Now that Valentine’s Day has passed, it's time to move the celebration beyond your partner and use these tips to fall in love with your job.
I don't care if it's a new sweetheart, new client, new pair of boots or a new job. After a while, the thrill will fade.
Sure, you can spring for more footwear and get the rush of a new chunky heel. But what about when your work becomes, well, workaday? And when you spend 40-plus hours in the office every week, you run a serious risk of resentful ennui. It becomes vital to rekindle your romance with where you are now, and what you already do, so you can dive into that work with real presence, focus and energy.
This Valentine's Day week, don't limit the celebration to your partner. Use these tips to help you fall in love with your job. Or fall in deep, platonic appreciation and respect, while knowing that it will soon be time to move on.
Either way, it will be a work affair you don't have to report to HR.
Consider your people
As my colleague Terri Trespicio observed in a piece for meQuilibrium.com, love for your work is often directly connected to your relationships with your coworkers. In fact, Trespicio discovered a study showing that long-term care facility workers who "felt they worked in a loving, caring culture reported higher levels of satisfaction and teamwork."
These relationships give color and sound to your work. As Trespicio notes, "what will make you a more resilient, contented person will never come solely from the ego boost of doing a good job. It will come from the people you've loved along the way."
This week, take a step back from your day-to-day tasks. Who do you take lunch with? Who is the one who actually makes it fun to replace the printer's toner cartridge? Who goes for coffee with you when you've had a terrible night's sleep? Make them a card to say thanks. Buy an extra latte. Celebrate that everyday, no-big-deal, sustaining office love.
Consider your body
I hear the record scratch here, and you asking: what does my body have to do with how I feel about my job?
The question proves my point. You are in fact a human body during the execution of your job which more than likely includes long stretches of sitting still. Now look at this Washington Post report on the perils of sitting for long periods of time, showing that prolonged inactivity makes us tired, mentally foggy and, over time, ill.
A great deal of your bad romance with work may not be coming from this or that boring assignment or that annoying coworker or this sense of mild dread that your creativity is withering on the vine. No — you might be out of love with your job because your physical body is suffering and that's affecting how you experience everything.
This week, bump up or start a new kind of physical activity during the day. A walk. A set of desk tricep dips. Lunch yoga. Taekwondo.
Also, drink more water than you normally do, and eat nourishing, yummy food when you're hungry. Give your body some TLC and see how that careful tenderness changes the nature of your days.
Consider your purpose
The bloom completely exits the rose when your workday is nothing but numbness and drudgery. You go from task to task, checking the boxes, waiting to live your real life once you're off the clock.
Of course, we all deal with drudge. Most jobs are not glamorous mile-a-minute photo shoot affairs! (And if yours is, we are jealous and will try to steal it.) It's possible though, that you may have simply lost sight of what those tasks really mean. Maybe this Valentine's Day week it's time to look hard at what you care about and what gives you a sense of purpose and meaning.
You might do a formal purpose of impact exercise. Or you might examine your daily tasks and see how they contribute to a larger good. Look closely at tasks or projects that you are good at and take pleasure in. Chances are, they are inherently connected to your personal sense of purpose, and bringing them into greater awareness will give you greater satisfaction with your work.