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Love My Job: Get REAL- L is for LOVE

5 min read
May 11, 2022

job satisfaction

Explaining to various people the concept of REAL (Resilience, Empathy, Agility, Love), I saw that, almost without exception, when we come to the word “Love”, it brings a smile to their faces. 

In the beginning, I thought it was a smile of understanding, recognition of its importance. However, over time, I came to realize that mostly it was a smile of embarrassment. Similar to using the F word (feeling) in business, mentioning the L word (love) seems inappropriate. What do you mean? Love what we do? Who even wants to think/talk about that?

Job Satisfaction Survey

A big survey conducted several years ago in the US hospitality industry showed that one particular gentleman in a well-known hotel chain ranked significantly higher than anyone else in the Housekeeping departments across the country. At that moment, he had been doing the same job for 35 years. Asked why he never wanted to advance in his career, he was genuinely shocked. “Of course I did” – he said – “I started as a bellhop and over time became the Head of Housekeeping. What I always wanted was to be the best in the housekeeping job. Every day I look forward to entering the room prepared for new guests, smelling fresh sheets, seeing clean windows and bathrooms, and cushions fluffed to perfection. I feel so happy and proud of my team and myself. I love my job. And that feeling is what keeps me going all these years.”

Saying that we love what we do doesn’t mean walking around with the banner “I love my job” (come to think of it, why not?), but rather, putting ourselves into whatever it is that we do, living up to our values, and understanding the purpose. The, nowadays overused, example of the janitor in NASA asked by President Kennedy what his job was and his reply “I help to send people to the Moon”, sums it up quite nicely. What it means is you love the process of doing what you do, never losing sight of the bigger, better, more fulfilling goal. Instead of taking the easy way out and settling for the status quo, you’ve taken the high road to build a life that inspires you and the people around you.

The harsh truth is that, unless we are born with a lot of money, we all have to work for a living. Ironically, if our love is for the title, position, or money, there will never be real fulfillment in work. There will always be a higher salary, a nicer company car, a juicier compensation letter, a better parking spot, and a sexier title on the business card. Loving what you do means finding joy in your chosen career and focusing your energy, efforts, and motivation on it. That’s where the long-term wins are. And that is what “love what you do” really means: the love you have for waking up every morning and doing whatever you do ultimately leads to happiness and fulfillment. Whether that is selling stuff online, writing computer programs, brewing coffee, or being the Head of Housekeeping.

Do what you love

A word of caution: the bold statement “love what you do” should not be confused with “do what you love”. The “Do what you love” adage is a lovely thing to aspire for and it is advice generously given by many self-help gurus and books. If that were the case, Steve Jobs would have ended up as a monk in a Tibetan monastery. Instead, he chose to put his energy, love, and dedication into creating something beautiful and use his passion for the greater good.

love what you do

Learning how to love what you do is a process. If you don’t feel it now, you should resist the temptation to look at the current career as a failure or mistake. Unless you made some really poor life choices, it is not very likely that as an accomplished financial expert, you would end up as a participant in a seedy TV reality show. Therefore, look at your present situation as a source of information – on what you don’t want to be doing for a living, the strengths you developed in the course of your job(s), and the network you’ve built. When you can learn from your mistakes without beating yourself up over them (or throwing in the towel), every step you take is a step toward a life where you love what you do.

Being able to do that is possible, but it takes time. Decide today (not tomorrow. Not on Monday. Now.) to start working toward your goals and realize that there are many steps along the way between where you begin and where you want to be. Most importantly, cultivate habits that fill your life with joy as you travel down the path to success, fulfillment, a sense of personal worth, and overall happiness.

Simon Sinek, one of the most prominent gurus of the modern business world, put it in simple words (as big truths often are): Find your WHY. Find your purpose. Ask yourself: How do I feel in the morning when the day of work stretches in front of me? What creates positive excitement, what am I looking forward to? What will I do to make myself and others feel good? How would I like to remember this day, this week, or this year in my life?

And if you can’t give an honest answer to these questions that go beyond salary, bonuses, and other material perks, your WHY is not REAL.

Heads Talent Solutions

Author Heads Talent Solutions