How Do You Like Your Work?

Printer-Friendly Version

by Liz Sumner, M.A. CPC

That question is intentionally ambiguous to see where you go with it. Did you answer with the degree to which you like it — on a scale from “not much” to “really love it?” Did you go with a flip remark such as, “I like it over easy with a side of bacon (the kind you bring home)?” Or did you begin to examine what it takes to enjoy what you do?

Let’s assume that you are currently dissatisfied and looking for a change. How will you make sure that you don’t end up with the same thing all over again? You are responsible for your job satisfaction. Will you recreate the same dynamics at the next place?

How does a person design work that he or she likes? Job descriptions talk about required skill sets, but other qualities need to be considered to see if this situation is a good match for you. It’s your choice. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • How much autonomy do you like? How much community?
  • How much approval do you need to do your best work? In what form?
  • How much responsibility do you desire? Are you sure?
  • How much creativity and individuality does this industry encourage? Does that match with your style?
  • Are you ambitious? Do you see opportunity?
  • What about this work inspires your passion?
  • Whom do you want to serve? How does the company’s mission fit with your personal one?

HR Managers will tell you that an employee with adequate qualifications and a great attitude will succeed much more often than another candidate with impressive credentials and a chip on her shoulder. Liking your work is the main ingredient of a good attitude. Knowing what you like and how to get it is an essential part of happiness. You must bring your contentment with you, not expect it to be provided.

We’ve all worked with naysayers — the people who make you roll your eyes and cringe. I have a soft spot for them. I was once called into the general manager’s office and “talked to” because I was perceived as negative. I was flabbergasted. Here I was serving the company by pointing out all the pitfalls that I was foreseeing, and it wasn’t appreciated! That experience helps me remember that the crankiest Eeyore may think she’s doing everybody a service with her doom and gloom.

What will it take for you to be enthusiastic and positive instead of hesitant and resistant? What aspects of your work can you say a wholehearted “Yes!” to? How might you increase that and reduce the parts you dislike? Look beyond your initial inclination to be glib. What if there was a way for everyone to get what he wants? What if work worked for everyone?

How do you like your work? Simply stated, here’s how:

  1. Determine what you really want. What qualities and values are most important right now?
  2. Choose that. Ask for it. Move toward it. Assume you deserve to get it. Commit wholeheartedly. Determine what stands in your way.
  3. Stop doing what you hate. Recognize that you have choice. Don’t wait until somebody makes it for you.

You deserve to feel good about your work, and you are the only one who can measure your success.

Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker’s Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.

Liz Sumner Liz Sumner, M.A., CPC, of Find Your Way Coaching, specializes in mid-life career change. Are you happy with your direction? Do you feel good about yourself? Are you fearless? Joyful? Energized? You could be. Visit Find Your Way Coaching, or e-mail her at [email protected] or call her at 603-876-3956 for more information.

Succeed in the workplace! Find great tools and resources for succeeding at work: Workplace Resources for Dealing With Your Job.

Maximize your career and job-search knowledge and skills! Take advantage of The Quintessential Careers Content Index, which enables site visitors to locate articles, tutorials, quizzes, and worksheets in 35 career, college, job-search topic areas.