Dishwasher. Teacher. Secretary. Interpreter. Grantwriter. Food service worker.
I’ve had a lot of jobs—more than even mentioned above—but I think it’s fair to say I’ve learned a few things about the workplace. It can be a blessing in your life to have a job that you love, and it can be hell on earth if it makes you miserable.
I’m thinking more about my current job, where I work as an office specialist. I enjoy the work, my coworkers are lovely people, and I find real meaning in my work. I also think about the previous job I had until 2016—an office position I’d held for four years. By the end, I knew my work wasn’t contributing anything toward the organization and the environment had become toxic.
Being unhappy at work is no way to live your life. I’ve realized how much more healthy I am mentally and how much more I love my work. I see the purpose and meaning in what I do, and I have noticed some fabulous benefits I never would have expected:
- The day goes by faster. When I have so many different things going on, I am definitely not staring at the clock. Yes, I get hungry by noon and am ready to leave at closing, but hours can pass where I don’t look at my watch.
- You open yourself up to new possibilities. I’ve learned new skills in my current job that I tried to learn elsewhere and failed. It’s amazing what intrinsic motivation—the desire to do my work better—can do.
- No “case of the Mondays.” Yes, it is hard to get caffeinated on Mondays, but I actually enjoy going to work. I don’t dread Sunday nights like I used to.
- You foster deeper relationships with coworkers, clients, vendors, etc. While I’ve learned (the hard way) not to over-share with coworkers, I feel like I’ve gotten to know the people I work with a lot better this time around. I love interacting with them, talking to them about their day, the projects they are working on, and what is going on in their lives.
- Your suggestions carry more weight. I tried to suggest so many different things at my last job—offering to start a blog, social media post ideas, or ways to streamline tasks. But I was shot down every single time. How does that give me motivation to do my job any better? People actually listen to what I have to say in my current job. They may say “no,” but at least I am heard and I feel like my ideas are considered.
- You enhance your company’s mission. Depending on the culture of where you work, your company’s mission or mission statement can be very important. Our mission is that we put the fun in fun It’s hard not to have fun when you work with purpose.
- You derive a greater sense of accomplishment. My job is not sexy. I answer phones, do paperwork, file, take minutes at meetings, and greet customers. But I see my work as important, so I feel like I actually make a difference every day.
- You might be given more responsibility. The woman who held my job before I did really checked out at the end. It is a source of pride that I have been given extra tasks my predecessor would never have been asked to do.
- An increase in contentment spills over into other areas of your life. Because I see my work as meaningful, I’ve noticed I am more content with regards to my family and friends. There are still areas of my life I need to work on, but I am much more content and grateful than I ever was in my last position.
- You are less likely to invite bullies, gossip, and workplace toxicity into your life. No workplace is perfect. But because I work with a purpose, I tune out the negativity, bullies, and gossip much more easily. Because the last place I was in was so toxic, I was at the mercy of my work bullies.
- You become the happy, fulfilled woman that you are meant to be. Look, we’ve only got so many years in the workplace. We deserve to enjoy what we do, work with nice people, and get paid a good wage. If any of those are missing from your life, what can you do to change that?
The difference between my current job and previous one is night and day. I can’t begin to tell you how much my life has improved now that I find meaning in my work—however mundane the task. I am much happier and ready to tackle any challenge the workday brings.
You deserve that, too.
What did you learn from the most difficult work environment you’ve ever had? Comment below!