7 Ways to Make Work Tolerable

by Bryant Evans on September 25, 2009

girl at work boredW-O-R-K. It’s a four letter word that some people despise. Some jobs just stink. Some bosses are impossible and some employees are useless. But despite our hate-affair with work we still go day after day. Let’s face, most of us do not have a choice. We need the cash.

Wouldn’t it be great if we had a job we really loved? I mean the kind that we look forward to every morning. Not all of us can be sports stars or music stars but we can be happier in our work. Let me offer 7 ways to workplace joy.

1. Work for the Lord.

When a Christian works faithfully he shows the world the image of Christ living in him ().You don’t have to preach or work in ministry to work for God.  When struggles arise on the job – and you know they will – people will watch how you handle them. When taken in stride with trust in the Lord you show others the value of the Christian life. Your secular work becomes a spiritual adventure of leading others to Christ through a good example.

Some people definitely do not set Christ-like examples on the job. Constant complaining and bitter bellyaching speak poorly of you and of your master. Stop the griping. Sooner or later you will believe the trash you spew out and that will bring deeper dissatisfaction with your job.

Remember Solomon’s reminder: “Whatsoever your hands find to do, do it with all your might…” ().

2. Work for Yourself.

A man once complained because he said his boss told him when to get up and when to go to bed because the boss ordered his working hours. He then complained that the boss controlled when he could eat lunch and even when he could go to the bathroom. Remember, you are working for yourself and not for your boss. You ultimately control your output and, in one sense, your income. You are in control of your own life and career. If the job you have now doesn’t fit your needs or desires then get busy looking looking for another.

Remember that every minute you are on the clock is more money for you. It’s not an option. Your boss owes you. The harder you work the more rewarding that paycheck becomes. Were it not for your needs you would not be working at all would you? You really are working for yourself.

3. Work for Your Family.

Everyone needs a larger goal in their life than themselves. If I were alone I could live in a tiny apartment with noisy neighbors and get by just fine. But because I have a family I am more driven to give them better things in life. It may be necessary to remind yourself that by working for your family you are providing for them and not just yourself. It may make your job a bit easier when you keep them in view. A small family picture in wallet which is viewed throughout the day is a big help.

We must provide for our family. Paul told Timothy that a man who does not provide for his own family is “worse than an infidel” ().

Keep you family foremost in your mind as you work hard. Your doing it for them.

4. Focus on the Outcome – Not People.

I once worked in a large business in a department with about a dozen people at any given time. It was great work which I enjoyed immensely. However, there were times when the people I worked with caused me plenty of grief. Don’t misunderstand, I sure added to their troubles too. But my point is that even in a good career we sometimes work with people who irritate us. Have you every heard someone say that “work would be pretty good without the people!” I’ve even heard salesmen say that when they depend on a constant flow of people for their business. We cannot remove ourselves from other people. Instead, focus on the outcome of your work and make it the best possible without regard to the people you work with.

Jesus faced this reality daily. He was surround by people like Simon “let-me-keep-my-foot-in-my-mouth” Peter, or doubting Thomas, or even conniving Judas. James and John were scheming to be first in the kingdom and seemed to angling for the top two spots. Of course he was also surround by throngs of people who wanted nothing more than a meal to fill their bellies. But Jesus never took his eyes off of his purpose (). You have to believe that had Jesus focused only on the people around him and had discounted his central purpose or mission, we might be in far worse shape today.

You have a task or target. Aim for it and focus on it, not on the people you work with.

5. Become a Leader – Not a Follower.

There is a workplace virus that spreads faster than H1N1. It’s called discontent. It is highly contagious and can spread through an office with blazing speed. You know how it works. John is rebuked by a manager for doing poorly on some task. Never mind that he really did botch things. He’s going to whine and complain for the rest of the day about his awful job.

You have a choice. You can fall in with everyone else and like little sheep flock to the pity party or you can say “No!” “John I’m really sorry the boss got on to you. I hope it won’t happen again. Let me know how I can help you next time.”

When someone else comes to complain about the way the company treated John just simply refuse to talk about it. Change the subject. Lead the conversation somewhere else. The discontent germ must be squashed quickly or it will sicken the entire office.

6. You Set the Standard.

How miserable are we because someone else sets the standards for the workplace? We struggle because our work is viewed as substandard or not quite up to par. Let’s be truthful. Sometimes we don’t deliver as we should. We can change that truth and become the leader in our offices. Often substandard work results from a bad attitude about our job or our co-workers. It may be that have given up and accepted our inferior position.

By changing our own attitudes and re-framing the way we look at our jobs, we can greatly change the environment. Notice the “leader” in your office. Whay are they happier? Why do they get the compliments and raises? It is because they are not chasing after someone else but instead setting the standard for the workplace.

Now this is a task that will not happen quickly. However you can change your attitudes now and you can begin to better equip yourself for the tasks you are responsible for. Once you are sufficiently tired of the anger, depression and anxiety you can and will change the workplace.

7. Leave Work at Work.

An instructor in a counseling class once taught us an important technique for preventing depression. He reasoned that listening to people’s problems all day could spill over into our private lives. His solution? Take the file, put in a file cabinet and close the cabinet tight! His point was that we must leave work at work.

It is important that you escape from the job. Even if you are a business owner it is vital that you put some space between yourself and your work. When you allow your work to follow you home it becomes a burden for 24 hours. In time you will grow to resent your labors.

When you walk out of your office your time is yours. Invest it in your children, your spouse, your christian works, a good cause or in yourself. But leave the job at the office. As a very broad sweeping statement, your job has no claim on you after hours. Of course, some people must take call, but keep it limited. Your time is yours!

Our jobs are necessary and can be a source of great personal fulfillment. But keep it in perspective. Apply a few techniques in the office and work become not just tolerable, but even enjoyable.

What ideas do you have for making work better? Leave your comments below.

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