How to Fall In Love with Your Job
All Over Again
by Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE
Remember how exciting it was when you first fell in love? Your heart did somersaults every time you met the one you loved. The two of you sat up talking all night. And you always seemed to have so much energy. The thrill of falling in love is wonderful.
Soon enough, of course, reality set in, and you had to start working to make the relationship succeed. That’s good, of course. It’s how you truly grow to know and love the other person.
In many ways, a new job is like a love affair. The first stage is excitement. It can last from an hour to many years. You think to yourself, "This job will pay me more money than I’ve ever earned before. The clients will be wonderful to deal with. I’m going to learn so much and do really exciting things." The novelty of the job keeps your energy high. You are happy because you are so productive, and you’re more productive because you are so happy.
Then the second stage, reality, sets in. You still enjoy the work you do, but you begin to notice some of the irritants and difficulties. It bothers you that all the phones are ringing when you walk in the door. Deadlines seem endless and impossible. It becomes harder to arrive early or stay late. The novelty starts to wear off. And, like love, your job has a third stage too disillusion. The pendulum swings past reality, and you find yourself focusing on the negative things. That’s when the "maybe’s" begin. "Maybe I could make better money at Company X, and not have to work so hard." "Maybe I’d be happier with more responsibility at Corporation Y." "Maybe Company Z would let me come in a little later in the mornings or go home earlier at night."
In jobs, as in love, it’s very important for the pendulum to swing back. You need to work to regain the exhilaration of the first stage. Such excitement is essential to a fulfilling life. Think about what you did to keep the thrill in your love life. Maybe the two of you relived your first date at that little country restaurant, or you thought to thank your loved one for being kind and generous. In short, you remembered to see the person you first fell in love with.
Apply this same technique to your career. Rekindle the thrill you felt when you first began your job. You must have had good reasons for taking it. What were they? Make a list of them, and expect to experience those joys again in your daily routine.
Begin each day with a smile. Anticipate having a productive, stimulating day. Isn’t that how you used to come to work in the morning? If you really expect to be productive, I guarantee that almost nothing can stop you. Here are some practical staying-in-love techniques:
Have a good breakfast to give you the energy and protein, which you so badly need first thing in the morning.
Dress with as much pride and attention to detail as you did on your first day of work.
Start each day with motivated people who talk about the good things in their lives. Once a week or so, take the initiative to get up a little earlier and go to breakfast with some of these people. I’m a member of a group that does just that. It’s a very special way to start the day.
Get to work as early as you can and spend some quiet time settling in before everyone else arrives. If this is hard, offer yourself some small personal reward. (Mine is that first lingering cup of coffee, all alone, while opening my very exciting email.)
Do what I call the "icky" things first. Even the most fantastic job includes tasks that aren’t much fun. If you get them out of the way, the rest of the day will fly by.
Make a list at the end of every day of what you learned, what was the most fun, who was the most fun to interact with, and how you feel you added to your group’s success. A list of the ’beyond the paycheck’ benefits. If you only work for the paycheck you will be employed, but not ’employable’ long term.
There are many realistic ways to keep your relationships and your jobs exciting and challenging. Ultimately, your happiness depends on how good you feel about yourself at work, in love, and just living everyday. Try doing something nice for your job and yourself. Fall in love all over again!
Patricia Fripp CSP, CPAE is a San Francisco-based executive speech coach and professional speaker on Change, Customer Service, Promoting Business, and Communication Skills. She is the author of Get What You Want!, Make It So You Don’t Have to Fake It and Past-President of the National Speakers Association.