The Kool Kanya team responds to a letter we received from our audience.
Dear Kool Kanya,
Today I woke up, thought about starting the work day, and it filled my entire being with annoyance and dread. Just last week though, I remember feeling super empowered while working on a project. I received positive feedback on it and woke up with a sense of motivation the next morning. That feels so distant right now.
I feel like I’m in a toxic relationship with the work I do – I’m madly in love with it during some weeks and dangerously close to having a breakdown and quitting during others.
I’m constantly bombarded on social media with posts that talk about how important it is to ‘love what you do’. I see posts by people about them ‘living their best life’, ‘everyday feeling like a holiday because they love what they do’ and they genuinely seem to be very satisfied in their careers.
I definitely don’t always feel that way. There are a lot of days when I’m not sure why I even chose the field I’m working in. I feel unsure when I think about having to do this work for the rest of my career.
But the good days – when I’m having breakthroughs with my ideas, laughing while brainstorming with my co-workers, or being praised on a project I worked on – are really good.
Is this normal?
Do most people try to find careers that they love all the time, or stay on at jobs that give them some good days?
In a love-hate relationship
We’re sorry to hear that you’re going through this. But guess what – you’re not alone in feeling this. It’s completely normal to have a love-hate relationship with your job. The oscillating good and bad days are a part of all our work lives.
Anyone who claims to love every single part of their job every single day is lying – either to you or themselves. What they might be telling the truth about however, is that the bad days don’t ride out the positivity of the good ones.
That is a realistic goal that you can definitely work towards achieving – having more good than bad in your job, or loving the good things so much that the bad aspects don’t feel as terrible.
Like any relationship, your work relationship also needs time and effort to work out. Turning a job you love-hate into one you love more than hate might seem difficult, but it’s not impossible. Here’s what you can do to love your job more than you hate it –
Identify the aspects of your work that don’t excite you
Whether it’s a toxic environment, an unsupportive manager, a sexist colleague, or more workload than you can bear; assess why you feel unsatisfied with your job.
Try to think of a solution
Once you’ve identified what you don’t like about your job, you can work towards rectifying the problem. Whether it’s by pitching ideas that you think will take the company in a direction you would like to align yourself with, talking to your manager about your workload, or to HR about a toxic coworker, you can now fix the issue so that you have a more supportive environment that you feel comfortable working in.
- Is your body telling you that it hates your job?
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Think about what you love about your job
You’ve mentioned positive feedback, praises, and fun brainstorm sessions with your coworkers. Revel in the aspects you love about your job. Track all your small and big wins. Make note of all the praises and compliments you receive so you can go back to them when you’re having a bad day.
Find what makes you happy, what keeps you motivated. Once you recognise these, you can actively work towards filling your work days with the things you enjoy doing.
Clean up your social media
Unfollow the social media accounts that make you feel ‘abnormal’ in the things you feel. Content that sets unrealistic standards of perfection and glamourises people’s work-life to the point that it makes you feel unhappy is not something you should be consuming. It will affect your mental health and relationship with your work in the long run.
When talking about your work, focus on the good more than the bad
Ranting about work and all the things we hate about our job is one of the most common ways we bond with coworkers and wind down with friends after a long week.
However, always talking about all the things that annoy you at your job can make those things seem bigger and more terrible than they actually are.
Make an effort to shift away from this pattern of venting. When talking about your work with family, friends or your coworkers, start focusing on the good rather than the bad.
Find and do things you love when you’re not working
No matter how much you try, it’s possible that your heart may just not be in your job. You may not be pursuing the passion you wanted to or the bad days at work are just really, really bad.
If you’re not in a position to quit your job, or don’t know what you would want to move on to right now, then make time for things you love outside of work.
Don’t let the job you love-hate be the only thing that characterises your day. Highlight the day with positivity by spending time on a hobby, passion, sport activity, or even side business you enjoy.
Work-life balance sometimes means balancing a job you love-hate with a life outside you love-love.
Remember, you’re still going to have bad days, and that’s totally okay. Take control of the things you love doing and don’t be too hard on yourself.
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