It’s Valentine’s Day. Cue the barrage of superficial tips for spicing up your love life and what gifts to buy for that special someone.
Don’t worry though. We can all breathe a collective sigh of relief that this post isn’t another sappy article that’ll make all the single folks out there feel depressed or pressure those who do have a significant other to blow a bunch of money for the sake of validating their relationship.
Let’s be real here: The only people who have anything to benefit from this day are florists, Hallmark, condom companies (that 30 percent spike in sales is no joke) and any other business who can exploit the romance game.
For the rest of us, Valentine’s Day is a nightmare of unnecessary stress and spending.
That’s why I wanted to make the most of this holiday by talking about another relationship deserving of your love and attention—your career.
Like any other relationship, it’s a matter of give and take. Your job offers you financial comfort and hopefully a means of personal fulfillment, while you give it a great deal of your time and effort.
Your job has its ups and downs. Many people have a honeymoon phase when they first start out where the novelty of it all excites them, and they think they might stick with it forever. Then as time passes, the role loses it luster for one reason or another, and you start to wonder if this situation is really what’s best for you and your future.
It’s normal for people to have their doubts from time to time, but if you feel like your job consistently takes more than you’re willing to give, that’s a recipe for burnout.
I’ve seen it happen all too many times. I work with physicians who endure an insane amount of stress from their jobs, which is why so many of them end up getting burnt out and coming to me for new opportunity.
Physicians aren’t the only ones prone to burnout though. Many professionals feel unhappy in their work but don’t know what they can do to improve their situation.
The truth is no job or relationship is perfect, but if you really want to make your job work, if you think it’s worth fighting for—then there are ways for you to rediscover the fulfillment of what you do and help you fall in love with it again.
Here’s what you can do.
Focus on the people who make your work meaningful.
Whether you’re a cybersecurity analyst or a retail sales clerk, your work helps others in some capacity. Focus on those people.
They will help you remember the value of your work. If you feel like you’ve lost your passion, maybe it’s because you grounded it in the wrong things to begin with.
In both work and our personal lives, helping others is invaluable to our well-being. It releases dopamine, reduces stress, boosts self-esteem and so much more. When we focus on helping others, we really end up helping ourselves. And there’s no shame in that.
Don’t just think about your customers and clients though. The people you work alongside are also crucial to your happiness. If you haven’t already, take the time to get to know your coworkers.
Not saying you have to grab your closest cubicle neighbor for a happy hour heart-to-heart, though it certainly doesn’t hurt to blow off some steam. What I mean is that you should make your interactions with coworkers go deeper than talking about your next deadline or what you’ll cover at tomorrow’s meeting or how much you hate Mondays.
Forming friendships may very well be the key to your workplace happiness. At least 67 percent of American workers think so. Plus, having a work bestie will not only make you more satisfied, it’ll also make you better at your job.
Some people may be afraid to let their guard down around coworkers for the sake of professionalism, and I get that. But you also have to think about how much time you devote to your job.
In fact, many Americans spend more time with their coworkers than they do with their families. It’s crazy to think that we shouldn’t be ourselves around the people we spend the most time with. We’re human—it’s okay to act like it!
If you want to be happier at work, don’t be afraid to open up to your coworkers for the sake of forming meaningful relationships.
But don’t forget about yourself.
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, here’s some cliché dating advice: You have to love yourself before you can love anyone else.
The same goes for your job too. You need to focus on yourself first and foremost because that’s how you achieve and maintain balance.
Sometimes a job can be like a possessive lover. It can feel like it’s sucking the life from you, in which case you need to assert yourself or maybe even move on for the sake of your sanity.
One way you can take back control is to practice saying “no” more often. Ladies, this tip goes for you especially. Though men and women both struggle with this, women are twice as likely to overexert themselves because they’re too afraid to turn down requests.
If you feel overworked and underappreciated, it’s time to reevaluate what you’re getting out of this relationship. Overexerting yourself can lead to higher levels of stress, lower quality performance, lower quality of life and, ultimately, burnout.
Long story short, no one wins when you aren’t able to be at your best.
Look at the big picture.
When you’re relationship feels strained, sometimes the best thing to do is step back and look at the big picture.
Ask yourself these questions: What are the pros and cons of staying in this position? Can you see yourself working for this company ten years from now? Will it fulfill your long-term goals?
Be honest with yourself. If you don’t like your answers, then maybe this is one relationship you need to walk away from.
Too many people hate their jobs but are so afraid of the unknown that they don’t want to do anything about it. They’d rather remain comfortably miserable than pursue new opportunity.
That’s why only 13 percent of employees are engaged at work, and over half of Americans are unhappy with their jobs. Even our country’s divorce rates are less depressing than those stats!
Now is the time to stop settling, and start pursuing a job that you can actually love. Let me be your professional matchmaker—because my true love is helping you find yours.
Happy Valentine’s Day!