Enjoy Your Work

Some people say, “You have a good job if it pays you a lot of money. Nothing else matters.”

Others say, “I’ll get a job I love after I’m financially secure.”

Yet financial success rarely comes while suffering at a job you hate.

“Work is only as good as it’s enjoyed, not as it’s paid.” — L. Ron Hubbard from The Problems of Work

If you love your job, you look forward to starting each morning, you have a good time and feel satisfied at the end. If you also produce a valuable service or product, you can earn plenty of money. It’s a fun game!

So, what if the work pays well, but sucks life out of you?

Try these four steps.

Four Steps to Find Joy in Your Work

  1. List what you like about your work. What makes it worth doing? For example, working with good people, improving the world, doing a technically perfect job and so on.
  2. List what you dislike about your work. What makes you want to quit? For example, long hours, customer complaints, health risks, unfriendly bosses and so on.
  3. List your purposes for your work. Why did you start? What is the big picture? Why do you do this work?
  4. Go back and add items to each of the above three lists. Do this over and over until you feel more joy for your work.

When your likes, dislikes and purposes are balanced, your work becomes a game that you can enjoy playing.

To demonstrate these four steps, below is a story of how Miss Jason lost, but then found her love for teaching.

Miss Jason Loses Her Cool

The shrill 3:30 school bell jolts Miss Jason mid-sentence. Her students erupt with chatter and scaping chairs. Miss Jason’s rage builds in her gut until she explodes.

“Sit down and shut up!” she bellows, her voice echoing off the walls. Her students freeze in shock. They turn around and sit down. The room is suddenly silent except for the tick of the clock.

Miss Jason’s hands tremble, her face is hot. Never in 10 years of teaching has she lost control like this. She sees her reflection in the window. Eyes wild, cheeks flushed, posture rigid. She doesn’t recognize herself.

She scans the room. The motivational posters are faded and peeling. The desks are crammed together and covered with scratches. Is this really her life?

She notices her students are staring at her. She can’t remember what she was saying before the bell rang, so says, “Okay, you can go now.”

Miss Jason sinks into her chair, holding back tears. She pictures the dull faculty meetings, stacks of paperwork and the utter lack of respect. She glances at the mountain of ungraded essays on her desk and feels empty.

That night, Miss Jason curls up on her lumpy couch, half-empty wine glass in hand. Had teaching always been this miserable? What about her love for teaching? Could her passion be rekindled?

She thinks, “I hate this job. I’ve had enough. I need a change.”

Miss Jason Does the Exercise

Miss Jason reads the advice at the top of this article and decides to give the four steps a try.

She does the first two steps. She writes:

1. What I like about teaching?
I can go on long summer trips.
I like a few of the kids

2. What I dislike about teaching?
Student complaints.
I have to teach them how to pass tests.
My pay is worse than garbage collectors.
I sometimes need to buy my own classroom supplies.
Kids won’t listen.
Their tests dropped last month.
I work 65 hours per week.

She feels upset with the second list. Then laughs at the first list. She goes to Step 3.

3. My purposes for teaching?
Help kids succeed.
Use my education degree.

She then does Step 4 and adds more items to each list.

1. More Likes:
I like it when a student understands a new concept.

I like it when a student thanks me.

2. More Dislikes:
Parents don’t respect me.

3. More purposes:
Originally, I wanted to give amazing classes to my students.
I want a fulling job.
I want my kids to love gaining knowledge they can use.
I still have a purpose to do something good for the world.

She reviews her lists again and discovers a flood of other things she likes.

I love teaching the kids who remember their lessons.
I enjoy job security.
I like helping kids who want one-on-one help.
I believe I’m making lifetime impacts.

She thinks, “Wow! I forgot the big picture. Okay, I’ve changed my mind. I’m really happy I’m a teacher.”

She puts on some music, brews some herbal tea and prepares for the next day.

Miss Jason Loves Teaching

The next morning, she enjoys her drive to school. She enjoys looking at her clean and organized classroom. She thinks, “This will be a good day.”

As her students arrive, she greets each of them by name.

“Hello Fred.”

“Hi there Natasha.”

“Nice to see you Julio.”

When everyone is ready, her eyes glisten, her face shines and she smiles with joy. “Good morning class!”