We all want to find fulfillment in our work. We spend so much time doing it. We desperately want it to feel like it matters and give us joy, excitement, and meaning. The level of employee disengagement in the modern workforce betrays the fact that most of us aren’t getting that. What can we do to change it? One part of the cure is this: Don’t just do the work. Own it.
You might recognize that this solution focuses on you, not your boss, co-workers, or job. Usually, we try to change one or all of those factors, but it doesn’t help. In the long run, we find ourselves in the same situation in a different job. That’s because most of us approach our jobs as something we have to do.
But what would happen if we approached our job as something that we own, something that we cherish and desire to grow and succeed. What if we treated our job like a valuable possession that we paid dearly to obtain. What if treated it like a fragile possession that we had to nurture and protect?
Back when I didn’t need glasses, I was a fan of Ray-Ban sunglasses. Regularly, people would say they couldn’t buy such an expensive pair of sunglasses. They would lose them or sit on them. I would always reply that I had the same problem with cheap sunglasses. I didn’t have that problem with the expensive ones. For some reason, I took better care of them. The only pair I ever lost was stolen. I never broke a pair!
My point is that when you value something, you take care of it. You polish it, protect it, and take precautions to keep it. When we don’t value our jobs and treat them as cheap commodities, we let them get dingy, scratched, and worn out. Eventually, we’ll destroy them, trade them in for something new, or lose them from neglect.
So, don’t just do the work. Own it! You might be surprised at how long you’re willing to hold on to it and how much joy you get from it.