The Three Most Important Steps You Can Take to Make Any Job Your Dream Job

3 Min Read

Do you experience the "Sunday night scaries" dreading the thought of another Monday morning? Or count down the hours until you can log off? Or wonder if you will ever find the work-life balance you want and need in this new world of online work?

Overwhelmed, burned-out, and tired of Zooming all day, every day, it's easy to throw in the towel and resign yourself that work sucks and you're stuck in this job forever.

There is another option.

You can make your current job work for you.

Here are the three most important steps you can take to make any job your dream job.

It is up to you to identify what you need to be more satisfied, stimulated, and joyful at work.

It takes two. You and your employer both have an equal voice in your relationship.

The relationship you have with your employer is a social contract. As such, both parties have expectations of the other, and both are responsible for the health and vitality of the relationship. The social contract you have with your employer can be described in terms of social exchange theory, which proposes that social behavior is the result of an exchange process. It is about give and take or balance and reciprocity.

You and I both know that most relationships are made up of a certain amount of give and take, but this does not mean that our relationships are always equal. Have you ever been in a relationship where you hoped and prayed that the other person would magically change? You ask yourself, "Why won't he pick up his wet towel off the floor?" "Why won't she ever make reservations for our monthly girls' night out dinners? I know she has the OpenTable app on her phone."

In the most successful relationships, each person recognizes that the only person they can change is themselves. It is time to stop waiting, hoping, or praying for your employer to "fix" the way you're working.

Change starts with you. Find your voice in your relationship with your employer.

Leverage your unique strengths so you can have more choice and control over what you work on and how you work on it.

In the employee-employer relationship, your strengths are what you give or bring to your employer. They are your professional gold. Your strengths are the activities that you are good at and the actions that you can't bring yourself not to do. They make you feel strong, gratified, and fulfilled.

To uncover the essence of your strengths, you need look below the surface of your day-to-day tasks and strip away generic descriptions.

Use the questions below to identify your strengths and create a list of strengths.

  • Think about your best day at work. What were you doing?
  • When people praise you at work, what do they applaud?
  • What is the best compliment you've ever received at work? What made it the best?
  • I feel strong when…
  • I can't but help to…
  • How would you describe your strengths?

Your list is the currency of your relationship with your employer. It is what you offer up in exchange for more autonomy and freedom to structure your work so that it fits smoothly into your life. To effectively use your currency, you must know what it is and the value it provides your employer.

In the employee-employer relationship, your strengths are what you give or bring to your employer. They are your professional gold.

Use the Platinum Rule to foster mutual respect and understanding.

The third step to turn any job into your dream job is to stop unconsciously undermining your relationships with your colleagues.

Many of us learned the Golden Rule—to treat others as you want them to treat you—as a young child. Your parents, teachers, and the adults in your life knew that the Golden Rule's core virtues of empathy and compassion for others guided positive social interaction.

As an adult, I learned about the Platinum Rule and came to realize that it more powerfully shapes positive social interaction. It suggests that you treat others the way they want to be treated. You approach people with the intention to first understand how they want to be treated and then adapt your interactions with them to meet their needs.

In any company you will find four different types of work styles:

  • Logical, analytical, and data-oriented
  • Organized, plan focused, and detail-oriented
  • Supportive, expressive, and emotional-oriented
  • Strategic, integrative, and idea-oriented

When you communicate with your logical and analytical colleagues, they want you to be brief, succinct and factual. Your organized, plan-focused colleagues want you to be organized, detailed, and sequential in your communications. Supportive and expressive team members want you to be informal, warm, and open with no hidden agenda. And when you communicate with your strategic, idea-oriented colleagues, use minimal details, focus on the big picture, and use metaphors.

Use the Platinum Rule when you communicate with your colleagues so you can experience more positive interactions and build stronger relationships.

Change starts with you. Find your voice in your relationship with your employer.

You are the catalyst for change in your life. It is up to you to identify what you need to be more satisfied, stimulated, and joyful at work. It is up to you determine what you need so your work fits your life rather than the other way around. Any job can be your dream job because you define the dream.

3 min read

Help! My Friend Is a No Show

Email armchairpsychologist@swaaymedia.com to get the advice you need!

Help! My Friend Is a No Show

Dear Armchair Psychologist,

I have a friend who doesn't reply to my messages about meeting for dinner, etc. Although, last week I ran into her at a local restaurant of mine, it has always been awkward to be friends with her. Should I continue our friendship or discontinue it? We've been friends for a total four years and nothing has changed. I don't feel as comfortable with her as my other close friends, and I don't think I'll ever be able to reach that comfort zone in pure friendship.


Dear Sadsies,

I am sorry to hear you've been neglected by your friend. You may already have the answer to your question, since you're evaluating the non-existing bond between yourself and your friend. However, I'll gladly affirm to you that a friendship that isn't reciprocated is not a good friendship.

I have had a similar situation with a friend whom I'd grown up with but who was also consistently a very negative person, a true Debby Downer. One day, I just had enough of her criticism and vitriol. I stopped making excuses for her and dumped her. It was a great decision and I haven't looked back. With that in mind, it could be possible that something has changed in your friend's life, but it's insignificant if she isn't responding to you. It's time to dump her and spend your energy where it's appreciated. Don't dwell on this friend. History is not enough to create a lasting bond, it only means just that—you and your friend have history—so let her be history!

- The Armchair Psychologist

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