By Kent Mulkey

“I usually show up about 15 minutes late, come in through the side door so Limburg doesn’t see, then stare at my desk for about an hour and space out. You know, make it look like I am working.(Peter Gibbons in Office Space).

Unfortunately, this is what work looks like for many. The big question is how can any of us, all of us, make the job we have now more satisfying?

There was a time in my life during an economic downturn where the only work I could find was selling men’s suits. The coolest part of the job was wearing a tape measure around my neck and carrying around a piece of chalk. Honestly, I really did not care much for selling men’s clothing.  

What I did care about was making men look and feel better about themselves, which fit hand in glove with my life purpose to “support people in getting what they want and need in life”. There was nothing like the satisfaction of “suiting up” a gentleman for his daughter’s wedding. Or the time I fitted a man to attend his son’s Bar Mitzvah. Then there were the tragic times of helping to prepare a man to attend the funeral of his mother.

So, how can you feel more engaged at work?

    • View your work with a higher calling in mind. It is likely not selling suits and it may not be what you would usually call a “career-type” job, but perhaps you can tie it back to what matters most to you in your life.
    • Connect with the people around you. When I worked in men’s clothes, I met fabulous and incredibly interesting people every day. Enjoy and learn from your co-workers.
    • Learn some new skills. Recently I completed the requirements to be a licensed care facility administrator in my home state. Although I am not sure if or how I will use it, the education and knowledge are beneficial (even though it is a pain in the butt to get licensed in this state that I will not mention here but you can likely figure it out).
    • Always thinking and planning to leave the job you currently have rarely lends itself to any kind of satisfaction in your current job. You will always have one foot out the door.
    • View your work as part of your life, not all of your life. Real meaning in life comes from the world we create outside of work; the relationships we have with friends and family.  

You have likely heard the adage about the man on his deathbed saying he wished he had spent more time at the office. Words that have not been spoken. Ever.