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Can you learn to love your job?

I recently was asked by a candidate of mine “Why I do you work so late? Are you crazy?!” The person asking me couldn’t figure out why I would ever want to work long hours, work some unpaid Saturdays and spend a lot of my time in the office. My reply sounded something like this “I love my job, I don’t actually have an exact answer for why I work late, but I enjoy what I do and never feel begrudged about turning up for work in the morning. It all feels very normal.”

I’m definitely not saying you have to be a workaholic to love your job. That’s just my personality! Although this is the case, can you really learn to enjoy a job you don’t enjoy?

I think it’s fare to say most people have been in roles they really dislike, but think they should ‘learn to love it’.Personally, I think you should always give your job a good amount of effort and try to get engaged and excited about it. If you can’t, then you probably need to evaluate where the problem comes from. Is it a management problem, office politics or a horrible working environment? Perhaps it’s just you and this current job role really isn’t for you. Maybe you can’t learn to love this position?

I have conversations like this with my candidates on a daily basis, and it really is hard to give advice. I’m obviously not the person doing the job, and I can’t specify as to why they are currently not enjoying their role. I want to make sure my candidates are making the right decisions for them and therefore I always ask the following questions and try to ascertain what advice to give:

1.) Have you discussed your situation with your boss?

2.) If yes, have they subsequently made any effort to help you, and retain you in their organisation?

3.) Have you spoken with your colleagues to see how they feel?

4.) Do you find real value in your job?

I normally encounter a variety of answers to all the above questions. I normally advice my candidates to make sure they do all the above to see exactly where they stand with their employer. If their boss hasn’t tried or hasn’t taken any reasonable action towards sorting the problem, then I normally suggest the candidate looks at their options with work and explore how I can find them a position that will genuinely improve on their current role. In all honestly, the company you work for is your choice. You applied for that position however long ago, and thus must have had a reason to want to work there. If that reason has been removed due to a variety of factors, then why not find that reason again somewhere else?

You could probably find reasons to stay. You can either continue to become bogged down in your role, or find something more exciting and enjoyable. The decision to do one or the other is ultimately in your hands – so make sure you make the best decision for you!

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