Advice: How Can I Love my Job?

Hara Estroff Marano advises a young worker on how to stay happy on the job.

By Hara Estroff Marano, published on November 1, 2010 - last reviewed on June 9, 2016

I am 25 and have always tried hard to do my best and have pride in my work. But every place I have worked has had problems that just make me want to quit. Either the boss doesn't understand what is being asked of me, or the staff just does the bare minimum and goes home. How can I find peace at work and love my employment?

Sometimes peace, love, and rock 'n' roll are too much to ask of a job. And sometimes it's worth giving up trying harder for trying smarter. When the same problems recur wherever you go, it may be that you're bringing them from place to place. It's time to examine your attitude to see what's making you perpetually miserable. Your expectations may be extremely unrealistic. There are indeed a lot of bad bosses out there, but consider the possibility that some might actually know what they're doing. If you have an improved approach to a task, do it both ways—quickly—and get the results to your boss. Then ask to meet with your boss and explain—with a bit of humility—that you discovered a better way. If co-workers are all slackers, so much the better for you. It's easier to stand out—provided you don't rub it in anyone's face. Focus on what you do, do it well, take pride in that, let enthusiasm show, and forget about everyone else.