when I learned to love what I do...

When I started my job, I was not happy, and my boss will be the first one to tell you: I wasn’t doing well at it either. I was kicking myself for not taking the corporate job with the big telecom company, where at least I could complain about it and everyone would nod and sigh, ‘ya, the corporate world is tough’.

But I stuck it out. Stubbornness? Yes –definitely. Persistence? Definitely. Fear of failure – TONS. But what was I afraid to fail at? Something I didn’t like anyways? Didn’t really make sense.

I learned to love my job because of the people I work for and with every day I saw through the situation into the person behind it–me. To quote Jim Collins (Good to Great) – I was in the completely wrong seat on the bus.  So I changed seats. Simple as that. Amber Rae (Hey Amber Rae!) posted on this exact topic recently and I was inspired to share my story about how this has changed my outlook and what I’ve observed about myself.

Lessons & Observations:

1. When you love your job, more opportunities come your way.

When I used to speak about what I did (while I hated it), I would look down, go quiet, and quickly say what I did, followed by a tsunami of excuses about why it wasn’t sexy or important and that I was hoping to maybe move at some point. This instills NO confidence in you or for you– as an employee or a person. I came across as timid and as someone who was unable (or unwilling) to take a stand in my own life and change my situation. Apathy = ick.

Now, I speak about my job with excitement and enthusiasm. I speak about the same company, but now instead of putting it down, I rave about it! I focus on what I get to do everyday and how it’s a privilege to work with such incredible people on such interesting projects. This instills confidence. Your audience gets excited and they want to hear more about you, or your company, or both. They want to do business with you. When I talk about what I’m learning and what challenges I face, I sound confident, capable and assertive. Proactive = yes!

2. When you love your job, you learn more.

I recently started taking a class again at UBC and I LOVE IT. I love learning. But I don’t remember loving learning quite as much when I was an actual student working towards my undergrad. And that’s because I never had a prof who engaged me quite like my current one does.

When you’re engaged and excited, you’re ready to learn and ready to take on more. A happy attitude makes for an open mind, and you become like a sponge. When you’re unhappy, friendly advice can sound like nagging and critical feedback can sounds like criticism. When you enjoy what you do, you’re open to learning more – so you do!

3. When you love your job, you have time to enjoy other elements of your life.

Unhappiness and the stress that accompanies it are time-consuming. I found that instead of making the time for the things I enjoyed, any spare time I had I was obsessing about how much I hated what I was doing. I would complain and had an ongoing feeling of anxiety and stress about Monday morning, when I’d have to go back at it. It was cluttering my mind and I put everything on hold – I stopped swimming, I stopped reading, and I even stopped contributing to YWiB (gasp!).

When I switched seats, I felt light and felt a huge weight lifted from my shoulders. I suddenly had space in my mind to think about other things – exciting things! I rediscovered what I loved and what I loved to do. I was biking more. I was hiking more. And I was YWiB-ing again. I don’t find it a burden to balance being busier now that I’ve re-added things to my life. In fact, if I wasn’t this busy, I’d be unhappy. I need everything I have in my life to feel complete. I need my work, my time for play (activities!) and my YWiB time.


Don’t be afraid to ask to switch seats on the bus.

And if your boss isn’t open to it – you need to make a switch. Find a company that loves you for you and is willing to work to find the right seat for you.