The idea that work should be fun is relatively new. Throughout much of human history – in fact, since the time that Adam and Eve were expelled from paradise and doomed to get their daily bread by the sweat of their brows – labor was perceived at best as an inevitable obligation, at worst as a curse. And today, most people on the planet are happy if they just manage to find a job, while thinking more about money and stability than about happiness.
However, this is not at all a reason to put up with the routine, boredom and stress at work, giving up your desire to enjoy it. Striving to make your work an important and meaningful part of life is a natural desire of a modern person. And it takes comparatively little to achieve that: recognizing that the work we do today has many merit and is in no way inferior to other occupations. There are no uninteresting professions in the world, and the joy that we can receive from our own, primarily depends on ourselves.
The myth of the vocation
Things don’t go well, the boss is unhappy, and colleagues, on the contrary, radiate energy and enthusiasm. If this situation drags on, it is difficult to resist the thought: “I guess I was wrong with the choice of specialty.”
Indeed, when choosing a future profession, we often focus not so much on our true desires as on the ideas of our parents, the momentary labor market conditions and other circumstances. But even if the chosen occupation does not correspond to our aspirations, it is not at all a drama: today it is not only impossible to determine the type of your activity once and for all, but also unnecessary.
“Some of them have been clarifying the meaning of the term“ vocation ”all their lives,” says Svetlana Chumakova, a Russian representative of the International Coaching Federation (ICF), “and from time to time ask themselves:“ I have achieved a certain goal, but what does this mean for me and what am I going to do next ? “
The desire to change the field of activity seems strange to many: we regret the time and effort spent on education and mastering basic work skills, and are afraid to lose what we have already achieved in the professional field. At the same time, the science fiction writer Ivan Efremov predicted that the man of the future will master at least three professions in his life – and today, less and less incredible remains in this statement.
“We still have pretty much epic thinking,” says coach and business consultant Leonid Krol. – I learned – go to work, and then you will be sent to a well-deserved rest. And we dare not make our life out of an epic a collection of stories.
A person can have one vocation at 25 and another at 35. You have to try yourself in different things, and not necessarily at the cost of five years of education. There should be a lot of short travels and hobbies in life, you need to try new images and study yourself differently. “
To avoid dependence on work and feel like not only an employee, but also a person, it is worth asking yourself the question several times a day: “What do I really want now?” “We often find ourselves“ assigned ”to our work and forget who we really are, – comments Leonid Krol. “At the same time, a person who has learned what he wants at the moment goes to another level: he himself formulates questions and answers them, becoming his own master.”
The second way to constantly keep in touch with your inner world is to include things that are not related to work in the surrounding space. It can be photographs of loved ones on the desktop or a favorite book hidden in one of its drawers – something that will allow you to forget about professional problems for a while.
“The world is trying to conquer man,” says Leonid Krol, “and in this way we seem to put ourselves and our dreams above the sea of problems raging around”.
Understand your needs …
What if we are not yet ready to find a new occupation? “Another self” can be successfully sought in the existing job – for this we need to figure out what we like about it. Let’s try to figure out our own parameters of good work and separate them from those that were cultivated in our family.
“My grandfather went to the service at eight in the morning all his life,” says 23-year-old Olga. – And when I found an excellent home work, my grandmother and mother could not put up with it for a long time. They were sure: if I do not go to work on the first trolleybus, this is a bad job. “
To understand what you personally mean by good work, list its features. Do you want to help others or seek recognition? Have a free schedule or a car with a driver? This list will allow you to find out about your unmet needs: status, respect for others, or a sense of freedom.
“Dream” a job for yourself, – advises Leonid Krol. – Think carefully about all the details: a large or small team, what the boss looks like, where the workplace is, what assignments are given. First, the ideal job is described in this way, then good and finally acceptable. And if at first you wanted your boss to know eight languages, then by the end, perhaps, just agree to a polite person. By drawing such mental pictures, you help yourself to accept reality. “
… And come to terms with the rejection of them
When a job meets our basic needs and expectations, we feel comfortable. And if that doesn’t happen, we inevitably experience frustration and stress.
“When I got a job, they told me that I could stay at home two days a week,” complains 26-year-old Lina. – But I have to work a full week. My presence in the office is necessary, but I am still very offended. “
Reality rarely meets all our desires: freedom is poorly compatible with stability, and power – with the possibility of direct and easy communication with others. To avoid disappointment, we need to calmly part with some part of our desires.
“Choosing one thing, we invariably refuse the other,” says Svetlana Chumakova. “But rejection will not be painful if we realize that this choice is our own.”
Finding out what is absolutely unacceptable for you in the professional field is no less important than determining your own expectations and wishes. As you paint yourself an image of the ideal job, identify what you hate.
