I loved watching the Watermen on BBC2 last Tuesday evening for two reasons. Firstly, it made me remember my 14 years in the water industry - the issues, the sites, the smells, the people. Secondly, it was wonderful to see so many people who genuinely enjoyed their jobs. Jobs that, for most people, would probably feature pretty low down the list of dream careers. (I won't go in to details - if you saw the programme, you know, if you didn't, I'm sure you can imagine!)
So what makes someone love their job when the job description is so unappealing? It's probably not the money, although some are fairly well paid. For one employee, it was the team he worked with. For another, it was being outside. I got the sense that quite a few liked doing a job that very few people know (or care) anything about but which is absolutely essential.
These individuals recognised what they loved about their jobs. They had identified what was important to them (a value) and could see how their job fulfilled that value.
If you're not enjoying what you do right now, irrespective of the seniority, the pay, the swanky office or job title, try this:
Write two lists. One list is what you love* about your job. The other list is what you like least about it.
Write the lists swiftly and instinctively, not spending too long over each item.
- What are the common factors within each list?
- What links the two lists? (e.g. is one the opposite of the other?)
- Which list is longer?
- If you could create a role that only contained the best bits of your job, what would it look like?
- What can you do immediately to do more of the bits you enjoy?
This exercise gives you a hint of what's important to you and how much you're getting (or not) from your current role. Being specific about what you like and dislike is useful information and is the beginning of a decision. A decision about what to change and how.
If you'd like to know more about identifying values, making decisions and loving your work, get in touch.
* I know, love is a strong word. If that's a blocker, change it to "like most" or just "like". If you really can't think of a single thing you like about your current job, that's significant information in itself!