HR Insights

It’s Really Hard Work to Truly Fall in Love With Your Job

LoveJob

Do you know what it felt like the last time you fell in love?

I mean real love? The kind of love where you talk 42 times per day, in between text and Facebook messages and feel physical pain from being apart?

OK, maybe for some of you it’s been a while – you didn’t have the texts or Facebook! But you remember those times when you really didn’t think about anything else, or even imagine not seeing the other person the next day, or hell, the next hour. Falling “in” love is one of the best parts of love – it doesn’t last that long and you never get it back.

I like my job, but I don’t really love it

I hear people all the time say “I love my job” and I never use to pay much attention to it. In fact, I’ve said it myself.

engagement

Illustration by istockphoto.com.

The reality is that I don’t love my job. I mean, I like it a whole lot, but I love my wife, I love my kids, I love Diet Mountain Dew at 7 am on a Monday morning – all the important things in life.

But my job? I’m not sure about that one. As an HR Pro, I’m supposed to work to get my employees to “love” their jobs. Yes — love.

Let me go all Dr. Phil on you for a second. Do you know why most relationships fail? No, it’s not the cheating. No, it’s not the drugs and/or alcohol. No, it’s not money. No, it’s not that he stopped caring. No, it’s not your parents. OK, stop it – I’ll just tell you!

Good at first, then reality sets in

Relationships fail because expectations aren’t met, which seems logical knowing what we know about how people fall in love and lose their minds. Once that calms down, the real work begins. So, if you expect love to be the love of the first 4-6 months of a relationship, you’re going to be disappointed a whole bunch – over and over.

Jobs aren’t much different. You get a new job and it’s usually really good! People listen to your opinion. You seem smarter – hell – you seem better looking (primarily because people are sick of looking at their older co-workers). Everything seems better in a new job.

Then you have your one (1) year anniversary and you come to find out you’re just like the other idiots you’re working with. This is when falling in love with your job really begins, when you know about all the stuff the company hid in the closet – the past employees they think are better and smarter than you, the good old days when they made more money, etc. At that point is when you have to put some work into making it work.

I see people all the time moving around to different employers and never seeming to be satisfied. They’re searching – not for a better job, or a better company – they’re searching for that feeling that will last. But it never will – not without them working for it.

This originally appeared on the blog The Tim Sackett Project.

Tim Sackett, MS, SPHR is executive vice president of HRU Technical Resources, a contingent staffing firm in Lansing, MI. Tim has 20 years of HR and talent background split evenly between corporate HR gigs among the Fortune 500 and the HR vendor community – so he gets it from both sides of the desk. A frequent contributor to the talent blog Fistful of Talent, Tim also speaks at many HR conferences and events. Contact him here.
  • Jo Mills

    Thanks for a great post. Loving your work is a work in progress, and like a relationship requires nurturing. Even when you love your work, you need to actively look for opportunities to create alignment, and show your other half (the employer) why they should still love you too!