Do You Love 80 Percent of Your Job?

The trick isn't loving everything you do, all the time, but finding a job that is mostly a pleasure.

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Curt Rosengren
“Work is a four letter word,” goes the conventional thinking. It’s something to be endured so you can pay for those precious few hours of fun on the weekend.

It’s probably no great surprise that I don’t see things that way. In my world, work is a four-letter word, just not one that gets edited out in family-friendly shows. It’s a four-letter word--just like love, and kind, and play.

Michael Wade’s post last week, Not All Jobs Can Be Fun, got me thinking about the flipside of the negative expectation of work – the expectation that if we just find the right job, it will all be wondrous and fulfilling. The angels will sing, and everything will be sprinkled with magic fairy dust.

Here’s the reality: In every job – even mine – there are elements that suck. There are elements that irritate us, or that we avoid because we don’t like doing them. So, if you’re looking for a job that is all great, all the time, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.

With unrealistic expectations about that “perfect job,” any aspect that isn’t ideal can seem disproportionately negative and frustrating. “I thought I finally found the perfect job, but I can’t stand this part. What’s wrong with me?!”

A more realistic goal is aiming for an 80/20 ratio. If you love what you’re doing 80 percent of the time, you’re doing pretty well. The energy you get from the work you do probably far outweighs the drain of the things you don’t like, especially if you choose to focus most of your attention on how that 80 percent feels.

From there, you can continually work to increase that ratio, finding ways to bring more of what you love into the picture, and minimizing or eliminating what you don’t.

After years as a professional malcontent, Curt Rosengren discovered the power of passion. As a speaker, author, and coach, Rosengren helps people create careers that energize and inspire them. His book 101 Ways to Get Wild About Work and his E-book The Occupational Adventure Guide offer people tools for turning dreams into reality. Rosengren's blog, The M.A.P. Maker , explores how to craft a life of meaning, abundance, and passion.