By Leigh-Ann Athanasius & Kathleen Kibi

We have spent the past month talking about different relationships we have at work. How we wanted to end off the month is talking about the most important person you will have a relationship at work with; you!

Work occupies most of our waking hours so it should be in your best interest to have a positive relationship with it. This doesn’t mean that you need to absolutely love what you do. But you shouldn’t have to dread going to work either.

Ask yourself the question…

How do I feel about my job?

There are a few different ways that you can answer this question but it generally comes down to two factors; (1) the why you do what you do and (2) how long you’ve been doing it for. A new graduate would likely have a very different answer to someone who’s been in the game for many years.

Consider why you got into this industry/field in the first place. Was it out of convenience? Was it something you were passionate about? Was it yours and your family’s expectations? Or was it a combination of a few of these that led you to this career? Doing this sort of self-evaluation can help you understand your current relationship with work.

Not sure how you feel about your job? Take this quiz that may give you an idea.

If you’re one of the lucky ones, your job is your passion or at least part of the things that you are passionate about. You probably wake up excited to go and do what you do. In some professions, we generally really hope that that’s how these people feel. For example, when you go see a medical professional, you will hope that they are dedicated to what they do and therefore want to give you the best care.

But for a lot of others, there may not be a burning passion for that job. So how can we create a positive relationship with work when we don’t necessarily love it?

How to improve how you feel about work

If you don’t have the most positive relationship with work, here are a few things you can do to help improve it:

  • The first thing to do is to commit to doing a good job. Even if you think that your work is mundane, you should try to do your best and deliver quality work. This will not only create a positive impression of you to your employer, but could help you feel better about your work. For now, it is the job you have, and you should do it well. When you are proud of your work, you are likely to think more positively about it.
  • Set SMART career goals. Having an end goal that you are working towards can give you purpose if you don’t already find that in your work. These don’t always have to be grand and life-altering. Small, achievable goals can be more fulfilling and encouraging.
  • Look for the little things that are positive about your job. Maybe you get along well with your co-workers, or you like your workspace. Give yourself little things to look forward to that surround your work.
  • Find a work-life balance. If to you working really is just a necessary evil, take the time to pick up hobbies that you enjoy. Don’t pressure yourself to be the best at it or find a way to turn it into your job (unless it happens relatively organically, then good for you, you found work that you have a positive relationship with). Generally, you’re aiming to make the work that you are indifferent about, just one aspect of your life and not let it consume you.

It can be difficult to establish a healthy relationship with work but it is important that you do. Take the time to evaluate how you feel about work. Actively make the effort to improve your relationship with work if it is not where you’d like it to be.

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