Give It Your All, Not for Your Boss, But for Your Own Work Happiness

Working HardI’m a fan of many blogs around the globe, but one of my favorites is Get Rich Slowly. J.D., the MC and writer extraordinaire of GRS, always impresses me with little bits of wisdom. He wrote a post, The Difference Between a Career and a Job, that articulated what Work Happy Now is all about.


During the summer after my freshman year of college, I worked as a busboy at the Holiday Inn. I was the best busboy I could be. While the other guys stood around during slack times, I looked for ways to help in the kitchen or to prepare for the lunch rush.”


J.D. went on to say…


As a result, I got better tips from the waitresses. The manager trained me to run the cash register. Sometimes I even got to help the pantry chef. I wasn’t looking for a career in food service, and I wasn’t trying to brown-nose. But I enjoyed the work and gave it all I had. This made the job fun, and earned respect from people who mattered: from my boss, and from his boss, the hotel manager.”


Many of us just do what we need to get by and we think that we are beating the system. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been guilty of this. All we are doing when we refuse to try our best is failing to find happiness in the work we accomplish. How did I learn enjoy my job and stop being a slacker? I searched for the positive in every task, even the small crappy ones. I developed the habit of looking for the tiniest glimmer of joy in everything that I did. Even when I’m stuffing 1,000 marketing bags at work I still find the joy in the effort.


When stuffing marketing bags I realized that I could:


  • Listen to my iPod
  • Dance as I did my work
  • Think of grand plans that will help me in my future writing, speaking and website career. (It became a meditation on the future me.)


When my joy waned at a job that didn’t fit my personality, that’s when it was time to quit. It was as simple as understanding that I got all I could out of the job and I had to develop my skills some where else.


J.D.’s post was inspired by Trent over at The Simple Dollar and his post about the difference between a job and a career – a job being a way to just make money (putting in the time for the paycheck) and a career being a way to learn, grow and develop skills. When we look at work as time to just put in the hours then we’re feeding into our fear. We’re afraid to put in effort for the amount of return. The problem with this attitude is that work is much more than money. It’s also a way to improve ourselves. When we become disengaged, boredom sets in and makes the job torturous. Many of us also become attached to the routine and we’re afraid to leave. Fear makes the cycle go around and around.


J.D. wrapped up his post with:


So what’s the difference between a career and a job? I don’t believe there is one. A career is simply a lifetime of jobs, whether those jobs are related or not. And while it’s important to focus on your future goals, it’s even more important to focus on doing the best you can right now at your current job.”


We all reach a certain point in every job that kills our spirit, but releasing these feelings and getting back to seeing the joy in accomplishing good work should matter more to a person. If your job doesn’t do this for you then find something that will keep you reaching for new goals. There is a career/job out there that will fulfill your needs.


It’s time to let go of the fear and start taking baby steps toward finding this new line of work, but for now try to notice one thing during the worst part of your working day that has something positive in it.


It could be:


  • Stepping out of your normal routine and appreciating the ability to put clear thoughts together

  • Taking a break to talk to a co-worker

  • Being in the moment and not worrying about where you should be in life, just enjoying each movement as you accomplish your task.


What’s the worst job you’ve ever had and how did you make it through your days there?


Don’t forget to check out J.D.’s whole article at Get Rich Slowly.




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Image courtesy of pwinn

9 thoughts on “Give It Your All, Not for Your Boss, But for Your Own Work Happiness”

  1. Hi Karl,

    I’ve had many jobs, and really don’t consider any of the “the worst”. The most unglamorous job I had was as a maid in a large hotel. But, based on my upbringing, I was the best maid they ever had. I shined those toilets and tubs, and made perfect hospital corners on the bed sheets. Soon, I was promoted to assistant housekeeper, and later to Executive Housekeeper. From there I transferred to the accounting office (numbers are a love of mine) and became the Assistant Controller. It was six years of my life, but I always thought of myself “working on my career”. That attitude continued to take me places I never dreamed possible.

    Karl, this is a great post and for anyone who “hates” their job, a must read.

    Barbara Swafford’s last blog post..FEFF – It’s Good For The Ego

  2. Hi Rajaie, all jobs help us build our skills.

    Hi Barbara, when we adjust our attitude to fit the job we can learn to see the positive even in the worst task. I’ve never worked in a hotel, but I have friends who do and I hear about how stressful it can be. That’s awesome that you used your experience as a stepping stone instead of letting it bring you down.

  3. “When stuffing marketing bags I realized that I could: Think of grand plans that will help me in my future writing, speaking and website career. (It became a meditation on the future me.)”

    Now that’s a smart move. It’s important to maximize the time spent on the things that matter most to you.

    Marc and Angel Hack Life’s last blog post..101 Dirt Cheap Ways to Enjoy Yourself

  4. Karl! What great advice! I am a strong advocate for doing what you like to do for you, and not the boss. It may sound egotistical, but if you love your job, you will be more productive. As you know, I talk about this in my book Dealing With Divas. Thanks for your great website!

    Shelley Anderson’s last blog post..Olympics Fever

  5. Interesting post. It’s not what we do that makes us happy, it’s the frame of mind we do it in.

    All we can do is give and share what we are. Withholding ourself just makes us more miserable.

    Rob McPhillips’s last blog post..Finding Your Passion

  6. I just resigned from a job.I live in Europe:I started off with all the above; flexibility,helpfulness,implementing systems for job performance optimization. etc..It came down to: people thought I was after their job, that I was “up” on myself.So I resigned.all I’m saying is be aware of the culture of the place you are working in.

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