“If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life,” might be the motto of people who have already landed their dream jobs. But for those of us who chose a paycheck over passion or simply took the first job we could get, sometimes it’s all we can do to show up with a smile on our face.
Are you resigned to a career of dissatisfaction if you hate your job? Absolutely not.
Whether you despise your job or you just don’t quite love it anymore, we’ve covered a lot you can do to make the best of it. Today, we’d like to add to the list by pointing out three must-read career books for anyone who finds themselves hating a once-lovable job:
Start by Jon Acuff
New York Times best-selling author Jon Acuff believes it’s possible for you to love Mondays again. In fact, he believes that loving Mondays is a state of mind, not a particular job, position, or salary. If you’ve started to hate your job, or if you woke up wondering, “How did I get here?” then Start will help you map out a way to make the most of the life you’re living.
In particular, Start is a fear-buster. It’s a punch to the gut that will ask you to re-evaluate what your career goals are (Just funding your life? Or working up to something big?) and push you to dig deeper for something that really brings you joy.
After all, Acuff argues, joy is the ultimate goal of any career, whether you get it directly from the job or the long-term impact of your working life. Joy is also what will carry you through those natural ruts in loving your job. As Acuff puts it, “Joy is an incredible alarm clock. It will wake you up and keep you up and pick you up and gently pull you through a thousand rejections along the way.”
The biggest lesson of all from Start? That purpose is not a final destination. You don’t one day find your purpose and then live it until you die. Instead, you start right where you are to find ways to live with purpose now – yes, even in the job you don’t care for.
Originals by Adam Grant
We briefly featured Originals in our January book list for good reason: it’s an easy read packed with enlightening (and entertaining) anecdotes from famous business leaders, scientists, and government intelligence strategists. But this book delivers more than high-end gossip and distraction from your career; Grant pairs each story with data from supporting psychology experiments that pass on insight that you can use to be more original at work (without being a diva).
Because isn’t that the script most of us have for “original”? When we think of original thinkers, we think of trendsetters who buck tradition for the sake of bucking it. And while that might make for an exciting Friday afternoon, that’s not the definition of originality that will help you love your job again.
Instead, Grant offers advice that will help you more easily identify your original thoughts, get more people on board with your ideas, and lead coworkers past groupthink and toward truly original innovation – and who wouldn’t love a job that lets you do all that?
Roadmap by Roadtrip Nation
While Roadmap spends a lot of time discussing creative career options that might entice you to find a new job, it also sends a powerfully positive message about what you can re-think when you hate your job.
For starters, it will pull your attention to what the writers call, “Foundations,” or core values of work that are attractive to you, like, “Helping people,” “Being physically active,” or “Building things.” Once you figure out what’s important to you, you can re-assess whether or not your current job meets those needs and brainstorm ways to incorporate your career foundation into that job.
For example, after reading Roadmap, you might realize that “Communicating and sharing stories” is a huge motivator for you, and when you first started your job you were energized by the networking and collaboration it required to get up to speed. But then you realize there’s been a big change in the past few months, and you’ve been interacting with people less and less, relying more on email than phone or in-person interactions. Because of this insight, you might find it gives you a huge boost in affection for your job if you revisit the social side and structure your day around communicating and sharing information. Same job, same results, but a drastically improved experience for you.