Sarah McCarten

Some thoughts on how to do a job you love.

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I love my job. A lot. But I can’t pretend that there aren’t times when I wish it was already the weekend. I see this in some of my friends too, they like their job, but they like the weekend too. And this is how it should be, we should work to live and not the other way around.

But all too often I see friends’ tweets on Monday counting down the days until Friday. People tell me on Wednesday how they can’t believe it’s only halfway through the week. I read status updates on Friday counting down the hours until work is done. It makes me sad. I wonder why these people don’t just change jobs.

I know that we are amid a recession; I know that jobs are hard to come by, and I understand that this will ultimately lead to people having to do jobs they don’t enjoy. If you’re one of these people I think that you’re brilliant. If you’re someone who works all week to put food on your family’s table, I honestly think that you are the best kind of person in the world. I think that the world needs more people like you.

But for the rest of us… I present Sarah McCarten’s guide to enjoying your job more!

Do something you love.

I am acutely aware that this is easier said than done. Especially, if what you love doing is watching daytime television – although, you can get paid for doing just about anything these days. Think about the things you love to do in life, the things that you do for people without getting paid, and think about how you could incorporate these into a career.

I’m not asking you to start charging your friends for dinner. In my case, I thought that I enjoyed hanging out with children, that I like doing domestic stuff (particularly cooking) and having a routine, but not one that is too rigid. With my qualifications and experience becoming a nanny was the obvious choice.

It’s important to have a proper think, and not just change things on a whim; will you enjoy doing these things for the next 3 to 5 years? If yes, great, if not, you’ll probably be just as disillusioned in your next job.

Don’t expect it to be something it’s not.

I know a lot of nannies and none of their jobs are the same as mine. Some of their jobs I think I’d enjoy, some not. The main problem I see is that people think their job will have the same effect on their life as mine does on me. Just because I am a nanny who loves my job and finds it easy doesn’t mean that you would feel the same.

Don’t expect your job to fulfil your every need. I’ve worked with people who expected their job or their colleagues to be their emotional support and that they would inevitably make friends through their work. Christians believed their work would be a place for ‘outreach’, or if working for a Christian project thought it would take the place of church in their lives. Sometimes we are very blessed and this happens, more often than not if we go in with these expectations we become disappointed.

Expect to work hard.

I often celebrate (read gloat) at the fact that I have an easy job. The truth is the only reason that I feel like I have an easy job is because I expect to work hard. If I were to go into work with the view that I was going to be able to do what I wanted and get paid for it then I probably would be disappointed every day.

I think sometimes we might think that working hard is a bad thing, some people even think hard work is a product of The Fall – and it is in some senses, but we need to understand that we were created to work. The first reason that God he created man was in order to rule over the animals, that sounds like hard work to me. He gives them food to eat, but he doesn’t put it in baskets before them, he puts it on trees and in the ground, they have to work to get it. Also in 2 Thessalonians chapter 3 we are encouraged to work hard and not to freeload or be lazy.

I think what I’m trying to say is that we’re meant to enjoy our jobs; I truly believe that. But I think that we’re meant to come home from work knowing that we have worked.

Your life is more important than your job.

I’ve heard the term work/life balance bandied around a lot, sometimes it can lose its meaning. I think we need to have jobs that fit around our particular way of doing life. For me, that means working 4 days a week and having a 3 day weekend. That means that I work long hours on the days that I work, but it means I only have 4 journeys to and from work a week. It means I have a day to peruse creative stuff, such as writing and sewing and painting. The truth is I could earn more money by working five days a week; but I love the flexibility afforded to me by my current nannying jobs.

I don’t know what I want to do for my ‘forever job’, if there is such a thing anymore. I do know that I wanted to be committed to this role though, so when I took my jobs I told my employers I would be committed for a minimum of three years. Obviously if a young man sweeps me off my feet and asks me to move to the other side of the world I might have to reconsider. But I thought it was fair to them to say this timescale fits in with my life for now.

Don’t moan about your job.

Dwelling on the fact that you don’t like your job only makes it worse. Firstly, it means that your job takes up more space in your life than it needs to, if you find a way to leave it at work, that’s really helpful. Secondly, it means that you always think the worst, if your job is bad, and you are constantly moaning about it, it means that you’ll be consciously thinking about things to moan about.

One way to combat this is when you think about something negative from work, try to think of a couple of things that you enjoy about it too. Also if you find that you do need to complain about your work, and I get that some people do; limit the amount of time you allow yourself to gripe about it. I promise if you are less negative, things will seem more positive!

Thanks for reading! Hope you’ve found it helpful! If not why not comment below? I tweet here.

Author: sarahmccarten

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