principle that we must embrace: even the best jobs require us to do things we don’t like. Work (and life) is not always flowers and ponies, get over it!