4 Things That Will Make You Value Your Job (Besides the Salary!)
I spend approximately 25% of my life at work. Since this is such a significant part of my life, my job absolutely has to be part of my life design.
In all honesty, designing my work life has been the most difficult element of my life formula (even attempting to express how I’m trying to go about designing this element of my life in this blog has been an effort for me when words typically hit the paper no problem!) I have found myself caught between the desire to earn a steady income to help maintain our family lifestyle and my desire to spend my time on things that have meaning for me. I know that these two things do not have to be mutually exclusive of each other. I can earn my desired income and enjoy what I do. With this in mind, I’ve been working at consciously designing a career that fits with my life formula. Here are some of the elements I’ve identified that I need in my career (but I warn readers, this really is still an area of exploration for me and my list is not yet complete).
- My job must be flexible. I must be able to do my work where and when needed.
- I must feel that I’m able to learn and grow in the role and within the organization.
- I have to actually like a huge portion of the tasks that I’m asked to do and the people that I’m asked to work with.
- I must be treated fairly which includes being recognized for my contributions versus being held back by invisible barriers.
Three of the above bullets are relatively easy for me to evaluate in my current job, but the one I struggle with the most is the third bullet. I’m pretty self-aware, so I know that I have a tendency to focus on the negative parts of my day and disregard the good. With this in mind, I’m making a conscious effort to write down the tasks I do each day that I thoroughly enjoy and how much time I spend on them. This is going to allow me to assess whether my perception of how much time I spend on things at work that I don’t really like to do is in fact reality, or just a lack of equal focus on the parts of my job that I do love. Certainly you can’t avoid working on things that you dislike entirely in any job, but having a high volume of tasks you do enjoy is going to colour how you feel about the time spent at work significantly.
You might believe in your current job you don’t have any ability to do “designing” or make any changes. The job is what it is and you get paid to do what the job description entails. I had this belief at one point as well. It took a job change for me to modify my thoughts about this. I wiped the slate clean in terms of all of my preconceived notions about my career and started fresh in a completely different industry, with a very different job description.
Changing jobs is not the only answer if you are ready to change your mind when it comes to your ability to design a job that fits into your overall life. I now understand that it is me and only me that can make my role at work what I want it to be. I don’t believe that you land a “dream job”, but rather that you create one. I believe there is an element of design in anyone’s role at work and being conscious of what you can change about your role (and believe me – it’s likely more than you think) is important to designing a career that fits with your best life.
If you are feeling a bit unsure about your current role at work, I’d encourage you to start your own formula for your career by assessing what elements of your current role you consider essential to your happiness. Of course this list can include your salary, but I bet there are many qualitative factors that impact your feelings about your current role as well. Once you’ve got that down, next you can move on to the elements of your job that you’d like to adjust or modify. Now, the tough part; it’s time to make some changes and that will, in some cases, require you to ask for what you want to be able to perform your job better. Is it a flexible work arrangement, or perhaps you’d like to be involved in a particular project, or maybe you’d like an opportunity to take some additional training and gain the education needed to progress within your organization?
Believe that you are providing great value to your employer and if this is truly the case, I’m guessing your employer is well aware that creating an environment where you work better, is in the best interest of everyone and will be a willing participant in your efforts to design a formula for your career.
Let me know what elements of your work you value the most in the comments below.