6Work on your soft skills to become more proficient
7Organize your working day
8Share concerns with team members and leaders
9Write a list of things you appreciate about your job
10Take on new responsibilities
11Vary your working environment
12Take a vacation to recharge
13Last resort: Find your (new) dream job
We spend almost 2,000 hours every year of our lives in our jobs, based on an average 40-hour workweek. That’s why enjoying what you do is so important – it goes faster and you can enjoy life outside of work more, too.
It’s natural to have doubts and difficult periods in any field but they shouldn’t hold you back. Here are 13 simple steps to discover how to love your job this Valentine’s Day.
1. Read great books for a fresh perspective
Fresh ideas from expert-written books can help you find new, exciting ways to approach your work.
One of the best things about reading for self-development is the huge amount of choice available. Whatever your current job and challenges, you’ll find a title to guide and inspire you.
Consider whether it’s your role you’re unsure of or your leader and the co-workers around you.
Sure, your team and manager affect your position, but neither is permanent. If it’s just one person whose behavior irks you, you may feel comfortable approaching them.
If you don’t feel comfortable speaking to them, talk to human resources (HR) or whoever is responsible for employee pastoral care, especially if it affects your productivity.
It’s also important to separate people from their actions. Humans have a tendency to associate someone’s actions with their personality rather than external or environmental factors (this is called the fundamental attribution error).
For example, if someone sends a curt email reply, the recipient is likely to assume the sender is rude, but they may just be busy or under pressure.
Being more aware of these biases helps you overcome them and separate the job or task from people who may rub you the wrong way.
This is how Liina Adov, one of Pipedrive’s in-house experts, puts it.
“At the end of the day, you can’t control what other people do. However, you can control how you let it affect you and what you do about it.”
5. Declutter your workspace
A Brother study of UK office workers once found that an untidy workspace can negatively impact your productivity, promotion opportunities and mental health. That’s enough to stop anyone from loving their job.
Take a minimalistic approach and remove anything in front of you that doesn’t aid your job. A clean slate will help you stay on top of your environment with regular cleaning and tidying.
Keep personal decorations and trinkets as long as they add value. For example, a family photo is more helpful than a pen that ran out of ink months ago – plus, according to research, displaying family photos helps you with social interactions at work and keeps you honest
6. Work on your soft skills to become more proficient
Soft skills can make almost any job easier and more enjoyable and make you easier to work with.
For example, when efficient communication is second nature to you, you can focus on the finer details of your conversations to achieve better outcomes.
A study by EY of over 1,000 US workers found that 87% believe that empathy creates mutual respect between employees and leaders and 85% think it increases employee productivity.
More empathy leads to better communication and a more understanding environment for everyone.
Empathy, problem-solving and collaboration are key ingredients of a happy, productive company culture – one that’s easy to love.
When scientists analyze people who appear to have tremendous self-control, it turns out those individuals aren’t all that different from those who are struggling. Instead, ‘disciplined’ people are better at structuring their lives in a way that does not require heroic willpower and self-control. In other words, they spend less time in tempting situations.
Liina explains how you can maintain that focus.
Defining what is important for you and what you want to achieve today, can help to say “no” to distractions and make space for what is truly valuable for you. Attaching new behaviors to existing habits also makes you more likely to stick to them.
For example, you could reply to emails or send invoices while drinking your morning coffee to help you prioritize your daily tasks.
Sticky notes and hand-written to-do lists are useful but for the best view of your responsibilities, try a project management tool or customer relationship management (CRM) software with task management features.
8. Share concerns with team members and leaders
If you had an exit interview today, what issues would you raise?
Now consider what you gain from waiting – it’s much better to sort niggling problems while you’re still in the role. Then you can get on with loving your work.
Getting support is also likely to help you succeed. In our 2023 state of sales and marketing report, we found that employees who get support from their colleagues and managers are 20% more likely to hit their sales targets.
For example, if you want more recognition, ask for a review of your salary and job title. The worst that can happen is your manager says “no”.
In which case, you’re back in the same position. You might find they solve your problem so you can keep working happily.
9. Write a list of things you appreciate about your job
You may just need to step back and appreciate the little things before you know how to love your job again.
Listing your favorite parts can give you valuable perspective.
You might align your list with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which states that human needs are hierarchical (i.e., lower-level needs take precedence over higher ones).
From most to least important, its five levels are:
1. Physiological needs (most important)
E.g., breathing, food, water, shelter, clothing and sleep
2. Safety and security
E.g., health, employment, property, family and social ability
3. Love and belonging
E.g., friendship, family, intimacy and sense of connection
E.g., confidence, achievement, respect and individuality
5. Self-actualization (least important)
E.g., morality, creativity, spontaneity, acceptance and inner potential
So assuming your environment is physiologically sound, consider how the job also gives you safety, security and feelings of belonging and achievement.
10. Take on new responsibilities
Abraham Maslow, the psychologist behind Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, once said:
If you plan on being anything less than you are capable of being, you will probably be unhappy all the days in your life.
The same applies professionally: if you limit yourself to comfortable tasks and responsibilities, you’re likely to become jaded and unmotivated.
The solution is to put yourself forward for different types of work. Tell your manager you want to become more valuable to the company. For example, if you work in inside sales, ask permission to shadow a field sales rep.
Feel refreshed with your surroundings by working from a range of locations.
A 2022 Gallup study found that hybrid work resulted in greater work-life balance, employees using their time better, higher productivity and a lower risk of burnout.
Working from different locations is easier in some roles than in others but even if you can’t work remotely, switching departments or desks helps. You’ll be close to different people, allowing you to build valuable, job-enhancing connections.
If remote working is feasible, aim to fit two or three locations into each week. You could use your office, home and a coffee shop.
12. Take a vacation to recharge
Absence really can make the heart grow fonder. To prevent burnout and indifference, take a well-earned vacation.
Personal time off (PTO) could help you see your job in a different light, while also letting you recharge your physical and mental batteries.
Note: You don’t need to travel the world for a new perspective. Even a slight change in environment can provide valuable distance between you and your job. If you work in New York City, for example, a quiet break elsewhere in the state could still help.
13. Last resort: Find your (new) dream job
If you’ve tried all of the above and still don’t love the job, it’s time to move on.
List everything you like and dislike about your current role so you know what to prioritize and avoid when searching or speaking with recruiters.
While salaries and perks will likely come to mind first, you’ll gain more from a new job that offers psychological safety. Harvard Professor Amy C. Edmonson defines this as “the belief that one can speak up without risk of punishment or humiliation”.
In other words, seek an environment where you can be your true self, contribute freely and keep developing.