Most of us hate our jobs. We hate dealing with irate customers, inept bosses, lazy co-workers and work that is mind-numbingly tedious. Work sucks so we fantasize about magical places where we can do whatever we want and make wheel-barrel loads of money, maybe even get our picture on the cover of a magazine somewhere. That is the life the life of the entrepreneur. Digital nomads or location independent professionals have it even better. They get to travel to exotic locations around the world while earning a great income from anywhere with an Internet connection. Ah… the good life indeed!
Is the Grass Really that Green?
The problem is that starting your own business or working from another country still involve the very thing you are trying to escape: WORK. In fact, working for yourself generally has more responsibilities and requires more hours and effort than working for others.
I have been running my own businesses and living abroad for more than a decade, so I can definitely recommend both choices to anyone. However, I feel it is healthier to approach big lifestyle changes like entrepreneurship and a nomadic lifestyle from a personal growth perspective, rather than just escaping your job routine.
If you are unable to find good in the work you are currently doing, it is unlikely that you will find it in starting your own business or trying to work from exotic locations around the world. Work is work, no matter if you are your own boss or you are doing it while traveling. If you had difficultly motivating yourself in the past, those same problems will likely continue to exist in your own ventures
I believe that people who can justify mediocre effort to themselves in one area of their life find it easier to make excuses for all areas of their life. Musicians and athletes in particular understand the necessity of endless hours of practice so they typically put that same effort into their work and businesses. People willing to put in a minimum level of effort in their work, are also probably quick to give up learning foreign languages, practicing musical instruments or exercise. Work can be a chance to showcase your quality as an individual if you rise up to the opportunity. Here are some ways to make any job more personally rewarding.
Dealing with Boring Work
When your work is repetitive and dull, look inward to focus your thoughts. Concentrate on exactly what it is you are doing. Really feel and appreciate every breath, every moment. This is the essence of mediation. You do not need to burn incense and travel to Tibet to get in touch with your spiritual side. Buddhism is about being present in everything you do, eating, cleaning, breathing and yes, even work. Monks do endless hours of tedious chores because of the meditative value. Be thankful that someone is paying you to do that at work.
Enjoying Physical Work
I love physical work. I worked construction for a couple of summers in university and there is just such a feeling of accomplishment when you finish a task or project and your body is physically tired. You don’t get that feeling from working behind a computer. Embrace the physicality and feel it in your muscles. Be thankful that you don’t need to go to a gym to stay in shape.
Placating a Domineering Boss
Some managers can be jerks. They may be on a huge ego trip. They may be incompetent. They may hate you. Sure you could humiliate your boss. You could put in substandard work or slack off. You can denigrate your boss every opportunity you have. That just brings you down to the level of your superior. Rise above difficult situations by delivering more than is expected and giving your boss all the credit. Ignore negativity and criticism and just strive to deliver your best. Nothing is gained by fighting and creating more animosity. It is very hard for anyone to continue being a jerk when they always get kindness in return. Kindness works! Try it for a month and see for yourself.
Work and life require effort. The more you put in, the more you get out. When people say a job is boring, it usually means they are not striving to learn new things and improve the quality of what they are doing. Study more about your company and your work. Learn new skills. Try to become great at what you do. Mastery has a way to turn most work into a personal journey of self-improvement.
Use your time in a company to connect with as many people as you can. Become genuinely interested in other people around you. Remember their names. Help whenever you can. Give for the sake of giving. Humanity is all about relationships. Be friendly and supportive to those around you and see what a difference it will make in your life.
People often forget that the purpose of every company is to create value for customers. We all have little difficulty complaining when we get lousy service and low quality goods from a business; Flip that around and consider your own attitude towards work. When you buy from a company, do you expect courteous and conscientious service? Are you delivering that same level of service in your job or business?
Future job and business opportunities often arise from previous employment. Great effort and talent gets noticed sooner or later. What kind of personality traits and work ethic would you want if you were looking to hire, invest in or partner with someone? Start demonstrating those qualities now and your future opportunities will explode. These skills and personality traits will serve you even better if you choose to venture out into your own business.