Let’s make one thing clear—this is not about giving up your health, sanity, or life for your job. That ship has sailed. But when everybody is talking about “quiet quitting” and “not dreaming of labor,” wouldn’t it be nice to at least enjoy your job, even just a little bit?
Most people, after all, need their jobs. For eight or so hours a day for most of the week, work is something you and I just have to get done lest we lose the little comforts we have left.
The problem is that most jobs suck. Maybe you have a shit boss or your hours are too long. Some are stuck in a job they never wanted while others landed their dream careers but are burning out. Whatever it is, sometimes working jobs that we know we should be grateful for just makes us miserable.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Jobs can be enjoyable, and not in a corporate propaganda, drink the Kool-Aid kind of way. You can like your job, or at least hate it less, without being a total tool to the system. And since you have to do it (at least for now), then you might as well enjoy it.
Take a break
Is it possible that you actually like what you do but are just doing too much of it? There’s only one way to find out.
Distance makes the heart grow fonder, as they say. It might sound disgusting but not doing your job for a while might make you realize how much you actually like doing it. So file those vacation leaves and take a nice, long break or schedule short, frequent ones ahead of time to avoid burn out and give yourself something to look forward to every month.
Watch a TV show where the characters work a similar job
There’s nothing quite like seeing your daily hustle fictionalized, glamorized, and televised. It gives you an ego boost knowing something you do everyday is interesting enough for people to watch. It tells you what to do (or not to do) in your own life. And it shows you that things can always get better (if it’s that kind of show).
There’s likely a show out there for you: Mad Men for advertisers, The White Lotus for hotel staff, and the latest hit The Bear for cooks. Of course, accuracy varies from show to show, but even seeing characters do things you could never do can help you get through your workday.
Ask to change what’s bothering you
It could feel like you hate every single thing about your job, but if you pause and reflect, you might realize that there are just a handful of things you really cannot stand.
Write these down along with the reasons they make you so miserable and what you’d rather do instead. Then, ask your boss for a few minutes of their time and gather up the guts to tell them everything you wrote down. Opening up this way could be a simple solution to your problems. But your boss is not your therapist, so remember to stay professional and objective. Sometimes, higher-ups just don’t know what the daily grind is like for you (even though they should) and will be willing to make changes that benefit everyone. If they don’t, it will at least feel good to get that off your chest.
Make friends with your co-workers
Misery loves company.
You’re likely not the only one in your team who hates the game. Making friends with your co-workers gives you people to share that struggle with. Forming friendships in your workplace also makes that space about something other than just work, and that should make coming into the office easier to tolerate. You can think of it this way: Your job is not that thing you hate but have to do, it’s just where you meet your friends.
Milk every single benefit
A few freebies here and there won’t make up for everything but they can make up for some things.
If you have health insurance, regularly visit your physician and dentist for check ups. Ask HR to cover every mobile, internet, and transportation fee they can. Find every coupon and avail of every corporate partner discount. Eat that free hummus and guzzle the unlimited coffee.
Happiness will not just come to you—you must seek it.
Go on LinkedIn
Yes, the least sexy social media app can highlight all the worst parts of corporate life. But it can also show what the people at the top of their games are up to and how they got there, possibly inspiring you to keep climbing that proverbial corporate ladder when you’re just about ready to jump off. If not, it could also reveal just how much people are scrambling for jobs and help you appreciate yours a little more.
Remember: At the very least, you’re getting paid for it
You know that feeling on payday when suddenly you think your boss is great, your workload is reasonable, and your mental health is stable? Well, just remember that feeling is bound to come again.
Follow Romano Santos on Instagram.