A few weeks ago, I went shopping with some friends at Dillard's. One of my friends was shopping for a party and had to try on several dresses. The older woman who worked in that department was incredibly kind and helpful throughout the process. As we left, we expressed our appreciation for her uplifting attitude. Her response was heartwarming: "I was having a rough day earlier but I always know times like this will make up for it." She then passionately told us about the company's history and how she started working there thirty years ago. Then she said, "With all that's going on in the world, I like to bring sunshine into my job." She had the most genuine smile and what you might call a "twinkle" in her eyes. I realized that I want to have that energy whether I'm doing what excites me or during the mundane.
Now, it's clear that the woman in that story loves her job, but I can't help thinking that part of why she loves it is because she molds it with who she is. It's safe to say that customer service can drain the joy from anyone, and that woman has no obligation to have such an authentic attitude. That positivity comes from the inside, not the outside. We shouldn't fake our emotions, but to some extent, we can make our emotions. So the next time you're feeling less than enthused about your job, take a moment to think about why. There are valid reasons that many people are discouraged by their jobs. Those reasons are often due to unhealthy management dynamics and lack of appreciation. If you're stuck in that kind of situation, I know it doesn't help to say, "Suck it up." Sometimes the only solution is to go to God for strength and keep your eyes open to ways you can improve your circumstances. It might not seem fair to put more responsibility on yourself when it feels like you're fighting a losing battle, but you are the only person who can seize your opportunities when they come. You won't see new options if you focus on the hopelessness of where you are.
Whether your current job is a stepping stone or what you've always wanted, I can bet there are times when you wish you could stay in bed instead. At the end of the day, any job can bring us down if we don't care about what we're doing. You might say, "I take care of newborn babies at my job. Of course I care!" Well, it definitely helps if you're passionate about the big picture, but it isn't always that obvious. We can't always feel excited about what we're doing; after all, no one likes changing diapers. The point is, the longer you're at a job, the more those "meh" tasks will add up. We make progress moment by moment, so when we're looking forward to something new, we still need to bring heart into our efforts now. What will help you have purpose in the moment at your job?
“So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. For who can bring them to see what will happen after them?” - Ecclesiastes 3:22
According to studies, coworkers are the number one reason people enjoy their jobs. If you don't feel connected to your coworkers, is there anything you can do to change that? Maybe there's someone at your work who you can get to know better. Even if you work remotely, you can reach out to people who may not be in your regular Zoom meetings. It never hurts to brainstorm opportunities to mix things up. The best thing we can do is cultivate joy in other areas of our lives and bring that into our environment at work.
You may grow by staying at the same company for many years or trying new skills in different fields. It all depends on your goals and gifts, and it also depends on your perseverance. We have influence when we grasp the impact of our attitudes and choices. We can’t always move mountains in an instant, but when our motivation comes from who God made us to be, we can find fulfillment in the day-to-day and the rough patches.
Written Content Coordinator at Sun Valley Community Church. An avid writer since the age of 5, who loves to explore new ideas and places. Inspired by Jesus, books, and travel.