Your Career Can Be Your Valentine

February 14, 2018

“If I didn’t ride blade on curb, would you still (love me)
If I made up my mind at work would you still (love me)
Keep it a hundred, I’d rather you trust me than to (love me)
Keep it a whole one hund’, don’t got you I got nothing”
(Duckworth, K., Pacaldo, Z., Walton, T., Spears, M., Kurstin, G., & Tiffith, A., 2017)
A few years ago, I read an article that compared LinkedIn to and likened professional Recruiters (like myself) to Matchmakers.  My first reaction was, “I don’t know what you heard about me…I’m a Recruiter not a P.I.M.P.!” (I think in song).  After exorcising the Snoop Dog and 50 Cent voices from my head, I realized the comparisons were pretty accurate.
  • People in search of love can create online profiles on various dating sites containing narratives about why you should pick them.
  • People on the hunt for jobs post their resumes to various job boards and create online profiles on networking sites (like LinkedIn) with the intention of catching a potential employers attention.
  • Job seekers go on interviews in hopes of securing employment and singles go on dates in hopes of securing relationships.
  • Matchmakers use their skills to match their clients’ with potential mates who embody their desired and required attributes.
  • Recruiters make the best possible match between their company’s or customers’ required and desired skills for a particular opening and available talent.
As I dug deeper, I found that we use the same language to talk about work that we do our romantic relationships.
I love/hate my job.
I’m married to my career.
This project is my baby .
I’m passionate about (insert career field).
Today is my (x) year anniversary at the company!
Like couples who will be looking for ways to ignite the fire in their relationships and single people who are looking to spark a new flame, you may need some tips for putting the love back in your career.
Here are a few of my go-tos.
Re-examine your goals.  
We all have days when we feel that our jobs are, at best, lackluster.  If these days are the rule and not the exception it could be an indication that your plan is off course or you may need to make some adjustments.  Like romantic relationships, we set achievement milestones.  “I will make Partner by 30.” “In 2 years I will get promoted.”  You should be setting and re-setting your goals, working your plans, and adjusting your timelines more than twice a year to adhere to your Performance Development Cycle.
Dress up more often. 
Think back to when you were preparing for the interview that landed you the job you are in today. You looked professional, polished and poised, right? Then you got the job and on your first day you dressed like the CEO, right?  The added confidence I get from looking “sharp” does wonders for my overall outlook and how I will approach work that day.  I make it a point, when I’m “feeling some type of way”, to stay away from the casual/comfortable clothes in my closet.  It not only improves my attitude about work but how others relate to me in the workplace.
Do something new.
Monotony will turn you into a robot.  Robots can only do what they are programmed to do.  A major component of my job is conducting self-audits. There are no words to accurately describe how terribly mind-numbing and manual this task is. Instead of letting the “we’ve always done it that way” attitude drown me in a sea of minutia, I find ways to make it more interesting for myself and those who will read the report.  Take an out-of-the-box thinking approach to a current assignment that gives you the blues, or better yet, suggest ways to improve a process.  Start with asking, “Why?”
Take a vacation.
There is a MasterCard commercial that proclaims 400 million vacation days go unused each year.  Using my experience as an indicator, I don’t think this number is a gross exaggeration aimed to guilt you into using your credit card to take a trip. Every year, I watch my coworkers scramble to take days off before the “use or lose deadline” to reduce their Paid Time Off bank to the maximum roll-over allotment. Since there’s no Perfect Attendance Plaque or other public acknowledgement given; take time where no emails are read, no voicemails are heard, and no meetings are attended.  Use the time to recharge and don’t worry, your co-workers will figure out how to survive without you.  I’m not encouraging overspending or doing something elaborate…“staycations” work too.
Lastly, HAVE FUN! 
I’m sure you work really hard every day.  Like, chained to your desk, working lunch, wait until you get home to go to the bathroom, no personal calls, you uninstalled Google Chrome- hard. There is no rule that says work has to be the antidote to fun. I used to work with someone who could sense when we all needed a “break”. She would emerge from her office at random times throughout the week to stage impromptu talent shows (singing, dancing, acting out something one of her kids had done, etc). Even the people that thought it was silly couldn’t help but join in, laugh, and have fun for those five or so minutes.  The best part was that for the rest of the day everyone was happy and more productive.