How To Love The Job You Have

Do you feel like you’re caught between a rock and an ergonomically incorrect office chair?

If you can’t seem to find joy in the workplace, it’s easy to blame the job, the people, or the culture.  On some level, most of us believe that making money and enjoying our job are mutually exclusive. And if you decide that’s true, you’re probably right. But, if you decide it isn’t true, you’re also right.

If you’re feeling stuck at your job, you’re likely rationalizing it by saying:

  • “I need to support my family.”
  • “I don’t want to change my lifestyle.”
  • “I don’t want to start from scratch.”

And while I certainly don’t advise feeding your kids canned beans for the next 6 months, I question whether your version of “success” is worth the empty feeling inside. We often think that financial success will provide fulfillment when the opposite is actually true. Fulfillment yields success. Because what you’re chasing isn’t the money, it’s the feeling that money gives you.

And make no mistake, I am not advising you to quit your job and blindly pursue your dream to start your own line of couture hamster fashions. You may be at the right place, but simply need to reconnect.

So how do you start loving your job? You create the right conditions:

1. As much as it may suck, taking responsibility is the first step to changing your situation. That doesn’t mean it’s all your fault. It means that you’re willing to do something about it. If you’re committed to not leaving (or not yet at least), check this out.

2. Chances are, the last time you felt fulfilled, you were engaged and challenged. Quit waiting for something interesting to happen. Make it happen yourself. When you move things from the “to do” list to the “did do” list, you empower yourself. What can you do to be more proactive? Can you ask for an interesting assignment instead of obeying your inbox?

3. Get a good reason. Sure, motivation can wax and wane, but your ability to push through the discomfort of the “fuck its” is only as strong as your reasons to do it.  Decide what you actually want to get out of this job (beyond the paycheck): 

  • Do you want to learn more about your field?
  • Do you want to learn how to manage a team?
  • Do you want to learn how to resist the office candy jar?

Whatever your goals are, find compelling reasons why they matter to you. If your reasons don’t move you, nothing will.

4. Incorporate what you love into what you do. What are the things you’d be happy to do and never get paid for? What are the things that excite you? If you enjoy being the go-to person for advice, it doesn’t mean you have to quit your job and become a therapist, it means you should include that talent in your day-to-day. And remember, your talent might not be what you do, but how you do it. A good friend of mine has the ability to break things down into logical pieces and build it back up again in a new way. His strange way of looking at things makes him successful in his career. If you can identify your talent and then use it to help others, you’ll find fulfillment faster than it just took autocorrect to fix my misspelling of “fulfillment.”

5. If you’re committed to shifting your perspective, staying motivated, and honing your talents, then it’s time to put it to work. What can you do to shift your environment to work for you? If you get assigned another crappy task, why not state your case for why you’d like to be more challenged? Maybe that task is a better fit for someone else who would actually enjoy doing it. Start to find ways you can align with your job and have your job align with you.

Ultimately, if you decide to love your job, you’ll love it. If you decide to hate it, you’ll hate it. It comes down to choice. Which will you choose?

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Meaning vs. Happiness: The Ultimate Showdown

The more I read about happiness, the more unhappy I get. “Happiness is being in the moment.   Happiness is living your life’s purpose.  Happiness is having a meaningful life.” 

Screw them all.

I’m pretty sure happiness can’t be described in six words like a fortune cookie or a pick-up line.  Yes, I want happiness, but I want the hard to get happiness, the happiness that takes at least as long as it takes to reform healthcare or find my keys.  I want the ass-kicking, fun-loving, I don’t really care what you think about me I’m really happy happiness.

But, one cannot thrive on cotton candy, puppy cuddles, and dance parties alone. We crave fulfillment. But what is it that fills us fully? Is it happiness or meaning? Which is better? Which is more important?

Many of us have been taught that a meaningful life is a happy life. I can assure you this is not the case. My last job before founding Aligned Holistics was at a non-profit that supported young girls who were victims of sex-trafficking. It was a recipe ripe for burnout. Fulfillment wasn’t enough to counter the struggles, stress, and sleepless nights. But the opposite life, focused on happiness alone, would be devoid of any content or meaning (champagne brunch on a Tuesday, anyone?) And I knew that would soon turn me into an overweight sad sack of organic brownies.

