Unfortunately, it’s not common for people to love their jobs. Gallup research shows only 35% of Americans are engaged at work. Employee engagement is a measure of how loyal and enthusiastic someone is about their job and employer.
Sometimes a lack of employee engagement is due to poor management or work policies. Other times, there are some things workers can do to make each work day a little bit lovelier. In honor of Valentine’s Day, here are four ways you can love your job more.
1. Create Work Goals
Career goals can help you focus on tasks that will help you grow your career. That can lead to a better job title and a higher salary. Plus, when you have something you’re striving for, you can feel a sense of accomplishment whenever you take action that moves you closer to reaching your goals.
An effective way to set goals at work is to collaborate directly with your manager to create a career development plan. A career development plan is like a roadmap that details the journey you can take with your employer. It might include:
- Your current position and the position(s) you’d like to achieve with the company
- Specific accomplishments that can qualify you for more advanced titles
- Projects and job assignments you want to work on or lead
- Training, learning and development that enables you to grow your knowledge and become more of an expert
Talk with your manager about creating a career development plan. This plan benefits you, as well as the company, since your employer knows what you’re doing to improve in your role and can reward you accordingly.
If you’re interested in taking a certain class or furthering your education and training in some way, ask about the potential to receive tuition reimbursement or the ability to shadow someone at work you want to learn from. By showing initiative and creating a career development plan, you could see major results that put you on a more enjoyable career path.
2. Connect with a Mentor
Speaking of someone to learn from, a mentor can help you discover new reasons to love your job. As we detailed in how to get the most out of your mentorship, workers who have a mentor are promoted five times more often than employees who don’t have one. Your relationship with your mentor can turn into a decades-long friendship and/or lead to higher compensation and more rewarding work.
Try to identify a mentor within your industry who has experience and insights you can learn from, which you can apply to your own career. There might be someone who’s at a more senior level at your employer you can meet with. Or, your LinkedIn network might be able to refer you to someone.
Let the potential mentor know why you admire them and why you’d be interested in learning from them. Set up clear expectations, such as how frequently you’d like to meet. You might set up monthly coffee meetings, for example, where you can check in on where you are in your career, learn more about your mentor’s career journey and ask them for advice that can help you in yours.
Your mentor might be able to provide you with tips to glean more meaning from your career, or they might be able to introduce you to people who can help you find a better position. You can ask them outright for how to find more enjoyment out of your job, since they might have some wisdom to share.
3. Look for Opportunities to Use Your Strengths
If you don’t enjoy the tasks you’re working on, talk with your manager about getting new assignments that play to your interests and strengths. It can help to be honest about how you feel about your tasks. In many cases, an employer would rather work with you to give you work you’ll enjoy, rather than risk losing you and having to hire someone in your place.
Why should you focus on your strengths? When employees use their strengths at work, that can increase employee engagement by up to 15%. Your manager may not be aware of all your talent or skills, so ask to set up a meeting where you can volunteer to use your skills in different ways at work.
At your job, always look for opportunities to apply your skills. You might volunteer to tackle certain roles in projects or ask to join a certain work team or committee.
It may help to get to know people in other departments at your employer, too. Learn about what their typical day is like, why they were drawn to their type of work and how their career journeys have taken shape. You may even be inspired to explore new career paths, including at your current employer when opportunities emerge.
4. Cultivate Positivity
One way to enjoy your job more is to have an overall better experience at work. According to research reported by the American Psychological Association, positive emotions at work lead to:
- More creativity
- Increased friendliness
- Better problem-solving
- Improved resiliency to workplace challenges
If you’re feeling stuck at work, think about what you’re grateful for. A study of employee work diaries in “Harvard Business Review” found acknowledging progress was correlated with predicting good work days. You might jot down three things you’re grateful for at the beginning of each day to put you in a positive mindset at work.
Your relationships with your coworkers can also affect your happiness at work. Solid coworker relationships can help you advance your career, too. Your coworkers might be able to recommend you on LinkedIn or serve as a future work reference. You can also break up your work day by going to lunch with a friend from work, or build a new friendship with a coworker outside of work.
Whether it’s looking inward to identify the positive aspects about your job or by finding friendships and people you can connect with, there are different aspects beyond the actual work that can make your career more enjoyable.
Find a Career You’ll Love
We typically spend at least 40 hours a week at our full-time jobs. How you feel about your work can affect other aspects of your life, from relationships with family and friends, to your physical and mental health.
You deserve a job you love. To learn more about what career you might be a fit for, take our free careers assessment. We’ll match you with more than 750 careers based on your interests.