I think it’s safe to say most people don’t have day jobs that light them up. Most of us go to work because we have to. We have bills, kids and hungry bellies, so work is more of a means to an end rather than an exciting part of our lives, right?
We get stuck in dayjob routines where we lose sight of what attributes we bring to the table, even in the smallest of ways.
I was in a Subway restaurant recently and the people who work there are called Sandwich Artists. I saw that and smiled. I thought to myself, “What if we all viewed our jobs as a way of being an artist of whatever task we’re performing?”
An artist of office work.
An artist of dentistry.
An artist of teaching.
An artist of caring for our family.
The word artist has connotations of performing something unique to who you are. Whether you’re doing construction work or conducting an orchestra, no one else will do it just how you’ll do it because, well, no one else is you, right?
I imagine most of us are not so great at looking at our jobs through such a lens. We get tired and bored and view our jobs as simply something we have to do to avoid being naked and hungry. Rarely do we pause to feel the satisfaction of doing the work we do.
Sometimes our jobs feel like a heavy weight to bear that comes with being an adult. Working can be a mix of drudgery and routine, and it takes a step back sometimes to refresh the way we look at how we bring ourselves to each day instead of shoving the day on auto-pilot.
Not many of us are lucky enough to have jobs that match the vision we had in our heads as kids. If we had a choice, most of us would choose jobs that are totally in line with our passions. But what happens when life serves up situations that fall short from the visions we conjured?
We roll with it. We see ourselves as artists at work, putting our spin on the job we do that only we can bring by being uniquely ourselves. We see how the work we do reaches the people we come in contact with and put an extra personalized touch to our work.
How do we do this? I have a day job where I answer the same questions over and over each day, so I remind myself even though it’s the 10th time I’m answering this question, it’s the first time the person on the phone is asking it. So I’ll answer it like I’m not exhausted from it. I’ll help her because she needs it, and I’ll do it with patience and friendliness because good energy begets more good energy, and I want that rather than getting sucked into a vortex of grumpiness.
I make it a point to have fun at work. I listen to music and laugh with coworkers. I have a standup desk to keep me energized. I jot down personal goals as they come to me throughout the day to look forward to personally and professionally.
If I look at each day as a project and challenge to make that day the best it can be, I find my work more rewarding. If I take time to appreciate where I am instead of where I am not, my day has more depth.
I once visited my grandma in the nursing home before she passed, and I asked her how they were treating her there. She sighed, “Oh, they’re nice enough, but I can tell they rush through things because they just want to get home to their own families.” I responded saying ho