How to Make Your Work Abundantly Nice

Sure, the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.  But it still needs to be mowed.  The teachers that I've worked with in the last ten years occasionally get the itch to look elsewhere.  Sometimes it is the right move, based on one's family situation or even financial benefits to another environment.

But there are no perfect workplaces as we all know. After the initial honeymoon wears off, the true colors of those with whom you work do show and the deep reality of work sets in.  You still have to get up early and occasionally stay late.  Sacrifices will always need to be made.  Conflicts will arise.

So, as I told a friend this past week, you have ultimately three options for those times when you get frustrated:

  • Stay put and learn to work within the system

  • Move on and hope to find a better system

  • Become the boss so that you can steer the system according to your own preferences

For those who choose the first option, there is a temptation to "settle" and lose what broader vision once existed in your career path.  We all know folks like these who have not only settled, they've stagnated and become the kind of establishment that most of us would rather avoid.

On the flip side, when you learn to accept the foibles of those around you - the very system in which you find yourself, there are other benefits.  Here are but a few ways to avoid settling but still appreciate your workplace:

  1. Focus on others but make sure they're the right ones. Don't focus on the downers around you or those who always complain.  Rather, see your work as a ministry where you are at service to the team, the clients or those that are bettered as a result of your organization.

  2. Increase life outside of work.  It sounds strange, but the more valuable your life is outside of work, the more you're able to cope with the oddities inside work. If I didn't have a loving wife and great kids to come home to at night, I would have lost it long ago. In other words- get a life.  When those around you complain, just look forward to the exciting vacation that you have planned or the latest APP that you'll be adding to your new iPhone.  It's that simple.

  3. Look around to gain context. Check out the papers. Drive by another workplace.  Heck, even go through the process of applying for another job.  The point is this- unless you've looked elsewhere and tasted from the menu, the food you're cooking will always seem bland.  Chances are, your current situation might not be that bad after all.

  4. Become a person of prayer.  When the day begins with prayer or a kind of journaling that promotes deeper reflection, the daily grind will not seem to difficult.  It's not that faith in God makes all of life's problems go away.  It doesn't.  The thing about nurturing one's spirit is that God is invited into the daily grind, working mysteriously through those around you and giving you ways to serve them better.

Photo by Elventear