Can You Love Your Work On A Bad Day?

By: Marti Benjamin, MBA

Professional Certified Coach | Certified Career Management Coach

Champion for a Great Work-Life!

A close friend of mine, Marcela, described a conversation she had with one of her colleagues who’s generally negative about work. Marcela had mentioned a frustrating incident that had just occurred and the colleague seized the opportunity to rant about how horrible it was to work for this company.

“I didn’t like the way that customer treated me, but I love my work here,” Marcella responded.

“You can’t say that,” claimed the co-worker. “If you really loved your work, difficult people wouldn’t get to you.”

Whose expectations are off base—Marcela’s or her colleagues? When you love your work, is it an all-or-nothing proposition?

My vote for the best perspective goes to Marcela, and not just because she’s my friend. I think it’s unrealistic to expect that a great job will be heavenly 100% of the time. But how much love is enough? Or rather, how much frustration and unhappiness is too much?

Each of us will answer that question differently, depending on our personal definition of a great work-life. However, certain signs and symptoms indicate that there might be reason for concern.

  1. Your work stress frequently carries to your non-work life. If you are unable to leave the stress of work at the company door, but often carry it to your home and family, that’s a sign you’re too unhappy in your job.
  2. You dread the start of your workweek. Many people prefer longer weekends and more time off work, but they don’t dread work. When it’s rewarding most of the time and you feel positive about your contribution, work is satisfying.
  3. You feel incompetent or unable to meet the employer’s expectations. If, after a reasonable time, you can’t get the hang of the job and always feel unsure of what to do, the job is probably not a good fit for your skills and talents. You can either learn new skills or find a company that needs your current skill set. If the skills required of your role are beyond your capability, find a different role that allows you to use the skills you enjoy.
  4. You must compromise your personal values. Your values define for you what’s right and what’s not. If your values, such as honesty or excellence, are earning you criticism you’d do well to find an employer that values the same qualities you value.
  5. Your work doesn’t seem to matter. It’s disheartening if you can’t see how your work makes life better for your customers. Learn more about the company and those who buy the products or services and see your work from the consumer’s point of view. If it seems irrelevant to you, find work and contribute in a way that satisfies your personal needs.

These are just a few of the obvious signs that you don’t love you current work enough to settle for it. I’m sure there are other indications that you need a change.

What are your indicators that you don’t love your work enough?

Marti Benjamin inspires great work-lives in her business and career coaching practice. In this, her third career devoted to the service to others, she applies the discipline of business while executing the mission of service. Since founding Business Energetix in 2004, Marti’s proprietary coaching systems have led fed-up professionals from frustration to a richly rewarding work-life.



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