Photo by Raj Eiamworakul on Unsplash
Most of us don’t think about what we do for a living as a “relationship”, this is not how we frame our approach to our work life. Jobs, career, professions are viewed as many things; a right of passage, a means to an end, a way to finance the things we want, a way to provide for our families, something we have to do, etc. But as a relationship?
Considering that what we each do for a living has a significant impact on us as human beings, this lens of reciprocal interconnectedness has merit. Like any other important relationship we need to pay attention to our working life in intentional ways for it to sustain and nourish us. After all, it has all of the key characteristics of a relationship:
And that doesn’t even touch on the financial implications of work and livelihood. Over our working lives we will have complex and dynamic experiences within what we do for a living, which shapes both how we relate to what we do in our work and how we relate to ourselves (providing yet another key aspect of a relationship – how it makes us feel about ourselves).
Looking at this more holistically, working life is a concept that encompasses all aspects of what it takes to be a part of the work force; it’s your commute, your compensation, your skills, talent, expertise, attitudes, beliefs, values, feelings of self-esteem, self-actualization, your employer, your job duties, your manager, your peers and colleagues and the amount of energy it takes to be at work (and what energy you have left when you return home). It is the hours it takes away from doing other things and the financial return it gives back to you. Sounds messy doesn’t it? See! You are in a relationship with your work. All of us are.
What this means is the only person who has ownership over ensuring the keys to having a healthy relationship with your career are present in meaningful ways is you. It’s true there is much within your working life you don’t control and don’t own. Your employer may not appreciate your gifts, provide suitable opportunities or have your best interests at heart at work. It can feel like you are a speck of sand on a vast beach, of little consequence and bearing little influence. Except you are 100% in control of you. You are in control of your choices and your choices determine your options. What one simple choice can you explore today that would improve your relationship with your working life? This is about evolution, not revolution; finding the small but impactful ways you may have at your finger tips to make your working life work better for you.