How a New Job Helped Me Appreciate My Existing One
When the changes you seek are internal, not external
I used to hate my job.
I disliked every task, could not care about the project’s goals, and therefore did the bare minimum. I was the most miserable Marketing Assistant and constantly complained to my family. Today, I do the same job at the same company and find joy.
The problem wasn’t my work; rather, it was my approach to it. Though likely not shocking, it took quite some time to figure out. Below is how it went.
The Possibility of Change
Hating your job in the midst of a pandemic leaves you with very few options for change. So when a nice job opening appeared, I applied immediately. The Marketing Manager interviewed me immediately and -on the same day of the interview- called me with an offer.
The company offering me the job had a special place in my heart because it was where I did my internship after university. The people who would be my coworkers were cool, and I would do things I felt comfortable with. What’s not to love? Even with those things in mind, I ended up turning down the job offer. It wasn’t an easy decision, but the possibility of change forced me to see things from a different perspective.
What I Changed
Having an escape available made me reevaluate my position. I asked myself a few core questions:
Which job had the most appealing responsibilities?
Which company had the best trajectory?
Which one offered the best salary?
Which one would lead me closer to my personal goals?
My current job checked all the right boxes, while the one they offered me was entry-level, which meant going back a few steps on the career ladder. That exercise not only made me see the facts, but it also made me realize that the change I was seeking wasn’t external but internal. No matter what offer companies made me; I would still feel unhappy.
So I made a few internal changes, and everything improved.
Approaching It as a Choice
The first thing I dealt with was reflecting on the fact that I never applied for my job; I got it through a referral. The company had a need, I had the skills, and I was unemployed. It was a match!
I saw my job as something that was forced on me by circumstances rather than something I chose to do. Declining the new job offer and choosing to stay where I was meant I was deciding about my position, job, day-to-day, and career.
The thing is, the way you approach things has a big impact on the way you experience them. Switching my mind from obligation to choice was everything.
Focusing on Potential, Not Results
You rarely see immediate results when working in marketing. So, as a Marketing Assistant, I had a long list of responsibilities and few results to appreciate. The thought: “It doesn’t matter if I do this or not; nothing would change,” was recurrent.
Results have a big effect on motivation. Because the results took a long time to show, my motivation was low. That was until I changed my focus: I went from focusing on results to focusing on the potential every task and project had. I kept in mind the outcomes that my tasks and projects would have in the company. That practice made it easy for me to see that my responsibilities have a big impact; and that it matters whether I complete them or not.
Finding Meaning Outside Work
I had the utopian idea that I would find a job that would meet my intellectual desires and, therefore, would make me feel successful. Through expecting complete fulfillment through my job, it was very easy to feel like a failure, which made me feel like I had no purpose and was pathless.
Now, I understand that fulfillment comes mainly from what I do in my free time. I can still do what I love, even if that isn’t in my job description. After taking that big “my job needs to make me feel completely satisfied” expectation, I have enjoyed my work a lot more.
What Changed After I Changed
The Potential Work Responsibilities Have in My Life
Deciding to stay at my job made me appreciate the value of my job’s tasks and necessary skills. I realized that, what I learn and do in my position at the company, applies to different projects in my personal life. That meant that my responsibilities intermingled with my interests. How lucky am I?!
I started using my tasks at work to learn and get better at what I’m interested in: writing and sharing online. Now, thanks to the practice my job position gives me, I feel confident in embracing new projects. Writing online feels less scary because I already keep the company blog and newsletter.
Seeing Work as a Learning Zone
After understanding the potential my obligations have in my personal life, I started taking my job as a learning zone for my interests. My job is not something I only do from nine to six p.m.; it also forces me to learn new things and experiment constantly. I think that is the key to feeling fulfilled.
Taking work as an opportunity to learn doesn’t come automatically. I went a long way to realize my job position's potential in learning new skills.
My Whole Experience
After staying, my relationship with coworkers and managers has improved considerably; I approach each task positively, take interest in learning about related subjects, and feel satisfied with my professional life and genuinely happy.
It only took approaching my situation as a choice, focusing on its potential, and lowering expectations to turn a tough experience into a pleasant one. Now I understand that feeling fulfilled depends on me, not external factors.