We all have those two people in our lives. There’s that one friend who seems enamored with everything about their job; coworkers as best friends, their corner office, the famous clients and a flexible schedule — even the work itself! Then there’s your other friend who feels like they’re living in a haunted house without a Ghostbuster Proton Pack. Everything couldn’t be worse; backstabbing coworkers, an office in the basement (imagine Milton from “Office Space”), enraged customers, zero breaks and, of course, the work itself.
So how do we survive a job where the man in the hockey mask is chasing us with a machete?
If you’re like me and other standard 9-to-5ers, you spend more than a third of your day at work and half that amount of time — or less — with those you’ve chosen to be in your life. With all that time devoted to work, managing the long-term relationship with your job is essential to keeping you, and your coworkers, safe. So, are you maintaining your job as you would any long-term relationship?
Relationship advice for the work force:
1. Find joy in the little things.
When it feels like everywhere you turn creepy clowns are popping up, think, “At least the coffee in the kitchen tastes surprisingly like Starbucks.” OK, so coffee is not a single reason to love your job, but becoming an optimist in these situations helps you find the joy in working. Like in any typical relationship on Valentine’s Day, your date will show up with flowers, or in our case, an exciting project or a promotion. Recognize these opportunities and remember that, like a relationship, there are always rough patches.
Develop an open line of communication with a boss or manager who knows all aspects and requirements of your position. If you and your position begin to feel like an unlucky pairing, don’t be afraid to ask for what you need to be successful, and in turn, make your company successful. We’re all battling crazy deadlines and limited resources, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, the phrase “better out than in” rings true.
3. Couples counseling.
We all need help, or a bit of couples counseling, when it comes to loving a job. That’s where training fits in. Your counselor/instructor is able to guide you through methods, technologies and skills that strengthen your competence and ability to tackle unlucky situations. Now, when green slime begins to ooze from your computer, you’re prepared to battle.
4. Establish what’s important.
Before you accepted your job, did you write a pros and cons list? It’s time to update that list now that you’ve had a chance to fully experience the position and its requirements. If there is an aspect that has moved from a pro to a con, establish a game plan and develop a solution.
5. Outside forces.
It’s true. When our jobs are at their worst, we tend to unload the horrors to our closest friends and seek advice. Most times they’ll be on your side and the situation will be dropped, putting you in the “works sucks because it sucks’” mode instead of resolution mode. If you find yourself without that professional backboard, seek a mentor. Your confidant should be someone seasoned in a similar career who can provide a professional, unbiased opinion and offer tips to transform Friday the 13th into Valentine’s Day.
And if all else fails, it may be time to break the relationship and consider other opportunities. Even if things ended on a sour note, keep in mind your job will always be part of your relationship history that your new partner will be curious about. Maintain friendly ties to reduce the likelihood of a bad reference that causes you to lose your next great love.
You may never get the corner office with lake views, or coworkers who bring you cake on your birthday or even a project to take naps and eat chips all day, but once you find that balance and work to create your ideal environment, you’ll start to slowly fall back in love.
Just like one of those Nicholas Sparks movies where two people always end up kissing in the rain.