Anyone who claims they aren’t emotional about work is lying.
To illustrate, I’ll use a scientific example: Tom Hanks in You’ve Got Mail.
(If you haven’t seen You’ve Got Mail, you may already be too far gone for my help. But we’re here, so I’ll try.)
Quick premise: This is a classic Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan matchup (Dave Chapelle, Parker Posey and Greg Kinnear are also in this move, but I digress).
Tom’s character, Joe Fox, and Meg’s character, Kathleen Kelly, are book store business rivals who unknowingly fall in love in an anonymous AOL chat room. (If you are too young to know what an AOL chat room is, I’ll allow it. Imagine Reddit for a simpler time. And if this all sounds a little like catfishing, that’s because it is).
So at one point Joe Fox puts Kathleen Kelly out of business and realizes she is his anonymous love.
He tries to get her to forgive him for ruining her work-life before revealing his true identity as her AOL sweetheart. Here’s what he says:
It wasn’t… personal.
What is that supposed to mean? I am so sick of that. All that means is that it wasn’t personal to you. But it was personal to me. It’s personal to a lot of people. And what’s so wrong with being personal, anyway?
Whatever else anything is, it ought to begin by being personal.
Kathleen is right, my friends. She’s not pretending. She’s facing the heartbreak of her store closing so she can move on.
Let’s just acknowledge that work is personal and do what we can to align our careers with who we are. It’s so much easier than living a double life at work and at home…and in an AOL chatroom.
It’s tempting to take a cold, appraising eye to your career, to look at it merely as a series of jobs. This is especially convenient if you hate your job. It gives you an easy way to distance yourself from your work.
You probably say things like, “It’s just a job.” And you aren’t wrong. But it’s also what you spend a huge amount of your time doing. It impacts who you spend that time interacting with, how much money you have saved for your future, and even where you live.
But if your career isn’t merely a series of jobs, what is it? Your career is the relationship you have with the work you do.
Your career is the relationship you have with the work you do.-Wendy Toth
That relationship can provide a lot: meaning, recognition, satisfaction, potential. Or, it can bring you none of the above.
Think of it like any relationship. If you pay attention to it—noticing what parts of your work life fill you up, and what parts drain you—and try to shift the balance, your career will respond. It has its own energy. Why not romance it a little? Give it some love. That’s the only way it will love you back with the things you want like flexibility, more money, and more satisfaction.
Here are some ways to romance your career:
- Cancel meetings that can be emails.
- Use the time to learn a new skill or practice an old one.
- Take a class.
- Hire a coach! Athletes use coaches their entire careers for a reason. Imagine what you could do with the same support.
- Update your resume, even if you’re not looking. This is a great way to boost your confidence.
- Schedule a chat with someone whose job interests you. Ask how they got there.
- Shadow a co-worker on a sales call or other impressive pursuit.
- Do a favor for someone at work.
Choose the one that excites you the most. There is no rule on how to get started. That’s a personal decision. “Whatever else anything is, it ought to begin by being personal.”
To learn more about career coaching, or hear my in-depth views on ’90s Nora Ephron movies, book a FREE 15-minute Career Chat with me!