Is it possible to enjoy work?
Back around the start of my career, I recall a conversation with a colleague.
“Work isn’t meant to be enjoyable, that’s why it’s called work” – she said.
But I enjoyed what I was doing (and I think she may have done too). Each time I found myself not enjoying work, I’d move onto a new role or a new assignment. Not to run away, but instead to learn new things and challenge myself in different ways. It kept things fresh and interesting.
Even at the point I left corporate life in 2019, I didn’t not enjoy my role. There were parts of it I really loved, including the people I worked with. It just wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life and it felt like the right time to start on that new journey.
I love the work I do now as a coach, although so much of it doesn’t feel like work. It’s important that I keep this feeling for as long as I can, or made the necessary changes.
Why shouldn’t we enjoy work?
Contrary to popular belief, many people enjoy their work. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they enjoy everything they do, all the time, but their work may bring them a mix of fulfilment, intellectual stimulation, learning new things and helping others.
We spend so much time at work
Given that we spend approximately 1/3 of our lives working, wouldn’t it make sense to spend this time doing something we enjoy?
Time flies when we’re having fun
Not that we’re trying to wish the time away, but time typically goes much quicker when we’re doing something we enjoy and even more so, with people we like.
Positive impact on others around us
When we enjoy what we do, this can indirectly create a positive ripple to others around us, including our peers, team members and even our clients.
“If you look after your staff, they will look after your customers. It’s that simple.” – Richard Branson.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
When you don’t enjoy work, you won’t just feel bored, but sometimes become a bore too! And not just at work, this will leak into other areas of your life too.
Playfulness can offer a different perspective
Playing can make us more creative and bring different ideas and solutions into our work.
More engagement and better results
In summary, it is possible to enjoy work and we shouldn’t feel guilty about this. There are so many positive benefits that can come as a result.
8 ways to enjoy work
So you’re opening up to the idea of enjoying work, how do we actually go about doing this?
Pick ‘n’ mix
To the extent that you can, work with people you like and get on with – like-minded people, different people, collaborative, stimulating, inspiring etc.
Gamify your work. Look for opportunities to build in games, stories, or targets, whether these are official or unofficial. Help others to do this too for even greater impact.
Make decisions – however big or small – about what you work on, how you work, when or where you work. Sometimes knowing you have control, even over small things, can make a big difference.
Many people get a lot of satisfaction from helping others. These could be clients, customers, team members, new starters, others with less experience or a different skill-set to you.
Learn new tricks
Continuously learning new things can help us to develop and grow and enjoy our work more. This includes things to support us (or others) in our current role, as well as to help you step up to your next role.
Curiosity can lead to increased knowledge or improved way of working. This can help to help others, make things easier for you to do your job and take away monotony, stress or errors.
Don’t be too serious
Sometimes we get stuck in a serious rut and need to give ourselves a kick to get out of it.
Reality check – are we living to work, or working to live?
So, is it really possible to enjoy work? I believe that it is.
During parts of my corporate career I was fully engaged with and really enjoyed work. Now I’m fully in charge of my destiny – well, to the extent that anyone running as business can – I truly love what I do.
Whatever counts as work for you, experiment with ways in which you can enjoy work too.
If you don’t enjoy what you do and would like discuss what options you have, get in touch for a complimentary Career Discussion to learn more.
Thanks for reading. Check out other Blue Diamond articles to help you take control of your work and life.