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This morning, my taxi driver lamented over his job. “I HATE THIS JOB. I hate it! I really hate this job.” He then projected his misery on to me, “You’ll see, you’ll hate your job soon too,” and escalated, “48 million out of work. No jobs anywhere!” He did little to contain his rage and sadness.There are moments when we struggle with our jobs, or must work through professional difficulties. Beyond these challenging periods, we gain an opportunity to approach our work with gratitude, appreciation and sometimes even joy. Mustering thanks for the labour we face daily, and actively identifying occasions to be grateful can be tough. This is especially true when you become affected by circumstances outside your control, or burned out.
One thing you can control is your perspective. That simple act changes everything. My favourite example of this is the cab driver, who I’ve been lucky enough to have on two various occasions (who has the opposite view of his colleague.) This particular driver is also a professional ballet dancer (as well as a heavy smoker in his late 50’s.) As he tells it, he works both jobs because he loves them. Driving a cab for the past 18 years, he looks forward to connecting with his passengers. He ardently seeks and finds pleasure in his work.
How do you best change your perspective when it comes to your job? By focusing on the value you contribute or derive at work.
1. Appreciating your contributions
Your professional contributions are channeled through your ideas, efforts, attitude, participation, and through the tackling of tasks. These activities are instrumental to your workplace; what you do and choose to say daily affects those around you. Being an employee who looks to the needs of other people and asks himself how he/she can help them to solve problems and promote personal development (a servant leader) is hugely valuable to any employer.
Placing their main focus on people, employees who focus on and understand the dynamics and professional needs of others also understand that only content and motivated people reach their targets and fulfil set expectations.
If you cannot focus on what you are contributing for your efforts and hard work, then shift your focus to what you are receiving.
2. Appreciating value you derive
You work hard, and what do you get in return? Plenty.
Each job provides some sort of compensation, even volunteer-only positions. Whether through financial, emotional, or professional opportunities, our rewards can take many forms. Money and benefits are obviously very valuable. So are the lessons, ideas, personal growth, and assurance that your skills are needed, valid, and useful.
The luckiest employees reap rewards from multiple areas: financial, emotional and professional. I know people who approach their jobs as an extension of their education. They see their daily work as a chance to learn, better themselves, and understand the lessons hurled at them.
Ultimately, we must remember that we are privileged to work. To wake up, and try each day to contribute our skills and talents to a workplace is a gift. It’s easy to take our jobs for granted, until we realise how that many people wish they could do the same, but their circumstances prevent it.
Melissa Anzman from ‘Loosen Your White Collar‘ sums up this up:
“When was the last time that you stepped out of your current life woes and reflected on the things you do have?
Even as difficult, challenging or overwhelming it may seem, there are so many others who are struggling for things/decisions/options that you have either overcome or accomplished.
Remember that: you have accomplished!
Each time you pay your rent check, buy groceries, get in your car, call someone on your cell phone – your hard work, dedication, determination, and perhaps luck, have helped you do that.”
The ability to work, to give back and affect others through our thoughts and ideas, while developing ourselves in the process, is incredibly valuable to our lives. There is immense worth in know our talents, and perspectives are needed, wanted and unique.
When you become grateful and appreciative, doors open. Opportunities tumble down hillsides looking to smack into you. Try peering at your job through a new lens, taking stock of what you have, and what you are giving to others, rather than focusing on what you aren’t getting.
Be grateful and seek appreciation. Then stand back and watch everything change for the better.
This post originally appeared at melanieaxman.com.
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