Work, work, work– we all have to do it.  It’s how we pay the bills, how we use up our time, and, sometimes, how we identify ourselves.  When working takes up 40 hours or more of our week and 8 hours or more of our days, it’s hard not to consumed by our jobs and to let them take over every aspect of our lives.  When work is going well, everything in my life seems to just fall into place but when work isn’t going well I seem to have a perpetual raincloud above my head (think Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh).

I go back and forth a lot about my job– some days I love the work I’m doing: the writing, the meetings with partner groups, the satisfaction of getting a lot of work done well.  Other days, like today, I abhor it: terrified of my boss, redoing stacks of paperwork, filling in database after database, dreadful internet research.  But I’m trying to intentionally change my attitude about work and see these awful days as opportunities…so cliche, right?

Although I’ve had more difficult days at my job than enjoyable ones, I’ve come to realize how much I have learned in just five months.  I have to think that I wouldn’t have learned nearly as much if I hadn’t messed up so much.  Why is it that we learn the most from our mistakes?  That’s no fun!

So here I am, trying to take this awful, no good, very bad day (at 10:30 am) and turn it into a golden opportunity to learn something about my work, about myself, and about other people.  Gosh it’s hard and it takes a lot of energy to change a mindset but I can’t continually wallow in self pity and discouragement when I don’t enjoy my job.  The wallowing only leads to more self pity and anger and wishing that I was somewhere else, doing someone else’s amazing job instead of  embracing where I am and what I’m doing with an openness to learn.  Dorothy L. Sayers describes perfectly the importance of changing our mindset about meaningful work:

“Unless we change our whole way of thought about work, I do not think we shall ever escape the appalling squirrel-cage of economic confusion in which we have been madly turning for the last three centuries or so, the cage in which we landed ourselves by acquiescing in a social system based on envy and avarice.”

Sayer’s warning is more important to heed than ever in these times of extreme corporate greed and dissatisfaction from the masses.  Yes I know things are often out of our control but, contrary to how it may feel at times, our own minds and mindsets are not.  We have 40+ hours a week, 8+ hours a day to do something more than just tread in a circle– what are you going to do with them?