“Each person can set their own limit of patience and in the future build their behavior, referring to it, – says Svetlana Chumakova. – For example, a day he is able to withstand one big scandal with his superiors or three small colleagues with equal status, but no more. And if the stress level at his job exceeds what he is willing to accept, it’s time to take action. “
Everything has its time
Anyone who brings work home or before going to bed will certainly “replay” work situations in his head, risks his health: an excessive dose of business worries is fraught with deep depression. This is the conclusion reached by the psychologist Sabine Sonnentag from the University of Konstanz (Germany), who studied the behavior of 87 representatives of various professions.
Those of the respondents who worked longer than others and experienced more stress could not forget about work in the evening, and as a result, they felt tired and were constantly in a bad mood. The psychologist warns: “Anyone who is constantly busy with work may suddenly turn out to be completely incapable of it.”
Get away from stress …
What if the stress level at work becomes unbearable? There are only three options: to accept (to the detriment of yourself), leave, or try to turn the tide. If you have chosen the third path, take action before overwork will exhaust you.
“We need to learn to be aware of our emotions and cope with them,” advises Svetlana Chumakova. – You can meet with your superiors and discuss the current situation. You and your leader should understand what each of you expects from the other, and then discuss what you can give the organization and what you cannot do. “
However, stress is not always unambiguously harmful: in a competitive environment, it can serve as an additional stimulus for development.
“Ask yourself: what gives me stress? – Svetlana Chumakova offers. – Does he destroy me or warm up my interest in what is happening? And if he is a natural part of my work, what ways of responding to him can I choose? “
… And out of boredom
Boredom isn’t just when we have nothing to do. This feeling is associated with a lack of motivation, and there may be several reasons for this: the routine nature of the work, an a priori lack of interest in it, or a lack of respect for the organization in which we work.
But we still have the opportunity to treat our work with great enthusiasm. The main thing is to say goodbye to the myth that elsewhere we could find something more interesting and suitable for us: our perception makes work exciting. Suffice it to recall the janitor from the notebooks of Sergei Dovlatov, who, looking at the garbage, figured out which apartment he was from, thereby proving that there is a place for creativity in any business.
“A financial manager in his fantasies can see himself as a jazz musician, but at the same time understand that he needs to provide for his family,” says Svetlana Chumakova. “Therefore, he needs to understand what value the existing work is for him now, how it can be related to his dream, and on the basis of this, find new, unexpected perspectives in his occupation”.
To overcome melancholy, we must try to get creative with the work entrusted to us: for example, invent another – faster, more effective, or at least just more aesthetic – way of doing it. By overcoming our own inertia, we will have the moral right to challenge our superiors: “Give me the opportunity to show what I am capable of, or try myself in something else.”
Dare to leave
Sometimes we have to take a decisive step: we do not see any benefits in our work, no improvements are expected, which means that we have only one thing left to do – to leave. This decision can create fear: what if I don’t find the right job again? What if I overestimated my capabilities and have to pay for self-confidence? However, this line of thought is not the only possible one.
“Why not see your departure as an exit to another level? – offers Leonid Krol. – At some point, you need to understand: who is more – me or my job? If a person considers himself more than his job, he is not afraid to lose it. “
Parting with a previous job involves looking for a new one, so it is worth remembering what makes us attractive in the eyes of a potential employer. We can understand this more clearly by asking ourselves: How valuable am I to the organization in which I am going to work? What are my strengths and weaknesses? What are my growth prospects? Answering these questions at the right time will remind you that our ability and vitality will keep us mobile in the labor market.
“People who know what they want and know how to present themselves correctly have more chances to find a business to their liking,” says Leonid Krol. Finally, deliberately parting with an inappropriate place for oneself, a person receives an incredible sense of freedom and inner renewal as a reward. After all, professional life – like life in general – never stands in one place.
Women start … and win
To successfully realize oneself in work, a person needs to possess certain qualities. Social psychologist Takhir Bazarov is convinced that they are more characteristic of women.
Psychologies: What qualities help us to be successful at work?
IQ is no longer the main indicator of the effectiveness of a specialist. Its place is taken by EQ – the coefficient of emotionality associated with imagery of thinking and flexibility of behavior – qualities that are more inherent in women.
A typical example: men rarely allow themselves to communicate with their subordinates in a friendly way, while women-leaders understand that it is possible and necessary to help each other regardless of the difference in the official position – this is the strategy that ensures the greatest efficiency of the team’s work today.
There is one more difference: a man is more likely to reward an employee with the necessary skills, while a woman will be interested in a man with “burning eyes” who has high motivation – and, as practice shows, this is a more successful position for modern business.
Are women becoming more serious competitors for men?
In one of my trainings for top managers there is such an exercise: on a large sheet of paper, we write down 40-50 reasons forcing people to behave in a certain way in life, and each participant chooses those closest to him. Now, in the top five motives, women have a career and money, and men – love, family and a dream.
Successful men have worked too hard over the past 15 years to feel the need for rest. In addition, women in business feel freer than men: formal status is not so important for them. Moreover, if a woman does not have a career, she will take care of the house, and few people will blame her for this, and this is not accepted by men.