Have An Office Romance: How to Fall Back in Love With Your Job
No, we don’t mean seduce Steve in accounts — to nail January you need to fall back in love with your job, says Phoebe Luckhurst
Monday was the most unpleasant day of the year. Enshrined in pop lore as D-Day — when unhappy couples drop the rictus grins and file for divorce — and, aptly, a preternaturally dark and gloomy one, it was also back to school for London’s professionals. Obviously, by 10am, after a blisteringly passive-aggressive catch-up with the boss, and now on hold on the phone to IT after forgetting your password and triggering a tech lockdown, you concluded that on balance, you probably hate your job.
First-day blues are par for the course: in a report commissioned by comparethemarket.com, more than a quarter of the London professionals surveyed said they expected to feel “gloomy” when they returned.
However, after the initial jolt of re-entry, your mood should stabilise; if you’re still feeling disenchanted, you and your job might need couples therapy in order to avoid a D-Day of your own. You need to fall back in love with your job.
It’s the remedy prescribed by Tim Lebrecht, author of The Business Romantic. His workplace manual sets out “Rules of Enchantment” to help you re-engage with your career and recommends that you adopt the posture of the “Business Romantic” — for that way lies the sublime.
The book’s tone is rather dewy-eyed and wondering but Lebrecht certainly isn’t barking up the loopy tree: as he points out, “according to a 2013 Gallup poll conducted in 140 countries, only 13 per cent of employees worldwide are fully involved and enthusiastic about their jobs.”
Furthermore, longer days compound matters: misery during your working hours equates to misery during most of your waking hours.
“There are three steps to falling back in love with your job,” advises Octavius Black, CEO of MindGym, which transforms workplaces by addressing how employees think. “Firstly, remember why you chose the job, by reminiscing on what first got you excited. Secondly, think about who benefits ultimately from what you do: how are you making people’s lives better? And thirdly, organise your work in order to spend time with the people who energise you, give you strength, and inspire you.” Ultimately, toiling with other disenchanted worker bees will chew up your own motivation.
Grapple with your bad attitude: going to work wrapped in a shroud of aggression and resentment sets the tone for your day. Lebrecht warns that “the cynic views the CEO’s memo to all employees as an obvious attempt to sugarcoat organisational challenges by using boilerplate motivational clichés; the romantic appreciates the gesture and is interested in the meaning between the lines.”
The grass is rarely as verdant on the other side as you think it will be: Black recommends changing your existing job rather than throwing your CV into the job market maw or soliciting endorsements on LinkedIn. “You need to reorganise your role so you do the stuff that you want to do. Your job is what you make it: think ‘What things am I good at and when do I get the chance to do these things?’”
Lebrecht also advises that individuals “find the big in the small”, by encouraging office socialising in order to change the culture. The recommendation chimes with the tactics of companies including Google, whose open Campus encourages employees to interact and collaborate. “Google has mastered the carrot and created attractive work campuses that are an antidote to uniform corporate cultures,” Lebrecht observes. Swallow the New Year blues: it’s time to make yours a labour of love.
This article first appeared on the London Evening Standard
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