I recently read a Stanford study that looked at happiness and meaning as they relate to relationships. While having a social network contributed to both meaning and happiness, the type of relationship created a distinct difference. For example, spending time with loved ones created meaning, but not happiness while spending time with friends created happiness, with little meaning.

I found that hilarious.

“Loved ones,” like family, are people we don’t choose. And often, “quality time” can feel like walking a tightrope over shark-infested waters. I love my family, but I never think “Gee, I could really use a fun day of frolicking, let me call my dad!” In fact, I usually call them in the aftermath of actual fun, when I’m feeling tired, down, and/or slightly hungover. The point is, loved ones are distinctly different than friends whom we choose based on pleasure.

Speaking of family, in an effort to “pursue happiness” many of my friends engage in the “parent paradox,” believing that kids are a means to happiness. But if you’re a parent (or around one,) it won’t surprise you to hear that the Stanford study linked parenthood with high stress and reduced happiness. While that does discourage me from procreating, their lives do rank higher in meaning. (You’re welcome, mom!)

Fulfillment also requires taking action, as demonstrated in this acrostic. Which, as an aside, totally makes me want to write a post purely in stick-poem form. Note to self.

Ultimately, we all want to be happy. And while meaning does not consistently correlate, it’s a powerful driver of human behavior. And happiness without meaning is, well, meaningless. While it’s possible to create happiness by focusing on meaning, you cannot create meaning by focusing on happiness alone.

So which is more important to fulfillment? Who cares, they both matter! But if I had to choose, I’d go for meaning. It’s richness and depth puts you in a better position to find happiness. And, if all else fails, find a 6 word phrase that floats your boat.

How to Lose Your Job in 7 Easy Steps


Have you ever been in a drama-filled work environment? As a former non-profit employee, that’s pretty much all we did (myself included!) We fed it, we bitched about it, and yet we loved it.

Inappropriate workplace drama occurs everywhere. Often, it stems from multiple egos with multiple insecurities all in the same room competing as they try work together. Fueled by caffeine and fear-based cycling thoughts, we tend to futurize, personalize, and rationalize. All this adds up to gossip, passive-aggressive behavior, and complaining. Ultimately, it’s all caused by the same root fears: a fear of lack, loss, and failure.

When you’re battling a fear of failure, you focus (consciously and subconsciously) on the negative. You don’t take responsibility for your actions because you see yourself as the victim. You’re a ticking time-bomb with an easily detonated sore spot around being not good enough. Everything you see will mirror back this insecurity.

So why is this an issue at work? Because this behavior will hold you back, or worse, get you fired. I once worked in an office that seemed to be a revolving door of employees. Each terminated employee followed the same protocol:

How to Lose Your Job in 7 Easy Steps:

1. Don’t rest on your laurels.

A lack of education or technical abilities is not a reason to get fired. When you stop learning, you stop living (and stop working!) Continue to look at how you can improve your skills. Bonus: Your job will often pay for it!

2. Don’t take it the wrong way.

Accept positive and negative feedback. If you have a gear of not being good enough, you probably can’t handle any type of feedback. Remember, it isn’t meant to be critical, it’s an opportunity to grow. Stop taking it personally and learn from it!

3. Don’t bitch about your coworkers or company.

It sounds like a no-brainer, but we bond with others over complaining. The worse you feel about yourself and your situation, the more likely you are to verbalize what you think to the wrong people. Talk less, listen more, focus on the positive.

4. Don’t hesitate to take a step.

Ever regret not speaking up with your good idea in a meeting? It felt safe at the moment, but then “Chad” got all the glory! Fear of failure and fear of loss prevent us from taking risks. Quit playing small and embrace your gifts! Fortune favors the bold.

5. Don’t doubt yourself.

If you don’t believe in yourself, neither will anyone else. It’s that simple.

6. Don’t be a drama queen.

If you’re overly emotional, your breakdowns make you a liability. By all means, have your feelings and don’t bottle them up. But there’s no need to make a scene at work. Your coworker is not your therapist. That’s what happy hour is for.

7. Don’t stay at a job just because you’re there now.

It’s a recipe to remain stagnant and unhappy. Dare to explore what lights you up. Because if you’re unhappy, you’re likely to do steps 1-6 and lose your job anyway.


The Takeaway:

Ultimately, your fear of failure will stay with you until you’re ready to address it head-on. Until you’re ready, don’t lose your job in the process.

Do you do any of these 7 career-sabotaging moves? I certainly have! Share your story in the Comments section below!