I do not love my work, because it does not love me back!
Choose a job you love and you will never work another day in your life.
I would like to get straight to the point: I have rarely read such nonsense.
I’m self-employed, I really enjoy my work, but I don’t love it because:
“Work won’t love you back.”
You can find fulfillment in your work, but loving it is a myth. Love is mutual, it is selfless, and (at best) it has no expectations to fulfill.
Your work does not take you in its arms in times of crisis, it is not selfless. The goal is to fill your fridge at the end of the month and at best have something left over, but most importantly: it is not without expectations.
Especially if you’re self-employed, you quickly realize: we live in an attention economy where we’re constantly busy “entertaining” the community in the best way possible. As long as it’s fun, intrinsic motivation is high, because with growth often comes success. The three motivation indicators: competence, belonging and autonomy find fulfillment and through this we stay on.
The Social Media Credo: Publish or Disappear
But sometimes I feel like, especially in the social media world, the motto is “Publish or Perish.”
What happens if you don’t publish anything anymore? If you no longer show yourself? If the love of your work does not mean a consent to personal development, but a subjugation of your personality?
This identity crisis is triggered, among other things, by the fairy tale of the love of work described above and by the myth of job security.
Basically, this means that if you’re employed, your future plans are secure, and if you then also love your work, extraordinary commitment should be a given.
Conversely, within self-employment, it signals to you: Hey, you gave up your security in favor of wide-open flexibility, now show everyone how incredibly happy you are about it.
Only work on one construction site? Forget it.
Well, we know with the increasing crises of our time (financial; economic; health crisis, etc.) that security is relative and we also feel that this one-sided love affair with work can be very lonely.
We also know that self-employment is a great challenge, because few talk about existential fears, financial bottlenecks, unfriendly customers/clients or enormous self-doubt. Most self-employed people (unless family insured or part-time self-employed) pay horrendous health insurance fees even though they can’t afford sick time anyway. They forgo coverage in the form of pension or unemployment insurance because these expenses must first be collected. They are the girl/boy for everything: they do the accounting, marketing, sales, design and are responsible for the vision of their company.
This is where I burst the “entrepreneurship dream bubble”: In the beginning, you mainly have time, but no money, to outsource everything you supposedly can’t do or don’t want to do.
Okay so far, so discouraged, but what now?
So now we know that the love of work is a construct to keep us in line, whether employed or self-employed. But alternatively, how do we find a healthy approach to our work?
How we gradually “fall out of love”
1. separate money, possessions and success from love
You are not worth less just because you don’t earn as much or because at your age you don’t have this or that yet, even though friends and acquaintances have it. You will not be loved less if you do not perform well enough. When we were born, we were perfectly equipped: We give our attention only to the things that interest us, have no self-doubt and follow our thirst for adventure. So I ask you: where is the longing, the adventurousness, the joy within your work? Is it enough for you to look at your tombstone someday and read, “Born, lived, died”? If so, you can forget all the text here. However, if you want more, ask yourself how you can get it.
2. get support
Now you have rightly asked yourself how you can get “more” and are almost despairing at this thought? I’ll give you a personal tip: training or coaching can be absolute gamechangers. Of course, it’s hard to escape decades of conditioning on your own. Get a professional on your side for this, because when we try to solve deeper challenges ourselves, we often fall prey to self-deception.
3.withdraw from the attention economy
Especially if you are self-employed, social media is almost a MUST to be visible at all and earn something. Accordingly, the advice to completely avoid this whole machinery would be equivalent to the recommendation to completely give up one’s business. But as the saying goes: the dose makes the poison. For my part, I never think of acquiring new customers with my contributions. I want to add value, I want to invite discourse and educate. Accordingly, I have hung up this feeling of “Bespassungskultur”. If I stop posting, my business will not cease to exist. If things are different for you, the only way to withstand the pressure is to also consider the questions from 1). Why are you doing all this anyway and who are you if you don’t post from tomorrow? Through this you also succeed in a change of direction and you may also grow the realization that there is more to it than you thought. Don’t be discouraged if your thoughts here seem daunting at first. The motto here is: “New Level, new Devil”, i.e. with new challenges come new stumbling blocks, this is part of the never-ending game and is part of life.
4. love passionately and extensively
Whether self-employed or not – love the people who are close to you, anything else is not love, but your confirmed feeling that the three motivational factors (competence, affiliation and autonomy) you need to nourish your intrinsic motivation are met. Your followers see something in you that they themselves would like to see fulfilled. They like consuming your content, but they don’t love you. Your work, we’ve established extensively, doesn’t love you either, because your paycheck only serves its purpose, nothing more. Your college doesn’t love you either. They value or respect you. Maybe they even harbor friendly feelings, but if the world ended tomorrow, you probably wouldn’t be the person they’d spend their last hours with – and that’s okay. With this knowledge, it is much easier for us to keep our distance from certain structures, tasks and people, which in turn strengthens our resilience.
“The outer reality tries to paint over our colorful inner world (love, adventurousness, joy, etc.) with its gray colors (work, money, responsibility, etc.). But there are ways to break free from the shades of gray and bring out the glow of the colors underneath once again.”
One of these ways is to finally overcome the fairy tale about loving work. Through this, we free ourselves from the thought of having to wake up every day with a smile on our lips, because nothing replaces the sincerity of a sincere smile.
About the author
Kinga Bartczak berät, coacht und schreibt zu Female Empowerment, neuer Arbeitskultur, Organisationsentwicklung systemischen Coaching, und Personal Branding.
Zudem ist sie Geschäftsführerin der UnternehmerRebellen GmbH und Herausgeberin des FemalExperts Magazins.