Hardly anyone I have ever talked to has found their job truly fulfilling. The question I often ask myself, therefore, is whether the job market is rotten or whether something is going wrong with the attitude toward work.
Again and again I run across a quote by philosopher Alan Watts:
While Alan Watts was not a Zen Buddhist by any stretch of the imagination (for he took many different views from different philosophies), it can be argued that most of his views came from Zen Buddhism.
Of course, this quote is not really talking about working as we take it nowadays, but that we see life itself as work. However, it can also be wonderfully applied to actual work.
In times when trends like Hustle Culture and Quite Quitting If we are not aware of the fact that work is commonplace, we have to ask ourselves whether we have the wrong understanding of work, whether we are going about it in the wrong way, or whether we are simply overlooking something.
First of all, it is important for me not to judge anyone here. There is a reason for almost every kind of behavior. Whether someone just does the minimum at work, or buries himself up to his neck in work, is up to everyone. In this article, I just want to give a few thoughts to anyone who is not really satisfied at work.
We must first locate here where the personal problem lies with the work we do. Is it a mean boss, is it the employees or is it the work itself. Often we tend to look for faults in others. Whether they are really responsible for our stress and unhappiness is mostly irrelevant. Sentences like "Actually, today was a good day, but my stupid work colleague got on my nerves with his private problems. each of us has thought at least once. However, these are rather isolated scenarios and therefore do not explain why you can hardly get out of bed every day.
A very good tip if your mind is spitting out thoughts without stopping you can find here - is illustrated by a quote that also comes from Alan Watts.
If no other people are involved in our unwillingness, there can only be two factors:
Either our job simply isn't right for us or we're too cerebral and keep telling ourselves that work sucks.
But how do we stop thinking badly about our work? After all, we have to get out of the house, or at least out of bed, every day because of it.
It is similar to the pink elephant phenomenon: the more we try not to think about a pink elephant, the more we think about it. If we concentrate only on not looking at the bad, we look exclusively at the bad.
Did you know... that a 2013 Harvard Business Review magazine survey of 12,000 professionals found that half did not ascribe any "meaning or importance" to their job. Another survey found that out of 230,000 employees in 142 countries, only 13 percent actually liked their jobs. A recent British study found that no less than 37 percent considered their job to be completely useless. (Source)
It is much more important that we look at what we like about our job. Of course, in every job there are a hundred things that could be better, but it does us no good to focus on these hundred things. Even if there are only five positive qualities about our job and a hundred bad ones, we should still look at the five positive ones.
It can also help if we try to be open-minded.
- Should they be activities that are so mundane that they can be done virtually on standby, we can use the time to reflect on our lives.
- If the activities are physically demanding, we can try to perform the tasks in the cleanest way possible to shape our bodies.
- If they are highly complex tasks, we can improve our logical thinking.
In any case, I am sure that standing on the mat every day, with a snout like seven days of rainy weather, will not get you anywhere. And the silliest thing about this situation is that we are only punishing ourselves in the first place. Because hardly anything can burn itself into our minds as well as bad moods. We take it with us from work and bring it home, thinking after work only about how sucky the day was and that tomorrow it will go straight on.
Now once again back to the quote from Alan Watts: "instead of calling it work, recognize that it's a game." By this I don't mean that you can do whatever you want at work without responsibility. But that you should do it with an attitude, like when you play. That you have the best interaction you can have with every customer, that you're happy in the lab with all the instruments that are available, or that you avoid all obstacles on the road as if you were in a cab simulator.
This doesn't just apply to work, by the way. Everywhere in life, we should try to approach things as playfully as possible.
However, if all efforts to find something positive in our job fail, we might want to consider looking for another job. Maybe it really isn't the right one for you.