• Nicole Bentley, LCSW

A Different Perspective on Work

In the movie “Return to Me”, the character Marty O’Reilly says “I am blessed with work”. Talk about a different perspective! It seems that all we hear about work these days is how we don’t want to go, we can’t wait for it to be over, and we don’t enjoy it. A job is something that gives us money so we can live our lives, but can it be more? Are we truly blessed with work?

If you are a person who has to work to earn a living, it is likely that you will be working in a full time capacity for upwards of 40 years before you retire. I know that can sound daunting, but it is also a reminder to begin to shift your relationship with work so that it serves you, rather than tearing you down over time. Here are some ways to do that:

  1. Consider what work does for you! The language around work typically revolves around what you do for others or for your job, and we don’t always take the time to reflect on what work gives us in return. A sense of accomplishment or belonging, confidence, friendship, focus or challenge. Work can also be a distraction during a hard time or can provide a sense of pride in yourself. By considering your working relationship to be a 2-way street, it automatically seems more fair and less like you are giving yourself to something that gives nothing back, which can feel absolutely crushing.

  2. Alter your language around work. If you notice that friends or co-workers are typically speaking negatively about their jobs or work in general, try flipping the script. Maybe discuss the best part of your work day, or what you appreciate most about your boss or co-workers. Language is powerful and you might be surprised at what begins to shift within you when you start to talk about work differently.

  3. Actively pick out your favorite parts of work and focus mindfully on them. This can be anything from a particular meeting, or task, or even Friday lunches with co-workers. Making something you enjoy about work your focus, and intentionally looking forward to it, will help to shift your perspective once again.

These techniques are helpful as you aim to incorporate some enjoyment and appreciation of your work with the acceptance that you have to work to maintain your lifestyle. With practice, these techniques can help you feel more satisfied with your work, and less weighed down at the same time. Feel free to start practicing, and share with your co-workers too!

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