If you are one of those people who wakes up in the morning and looks for excuses to skip work, or who constantly checks the time during work hours, there might be something worth to examine. You will probably agree with the fact that there are so many people out there who hate Monday mornings and long for weekends. But is it really so hard to be happy at work?
Working is generally seen as something people ‘have to do’ or more specifically ‘have to do for living’. This means that many people perceive work as a “task” and nothing else. However, we know that work brings a lot of benefits such as an opportunity to socialize, develop personally, learn how to manage adversities, and ultimately fulfill oneself. These are all internal motivators which lead one to act with a will and interest in the long run, and help us find a worthy reason to get up and go to work in the morning. On the other hand, if our sole motivator is something external such as money or someone’s approval, then low motivation is unavoidable. External motivators can be helpful momentarily, but in the long run they become less and less useful.
Let me illustrate it with an example. If you have a puzzle to complete and you have been promised a reward such as money, your primary aim would be getting that money, meaning that you probably will not really enjoy the process or the experience of making the puzzle. Instead, you will be looking forward to the moment when you finish the puzzle and get the money. You may even think that the effort is not worth it and you end up quitting. However, without such rewards, your attention will be on finishing the puzzle only, because the process of making the puzzle itself becomes the reward.
Of course in real life, we do get paid for work. However, prioritizing money in our jobs wouldn’t be the best choice if we wish to be satisfied with our jobs and happy in general. Imagine you just got a new job with a huge paycheck. You get really excited about your increased salary which makes you feel like you are interested in your job, and very happy. But what about 3 months later? Would you still be feeling “that” happy because of your salary? Probably not. The reason is that we tend to adapt to situations that bring about sudden ups or downs in our mood. If you win the lottery, you will not be the happiest person in the world for the rest of your life. You can feel happy for some time, but after a while you will adapt to that new situation and go back to your set point. But if you achieve to perceive your job as a source of opportunity to learn new things, to meet new people or if you can find a meaning out of what you do, these will become your internal motivators which can help you sustain your satisfaction at your job for a long time. Research says that the type of motivation that comes from our values, purpose, or our choice to do something is more powerful than motivation generated from external rewards.
So, it may be a good idea to change the way you think about your job, find things to be grateful for, strive to follow your purpose and fulfill yourself, and try to find meaning in what you do rather than waiting to be motivated by power, status, competition, or gaining favors. Trust me, this will save you from Monday blues, and working will become a more pleasurable experience.