Every day we hear about people making radical career changes. The opportunities exist, but will all these changes make us any happier once we get there? Maybe the question is not “how can I get the job I’ll love?” but “how can I love the job I have?” The following are four practical steps towards coming to terms with why you do what you do. Take some time to think about it, and you might be surprised by what you find.

1. Realize that your job does not define you, but how you do it does

There’s a lot to be said for attitude, more than will fit here. Any job can be done well, done with compassion, done with care. Your attitude at work and the way you treat people — even your mood — does not go unnoticed. They have a profound influence on the people you work with. There are times when you can’t control your situation, but you can always choose how you live in it.

2. Stop focusing on the money

Money will never be enough so stop using it (or the lack of it) as an excuse. Whatever you are bringing home on the 15th and 30th, there are always going to be things you could do or would do if you had more. Try tracking every penny you spend in a week. Seeing where your money is really going can help you to refocus your spending towards the things you really want. Getting paid is only one small part of what you do — your work has to be more than just a paycheck to be fulfilling.

3. Find the significance in what you do

This may require you to think big, but it can be done. Take some time to really think about what you do. Do you provide an essential service? Do you get to see the finished product? Do you give direction that gets things done? Then ask yourself, “How is this job done differently because I am doing it?” Perspective plays a huge role in personal satisfaction and sense of well being. Try to remember why you took the job in the first place. If it was only going to be “for now,” are you actively looking for other work?

4. Dare to ask yourself if it’s worth it

If you can’t find the part of your job that you like, or if you can see yourself turning into the person you said you would never be, consider the reasons. It may not be a new job that you need, just a new direction. Do you like the person you are doing this job? If not, are there changes you can make to the way you do your job or is the job itself the problem? Do you need to be doing a different position within the same company? Are additional responsibilities taking you away from the work you were hired to do? Maybe all that’s needed is some refocusing. Learn to say “no.” As much as you can choose the things you spend your time on, don’t attend events or meetings only because everyone expects it.

Asking yourself why you do your job doesn’t mean you’re dissatisfied, just self-aware. This awareness can lead to greater job satisfaction, increased sense of well being and a little more control over what you do, rather than just “going along for the ride.” For some, it may be time for a change – if so, don’t be afraid of it. Change isn’t necessarily bad, it’s just different. For the rest of us, take a look around, you may find you’ve got a great view.

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This article was written by: Claire Colvin

Photo Credit: Tim Wright