I was in our office one Thursday morning when my business partner and friend, Ian, said, “Sha, let’s go to Palawan!”
Our common friends Val and Kat were there to conduct life skills training for the unemployed youth. Ian knew how much I love workations so she invited me there so we could write and rest while our friends were conducting their seminar.
On Day 1, Ian missed her flight. She had to rebook and pay more than what she initially paid for her round-trip ticket. She also had to go home and then return to the airport the next day. Imagine the hassle.
On Day 2, right after she landed in Palawan, she went straight to a school for a business meeting while her luggage was delivered to the hotel.
On Day 3, we woke up very early because we had a radio interview.
Day 4, Saturday, was an enjoyable day for all of us because we went to the Palawan Underground River, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
Day 5, Sunday, was supposed to be Ian’s “me time” but our friend Kat was rushed to the emergency room because she had an upset tummy, perhaps from eating tamilok and sashimi the previous day. So we stayed in the hospital until past 12 midnight.
Day 6, Monday, was graduation day for the participants of the life skills training. Ian was one of the masters of ceremonies. Right after the graduation, we went straight to the airport for our flight back to Manila.
Ian went to Palawan to take a break from her busy schedule in Manila. But she ended up “working” most of the time, plus the hassle of the missed flight. What an expensive vacation that was!
But my friend beamed with happiness. I never heard her complain. She was grateful for the smallest things.
She was happy she saw the underground river. She was happy she spent time with us. She was happy she was able to make it to Palawan.
Ian had all the reasons to complain but she chose to look at what’s beautiful in her situation. Her decision to choose happiness made all of us happier.
Maybe there are many things you dislike about your company and your boss. Maybe your boss is too grouchy. Maybe your job is boring. Maybe the pay is not much. But maybe there are good things about your job. Maybe if you just have a paradigm shift, there are things you’d be grateful for.
What is that one thing you like about your job? What are you grateful for?
One way to love your job is to find meaning in what you do. It’s hard, I know. I’ve been there.
Find Meaning in What You Do
When I worked in the call center department of a bank, I had to work on weekends, holidays, and night shifts. There were many important family occasions that I missed because I needed to work.
Every day, I would drag myself to work. Every day, I’d pray to God, “Lord, give me the grace to go through this day.”
On my way to work and all throughout the day, I’d tell myself, “I love my job! I love my job! I love my job!” But by midday, I’d be crying in silence. Deep inside, I prayed, “Lord, I can’t take this anymore!”
This went on for days. Days turned to weeks. Weeks turned to months. And months turned to years. It was such a difficult season for me. I remember calling up my parents who were based in the province. They would take turns in consoling me. They would tell me to be patient and to love my job since I work in a good company.
I loved everything about the company — the culture, the integrity of the corporation, my colleagues and bosses, the corporate social responsibility projects, the top management. It was just my job itself that I didn’t like. I felt I was doing something that was not in line with what I wanted to do and what I do best.
I’d cry buckets of tears during that time. I was desperate to resign — ASAP! Yet, I couldn’t, because at that time, I had credit card debts and I had no savings. But more than that, I didn’t know what to do if I did resign.
It took me years to turn around my finances and discover my passion for writing and public speaking. But when I knew my passion and purpose, everything had meaning. Going to work had meaning. Yes, I still didn’t like my job but my mindset and perspective changed. I saw everything as a preparation for that great leap — when I would finally quit my job.
I had a different perspective! I worked to learn. I learned that money is a symbol of value. It was a light-bulb moment for me.
My new mindset became, “Lord, how can I add more value to the company?” I was learning soft skills like how to deal with difficult clients, how to be a good team player, punctuality, excellence, professionalism, etc.
I would go to work and observe how my boss led us. Is her style effective? What’s good about her leadership style? What can be improved?
I also learned the value of honoring your promise. If I promised a client I would call him up at 3:00 p.m., I’d make sure to do so. I learned how to work with a team. I learned how to deal with office gossip by not contributing to the discussion. I learned how to dress up appropriately for corporate settings. I didn’t like my work but I chose to love it every single day. No, it didn’t come easy. In fact, it was a painful sacrifice. It was mortification. I struggled to love my work. Every day, I would still strive to go to work on time.
Every day, I tried to give my best. I didn’t go on extended lunch breaks or 15-minute breaks. I showed malasakit for the company. I treated the company as if I were a stakeholder. When I used the restroom, I was conscious about using water and tissue paper properly because I care for the environment.
My Mama influenced me to adopt her favorite Bible verse from Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”
Now that I’m an infopreneur and a full-time author and speaker, I could say that all those Monday blues at the start of another work week, all those days when I would wait for 5:00 p.m. so I could go home after a day’s work, and all those days when I dragged myself to work were worth it. In fact, I think I wouldn’t appreciate the freedom I have now if I didn’t experience the di culties, challenges, and pains of being employed. Because how can you say you’re happy if you don’t know what it feels to be sad?
Love Your Job
Here’s my challenge: Love your job as much as you can. Yes, even if you hate it. Go to work on time. Do your work well even if the boss is not around. Treat your clients right even if they’re difficult to deal with. By doing this, you’re building your character. This will come in handy when you quit your job and put up your own business.
Two things can happen. You can eventually like your job and — who knows? — you’ll realize you don’t need to quit. Or, you’ll confirm that your job is not for you. You gave your best. You tried to love it, but you and your job were not just meant for each other.You can tell your job, “It’s not you, it’s not me either. We’re just not meant to be!”
*This is an excerpt from my latest book “Is it Time to Quit Your Job?
I wish you success and happiness!
Author. Speaker. Coach.