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Jane Boucher helps you find success—and enjoy working for it—in the workplace.
Be a Learner
The quickest way to fall out of love with your job is to stop learning. When you expand your knowledge or skills, it gives you a sense of accomplishment, which in turn makes you feel more successful and content.
Some jobs don't easily lend themselves to new opportunities. Or maybe you've hit the ceiling on promotions and new projects. Take Mark, my next-door neighbor. Five years of working at a department store, he was promoted to manager. Aside from the title, his duties remained the same. "I'd feel ungrateful complaining after they gave me a raise," Mark said to his wife. "But I don't feel fulfilled." Looking over the company's policies, Mark's wife noticed a tuition reimbursement option. Why not take some classes on the company's dime? "The store was near a Hispanic neighborhood. I always wanted to learn Spanish," says Mark. He wrote up a proposal, explaining how becoming bilingual could benefit the company. His request was approved.
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Feel bored at your job? Look for new ways to challenge yourself. To grow. It's up to you.
Be a Giver
I love my professional speaking career, but a few years ago I really got stressed out. That's when my best friend's favorite saying came to mind: It's more blessed to give than to receive.
I found a battered-women's shelter in my area and asked if I could speak there free of charge. Am I nuts? I wondered. I've got five days of speaking engagements and here I am setting up a mini-conference. For free!
My friend was right. That talk at the shelter turned out to be one of the best meetings of my career. Vanessa, whose husband hit her while she was pregnant, told me: "I wanted my son to grow up in a loving home. I didn't have a job or a place to stay, but one night I walked out the door with my baby and never looked back." Vanessa's courage motivated me to take brave new steps in my own life.
Most companies have community service programs. Get involved. It might give you a newfound respect for your company. And when you help lift others, you always end up lifting yourself.
Know When to Say Goodbye
Okay. So you've tried everything and you still don't love your job. Maybe it's time to stop swimming upstream. The job may not be the right fit for you.
I once found myself in this predicament. My boss was beyond difficult. One day while I was on the phone with an elderly client, he came over and screamed, "Why the heck are you wasting company time on that old man? You know he's not worth the business." My client heard every word. I politely got off the phone. Then and there I made up my mind. I couldn't change my boss, but I could change my situation. It's like the Bible says, "And if any one will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave...." Two weeks later I started my own business.
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You might not be able to leave a bad job right away. Make the best use of your time there. Don't stop trying with your coworkers—someone you reach out to now might put in a good word for you later (when a prospective employer asks for references). Polish your resume and send it out. It's easier to find a job while you have one. Above all, keep a positive attitude. That's what you want to bring to your new job, a job you can love.
Jane Boucher is an award-winning speaker and the author of six books, including How to Love the Job You Hate: Job Satisfaction for the 21st Century. For more information on Jane Boucher and her books, visit Janeboucher.com.