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How to Love Your Job

How to Love Your Job

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing; the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way” – Viktor Frankl

One of our staff tells this story:

“I spoke this week to a security guard who answers the main phone line after hours at a company (you can picture this) and he answers the phone with ‘Thank you for calling [Company name], a leader in automation.  This is Bill James security officer badge 312874, how can I be of service to you today’ – no joke.  It just made me think, wow this guy really must like what he does.”

This story led us to a discussion of why some people love their jobs, and some people hate the same job.  The answer is attitude.  Viktor Frankl was a concentration camp survivor and a psychiatrist who helped others find meaning in their lives after enduring unspeakable horror and loss.  His most famous quote (above) reminds us that we can choose our own attitude in ANY given set of circumstances.  Another psychotherapist, upon hearing a story about someone’s much more mundane everyday suffering, once asked: “And for how long would you like to feel this way?”   This incredible reframe – that you could choose how long to be in a state of “suffering” before you let go and move on, is a great piece of learning.

Every job has ups and downs.  We all have co-workers that range from great to annoying.  We do tasks we like less than others.  At the end of each day we can choose to ask ourselves, “what was the worst thing today?”, OR “what were the best things today?”  We can choose to notice the worst in people, or sharpen our vision and find the best.  Every mistake can be a learning experience.  Every time the boss yells unreasonably can remind you how lucky you are not to be him.

If you choose to look, there is something to be grateful for every day.  Probably many things.  Choosing to give less time and mental energy to suffering, and investing much more time in gratitude is a gift we get to give ourselves.

Frankl also said: “Between stimulus and response there is a space.  In that space is our power to choose our response.  In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

In those choices and responses are the secret of how to love your job.