Loving Your Job. Thoughts on a Twitter chat.

There’s a conversation going on right now on Twitter that is revolving around Student Affairs and “Loving Your Work

“When/Why did we start treating work as something that could be loved? And is this only something that’s happening online?”

Speculations in this article include personal online branding and whether folks feel the need to enhance how well their careers are going.

In addition to the funny Mad Men reference, Jeff Lail had some great tweets regarding his thoughts on this and I adore this:

This to me is the key to everything. Accountability for our failures and successes. If your goal is to love your work – then that is something that can only be reconciled within yourself. How do you know when you’re loving your job? Do you have to love it every day? I don’t think that’s achievable.

I can only speak from my perspective – which is that there are days when I love the work I have achieved – within my job. Sometimes I haven’t achieved anything and then it’s hard. There are days I wish I could conference full time. There are days when I think I could “love my job” if I worked at Barnes and Noble. It’s an ever changing process, and I think the key is that everyone has off days/down days and then we shake it off and get back to business. I chose this field. Maybe one day I’ll move out of Student Affairs, but it will be a choice, and it’s mine to make, and it’s not something that may have anything to do with “not loving my job”. I don’t expect utter happiness and growth and challenge every single day. 

Sometimes you have to walk away from a “job you love” to grow as a professional. I would say “I loved my job” at Loyola University New Orleans back in the day. I used to say that if I won the lottery I would keep going to work. I was younger then. Single, living in “the big city”, falling in love. It was an exciting time in my life, my second job out of grad school. I was growing as a professional, I loved my students, loved the institution and yet it became time to move. Hurricane Katrina was just the final reminder. Growth was more important. I had to move on to other opportunities.

No job will LOVE you back. You can get fulfillment from it, and you can make an impact, but those do not equal love.

I agree with this. Love your achievements. Love your impact. Love the moments that make you glad you went into Student Affairs. No job is perfect. I believed I loved my job at Loyola and I probably did – but there were down days there too. There were days I would come back to my apartment and cry. Decisions made for me that I hated. Incidents where I was treated unfairly and/or disrespectfully – but overall I was lucky to have had all those experiences.

Another example outside of Student Affairs – a friend of my husband called him one day to say that local competing company had offered him a managerial position with incredible pay. He was hesitant to leave his current position because he had been with the company for 25 years. My husband encouraged him to research it, take into consideration retirement plans and the opportunities it would present for him and his family. He did, he accepted the position and was really happy. At first. Months later he called to say that he had resigned. He made more money in a few months then he did in years at his old job, but the quality of life was so bad he had to stop. Apparently his supervisor created such a stressful environment that he was on medication. We were glad he chose to quit, and he was able to go back to his old job with no hard feelings.

You never know what impact the decisions you make will have on your life – but if you are truly unhappy – you will know it. It is then up to you to get yourself OUT. There is a difference between “It’s not rainbows and sunshine all the time” and a situation where your mental health is in danger. Trying to love your job is one thing. Hating it and needing to move on is another. If you need to stay for a bit longer, can’t leave right away, take what you need for when you leave. I don’t mean pencils. I mean no job is a total waste. Learn what you can and take that important knowledge with you to your next position.

I guess my final thoughts are that it would be lovely to have a job that you absolutely loved day in and day out without fail. If you truly believe yourself to be in this position – Congratulations. That’s an amazing place to be. Enjoy it as long as you can.

If you are “fakin’ it to make it” on online because you are creating this online persona that needs to seem happy, or if you are job searching and want to seem like a team player who always gives their all but are actually not sure if you “love” your job – I feel sorry for you. I imagine it’s hard to maintain a false identity all the time. You are not Batman.

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