Originally authored by Marne Platt at Ms. Career Girl
Do you enjoy your job or dread it?
Another presentation to write? Ugh! Messing with fonts and colours bored Marcia to tears. She would much rather analyze numbers, to find their secrets. Sighing, she turned to her colleague Stephen, who had also just let out a long sigh. ‘What is it?’ She asked him. ‘I hate spreadsheets! I would much rather write your presentations!’ Looking at one another, each had the same idea….
Like Marcia and Stephen, you probably have favorite and dreaded tasks at work. Doing more of what you enjoy can make any job more fun. Here’s how to de-emphasize the boring parts, focus on what you enjoy, and still make the boss happy.
Frankly, your company doesn’t care whether you enjoy your job. They just care if you do it well. Where are your talents: Writing? Analysis? Training? Show it, by doing top-quality work in these areas, every chance you get. Volunteer for the tasks you enjoy that add value to your team. Volunteer often enough, and deliver good work, and you will become the ‘go to person’ for the sort of work you enjoy. Success motivates your manager to give you similar tasks again.
Don Yeager, in his book Great Teams: 16 Things High Performing Organizations Do Differently, describes how high-performing teams work more efficiently. They recognize that each team member brings his or her own unique set of talents, and expertise to work, and they make the most of this. Each team member spends most of their time on tasks at which they excel. You can do the same. Do you have a colleague who loves writing, while you love analyzing numbers? Develop a working relationship with her, so that you can trade tasks to play to one another’s strengths. You will both enjoy your jobs more, and the whole department will benefit.
Any job is more fun when you can focus on the work that you enjoy. Chances are good that you like a task because you do it well. You might enjoy writing reports because you have a way with words. Or you might love to analyze business performance because you’re good at solving numerical problems. Whatever it is, focus on doing it well. If your manager asks you do something you don’t enjoy, try deflecting it to a co-worker who loves it. Asked to give a presentation but hate public speaking? Try offering to write the deck for a colleague who loves the spotlight. Just say ‘Thank you for the opportunity. I get paralyzed on stage. Melanie is an excellent presenter; what if I support her with the content that she then presents? That will get our message across far better.’
Establish a system with your colleagues that delivers the goods. Marcia and Stephen worked it out: Marcia did the analysis, Stephen made the graphs attractive and understandable in presentations, and they called it joint work product. Their manager was happy, and they both had more fun at work.