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“I really shouldn’t say anything. At least this is a known poison. I guess things are tolerable right now. If I offered to do more, I could make things worse. If I rocked the boat it might sink. Better keep quiet. Leave things as they are. Although I wish…”

We can spend a large amount of our time involved in our jobs. That time can be enjoyable and support our feeling good about ourselves, or they can be the opposite. It may seem like we have no choices with regard to our jobs, but it might help to examine if we indeed have some choices, and what they may be.

We can start with the saying: “If we always do what we’ve always done, we’ll always get what we’ve always gotten”. Inertia can be difficult to overcome, but it is possible, and comes with a big payoff. First, we can decide what we would like to change.

We might want to change the way we look at and describe our jobs, leading to more joy about how we spend our work time. Rather than looking at it as a known “poison”, we become aware of and grateful for the things we do appreciate about our jobs. We can become mindful of the colleagues we enjoy, the sun that we can see by the window, or the music that we enjoy as we work .

We might want to add to or change the tasks we perform at work. Instead of accepting the status quo, we can offer to take on different or additional projects. While it might feel risky, we can look at it as an opportunity to turn what we are doing into what we want to be doing.

“I volunteered to take on that project but I figured they’d never give it to me! Now I’m in deep doodoo. Where was my brain? How could I possibly have thought that I had what it takes to do the job? What am I going to do now?! Help!”

Sometimes, when we take risks, our assumptions can kick in, attempting to keep us “safe”. In an attempt to derail us and get us back to the seemingly safer status quo, they try to convince us that the worst case scenario is the only possible outcome. Is it possible that we are more capable than we give ourselves credit for? Can we find joy in doing the best that we can do and know that we will likely keep improving?

Even the best of jobs aren’t always completely fulfilling. That fulfillment can come from other places as well. We can examine the possibility of taking on several part-time endeavors. I find the most joy for me comes from a combination of teaching, counseling, consulting, and writing. We can also consider volunteering and actively pursuing hobbies.

Sometimes, if our jobs are intolerable, and we have the option, we might choose to change them.

“These dividers that pass as walls are beginning to close in on me. It’s so noisy I can’t think and the work is so boring. If I have to spend one more day in here I’m afraid I’ll lose what’s left of my mind. Why don’t I send out applications? What, and lose what I’ve got?”

We can use our growing understanding, inner strength and skills to fight inertia. We can move toward spending more and more time feeling good about ourselves, and finding more and more joy in the hours we spend at work.

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