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Work is a privilege: how to enjoy it

Dirty Kid Covering His Face

We recently had a small issue in our home; our children had broken a known rule and it required consequences. This was not a major offense, though — my wife and I agreed that this was really was an opportunity to teach a valuable lesson about enjoying work — a life lesson that they can use when they get older. So, at dinner I opened the discussion and offered the olive branch of democracy: together, we’d vote on the appropriate punishment. My daughter voted that the offenders (her and her brother) would have to clean up a room. I quickly voted this down and said: “work is not a punishment — work is a privilege.”

When recounting this story to my colleagues, they were both happy and surprised to hear my response, although they also agreed!

Work is a strong force in our day-to-day attitude

My career as a financial advisor allows me to intersect with people from all different fields and backgrounds. I get to see first-hand how some people view their work as an opportunity… while some view it as their own personal hell, delivered fresh daily.

In either case, our work generally takes up at least 33% of each day. This one-third time spent (often more) and our attitudes on that time has widespread effects. Work can change how we treat our family, how often we connect with friends, and how healthy we keep our bodies.

Work itself can even dictate how we spend our time away from it.

So how do we come to love what we do, even if we don’t like it 100% of the time?

Girl at Work You may not always be able to do what you love

Someone once said that if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. I agree with this statement, but it isn’t always easy. For example — I love my job right now, absolutely, from the bottom of my heart.

However, I’ve worked in a lot of downright crummy jobs in my life’s journey before arriving to today. Many of them I did not love, or even like, come to think of it. Many folks work for years as I did, or even a lifetime, until they are fortunate to find a career that fulfills their passions.

So, I say that to love what we do we first must become comfortable with the act of work.

Loving Your Work

But you can love what you do (even if you don’t like the work)

One of the best examples of this in pop culture, in my opinion, would be the Seven Dwarfs from Snow White. Now I’m not a huge fan of the film, but those little dudes going off to work whistling and having a grand time mining diamonds is a great picture to show what I mean.

Looking at them, you can see that they were finding happiness in their situation — even though mining is a rigorous, exhausting, and repetitive job. They saw the value in their day to day efforts, plus they worked in an environment and with people they enjoyed.

This may not be an exhaustive list by any means, but here’s some ways you can learn to be as happy as they are!

  • Finding joy: Try to find the opportunities to learn and have fun in your work, no matter how monotonous or “boring” the work may be. If you press forward and continue improving, learning, and exploring — you’ll maximize your chances of enjoying your work.
  • See the value and pay it forward: The works of your hands, no matter what they are, should eventually bring some sort of value. This could be for a customer, a manager, or a co-worker. Think about what this value is and what it means, plus how the quality of your work comes into play. Thinking this way will pay dividends greatly in your life, and help you to see the positive impact your work has on others.
  • Improve your work environment: Your work environment has a huge effect on you as a person, not to mention how much you love (or do not love) your job! Environment alone can be enough to drain you… or push you to excellence. One suggestion for improving your work environment: Find a friend or two to become a colleague. Life’s just more fun with a buddy!

I pray that your work is a fulfilling adventure for you and those you serve. If there’s anything I can do to help you along the way, please reach out any time!

November 2019

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