The other day I experienced a beautiful moment of serenity at work, and it felt both reassuring and energizing. I just love those moments. Then I realized it had been a while since I’d spontaneously had that feeling at work, and it made me very curious: Why don’t I have access to feelings of serenity at work more often? I love what I do for a living.
As it turns out, even when you love your job, this is normal. There will always be aspects of any role that don’t contribute to your serenity, but that doesn’t always mean your work is negatively impacting your well-being. There are the parts of all jobs that require focus, concentration and have an element of risk associated with them that increases your stress level. Like learning something new through making a mistake or having to do something you don’t enjoy (but need to do well, like having a difficult conversation with your boss to keep your work/life boundaries sacred).
It’s very much an 80/20 rule when it comes to work enjoyment; if 80% of the job challenges you (in a good way) and makes you feel achievement and/or contentment, you are doing well. The other 20%? That is the “normal” amount of stress and bother you can expect in any job (even your dream job).
Right now, you may feel your job is more than 20% stress and bother, and you may be right. Looking into what is working in your role today, and what is not, is very important because both you and your job are evolving, which means something that gave you contentment in the past might just be a giant pain in your butt today (and part of the 20%).
The 80% is what can lift you out of a spiral of stress and discontentment when you do have a great fit with your work and organization. And if you know you are not in the right job, or working for the right employer, it’s the part you need to plan for in any future career moves you want to make.
Whether your job is 80/20, or more like 40/60 right now, there are some things you can do to enjoy more of what’s there to love, helping you to have more of those moments of serenity at work (or get through today while you look for what’s next).
Serenity is always there as a baseline for you, but only when you can acknowledge the effort you put into your work matters to you. It’s up to each of us to clear a path to feel more of those serene moments in our work, not all the time, but more consistently.