I have a handful of girlfriends who are wholeheartedly in love with their careers and their current jobs. They are paid well, have understanding and considerate bosses and have a genuine passion for the field in which they work. I am always in awe when someone speaks about their “good job” and their love of going to work every day, because these declarations of happy employees are few and far between amongst all of the working people I know.
Just this morning, I received a “What’s App” message from a girlfriend announcing that she was basically over her job at a particular law firm because her pay raise and bonus were not what she expected. I immediately inquired if those were the only reasons she is seeking a new job, or were there other underlying circumstances that warranted her desire to leave. She admitted that she had been unhappy there for a while and was only staying because the money was “decent.”
She also went on to say that she considered her uninspiring raise and bonus as a sign that “one should not stay in a toxic situation just for money.” I then asked her, if there was anything she or her current job could do to make her fall back in love with her career, what would it be and her answers were quite familiar.
Partly inspired by conversations with some of my friends and colleagues, here are four tips to assist in bringing back the love to your job and career:
1) Speak with your Boss.
There are many issues that may plague you in your everyday work life. It may include incompetent staff, unreliable or non-existent resources, and/or both. If you have access to your boss or supervisor to speak with them about how your job and productivity may be improved in specific areas, you should advise them so solutions may be implemented. Unfortunately, due to red tape or office politics, some hands may be tied and readily available solutions may not exist, however, you can’t fix something unless you acknowledge and speak about its faults. Speak up! Your changes and solutions may be right around the corner.
2) Seek the work/life balance you desire.
When I worked for a real estate developer, my hours were pretty decent. I would be in the office most days by 9:30 a.m. and gone no later than 6:30 pm. There were some days I would have to remain in the office until midnight, but those days were few and far between. I never had to take work home and I never had to work on the weekends. I chose to work for a small company because I knew I was not the type of attorney that could stay at work until 3:00 am and still love life like some of my Big Firm attorney friends. That life was simply not for me. I understood that may pay grade would not be comparable to theirs, but I knew myself well enough to not even seek that type of job. Truly accept who you are and what would make you happy as an employee, even if there are small bumps in the road.
3) Expect rewards for excellence.
Inquire about company based rewards and bonuses for excellence on the job and employee retention programs. I had dinner last night with one of my girlfriends who loves her “GAJ”. She told me that her company rewards their employees who have been there for at least 3 years with an annual bonus, partly due to the fact that they understand they can’t compete with larger companies and firms who may have more perks such as on-site workout facilities or daycares. She acknowledged that her company recognizes that they are understaffed and overworked, so to keep employees happy, they reward them for the good work that they do. By inquiring about specific reward based measures within your company, you may be able to add a self-imposed challenge to your work day, which can yield favorable results for your professional review and your wallet.
4) Seek change, if necessary.
Every time I speak with someone who loves their “GAJ”, I am encouraged. I have worked at a couple of jobs that I absolutely hated for one reason or another. My transition from an employee to self – employed attorney has been wrought with anxiety, glee, worry and tenacity; however, I am closer to the work position I have always dreamed of. Your job or career may not be filled with glee at all times, but you deserve to be happy and in love with what you do for a living and who you work for. If this requires change in your industry, job or career, then by all means pursue that change so that you may redevelop the love you once had for your career.
Rashida Maples, Esq. is Founder and Managing Partner of J. Maples & Associates (www.jmaplesandassociates.com). She has practiced Entertainment, Real Estate and Small Business Law for 9 years, handling both transactional and litigation matters. Her clients include R&B Artists Bilal and Olivia, NFL Superstar Ray Lewis, Fashion Powerhouse Harlem’s Fashion Row and Hirschfeld Properties, LLC.
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