Make Your Job a Joy!
Before we truly begin, let's study that three letter word at the end - joy. According to dictionary.com, joy means:
the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation:She felt the joy of seeing her son's success. a source or cause of keen pleasure or delight; something or someone greatly valued or appreciated:Her prose style is a pure joy. the expression or display of glad feeling; festive gaiety. a state of happiness or felicity.
verb (used without object)
to feel joy; be glad; rejoice.
I like the sound of that. Don't you? In fact, I want more of that in my life, beginning with the 40 plus hours I spend on work each week.
But wait; there's more!
Let's go to thesaurus.com and check out some synonyms for joy:
Amusement, satisfaction, jubilance, wonder, delight, gladness, elation, gratification, glee, humor, refreshment, and rejoicing are but a few.
I like the sound of that even more. Don't you? I really want more of that in my life!
My main gig is in collections. No one ever went into collections to have fun. Nope. Never, ever.
In fact, when a day is spent in collections, it's a good bet that one will be yelled at, screamed at, cursed out, belittled, and more. All because someone else can't handle their own finances and it's our fault. Somehow...
After spending two years trying to come to grips with this treatment, I started doing research on how to make some changes. And, obviously, there is no way to change the customers. So, I started looking at ways to change me. That journey can be found in previous blogs, but let's just say that I spent a considerable amount of time doing research, research, and more research on the subject.
I started listening to myself more during the conversations, and really put a huge effort towards remaining calm, shutting out everything but what the customer was really saying underneath all the anger and blustering.
I started noticing something truly amazing: I was staying calm and actually keeping my sense of humor! Perhaps I should say, I found myself regaining my sense of humor.
Even more, I found that humor sneaking out during customer conversations. Even more amazing, I found it was affecting the customers. In a good way.
They were also remaining calmer, and when they realized that, they gave our conversation a chance.
My temporary work-from-home office is also my bedroom and, when working, the door is closed and locked to keep Bella (my canine pal) out. The closed door is also to keep the conversations private.
One of my roommates made the observation that, from what little filters out of my side of the conversation sounds like a good time is being had.
Indeed! I frequently laugh with customers now. Not at them; with them.
In doing my research this week, the first site I went to had this recommendation:
Try to develop a positive attitude by looking for even a single good element in your boring job. Instead of focusing on what you don’t like, think about what you do like. Write the positives on a piece of paper and secure it to your bathroom mirror or your work locker and look at it for inspiration. If nothing else, be thankful you have a job when many people are unable to find employment. (Note 1)
There are other excellent tips in that same article. But that one struck a chord with me. And, it confirmed for me that I was on to something special in my own search for growth and improvement.
So, on went the research, and in the second site I found was this little gem:
If you approach your job as a calling, you focus on the work itself. You're less interested in financial gain or career advancement, preferring instead to find a sense of fulfillment from the work itself. (Note 2)
I also found this tip in the same article:
Whether your work is a job, a career or a calling, you can take steps to restore its meaning. Make the best of difficult work situations by maintaining a positive attitude. (Note 3)
The search didn't stop there. Growth never ends as long as we search for it. Glad I did because I found this beauty:
“Character strengths” are virtues, such as creativity, honesty, kindness, social intelligence, or gratitude, that allow you to express goodness and help yourself and others. Finding and expressing your unique character strengths can fill your life with more meaning and satisfaction. (Note 4)
I almost stopped reading right there. Good sense prevailed, and on I went on to find this nugget:
Now, imagine a future where you will no longer be in a job you despise, where you'll be able to continue pursuing your goals, and where you'll finally have a career that provides both meaning and happiness. Your current situation will get you there eventually—you just have to be patient. By reflecting on the past and connecting it to the future, you can make your present unhappiness circumstance more bearable. (Note 5)
Still, I wasn't done. I needed more confirmation for self to really embrace the fact that I was on the correct path.
When we feel joy, we feel great about ourselves. We feel confident, powerful, capable, lovable and fulfilled. These are all good reasons to experience more joy in our life. (Note 6)
Bingo! That's what I needed to hear.
Reading on, I was reminded of what I most needed to hear: our joy, our self worth, our confidence does NOT come from others, but from our own innermost being:
Joy doesn't come from others; it comes from within. Interrupt negative thoughts about yourself and replace them with statements that honor yourself, such as, "I'm fine the way I am. I'm whole and complete. I did my best. I can do this. I love myself. What I'm seeking is within me." Also, focus on the good and what you did well. Write down self-appreciations so you can read and say them frequently. The more you reinforce these concepts, the more they'll become reality. (Note 7)
I can hear someone out there asking me if life is all roses now. No, of course not. I still get those customers who should be grateful there is only a telephone connection between us. And, that would be for their protection. :)
I still wake up some mornings and my first thought is: Oh no, I just can't do this today.
In fact, the first calls may try my patience until I take a moment and ask myself if this is how I want to spend the day. I loudly respond with a "No!"
I take a moment to just breathe and clear my head and then put a big, ole smile on my face and in my heart.
When that next call comes through, I am telling myself, "They need assistance and they are coming through my line for a reason. Let's do this, Vick. We got it!"
As silly or as stupid as it sounds, I am finding that it works. And, I am laughing most of the day. I am finding reasons to really appreciate the people on the other end of the line with fewer exceptions. Most importantly, at the end of the day, I am happy.
I will take that.
And, I hope that somewhere in the words above, YOU might find some inspiration, guidance, a clue, or something that will help YOU on YOUR journey!
That's what life is, after all. A journey. I am all in favor of enjoying that journey until the trumpet blows. How about YOU?
Well, my friends, I truly hope this has helped in some way. Just keep believing in yourself, keep seeking growth, keep smiling, and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Oh, and keep breathing!
See YOU next week!