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How to Fall in Love With Your Career

Learn to keep the spark alive in your professional life, too.

Think about how much time you spend working every day: you probably spend just as many, if not more, waking hours at your job than you do with any significant other. So, if you’re getting more face-time with your coworkers than with your romantic partner, shouldn’t you love your job? So whether you’re looking to spark flames in your heart for your 9-to-5 or rekindle that newly hired passion, here are the best ways to fall in love with your career. 

Keep things fresh 

Monotony isn’t good for any relationship, including the one you’ve built with your career. Avoid falling into the boredom trap by introducing new activities into your role. This might mean staying on top of your own development by attending courses related to your career growth, or it could include taking on a new responsibility like spearheading an interesting initiative in your department. You could even keep things fresh at work through your relationships with colleagues; consider grabbing coffee with a new hire, or exploring mentorship opportunities within your organization.     

Write positive affirmations

Sometimes putting feelings into words is the best way to remember all the reasons you fell in love with your job in the first place. There are so many ways to note all that’s great about your career: 

  1. Take the time to articulate the best parts about your job by sharing your experience with young job-seekers on forums like Handshake.  
  2. Every Friday, make a list of three good things that happened at work that week. Save these lists and revisit them whenever you need a boost. 
  3. Lift up your colleagues through congratulatory emails or shout-out Slack chats! Celebrating wins instead of only dwelling on what could be improved is key to preventing burnout, and you might even lead others to fall in love with their careers by example. Warning: your optimism can be contagious!    

Be future-focused, but enjoy the present.

Just like in romantic relationships, it’s key to strike a balance in your career between appreciating the past, dreaming about the future, and enjoying the now. Whenever you find yourself lost in thoughts of fondness for the “good old days” of your early days on the job, consider how much you’ve grown professionally to reach your current level — reflecting on key accomplishments and lessons learned along the way will help you remember why you love what you do today. 

Likewise, when you find yourself daydreaming about a meteoric rise to the top of your department, organization, or even industry, always remember to balance your career path vision board with appreciation for what you have now. For example, if you dream about building a team as a people manager, be sure to enjoy your remaining days not filled with one-on-one meetings or performance reviews. Take time to appreciate the positives each day as you work toward a better, brighter future in your career!  

Practice honest communication.

Without openness, how can you build a strong, genuine, or lasting relationship with your career? Honesty is key to falling in love with your job, because it’s the only way to truly achieve your desired goals. Practice honesty when communicating with your manager about your needs, hurdles, and professional aspirations, and give honest, actionable feedback whenever your organization solicits it. Of course, you should practice delicacy in your delivery — there’s a distinct difference between constructive feedback and complaining — but remain true to what you want and need. Just like in a relationship, stifling the truth can build resentment in your relationship. 

Give each other space. 

You know how they say “absence makes the heart grow fonder”? This is true for your career as well as your love life. To maintain a healthy relationship with your career, it’s imperative to set healthy boundaries and take time to pursue your own individual interests. So take that pottery class on Sundays, turn on “Do Not Disturb” while you’re enjoying dinner with your family, and set your “Out of Office” while you’re on vacation — your relationship with your career will thrive because of it. 

By taking these cards out of the book of love, you can help keep the spark alive in your professional life, too. All it takes is a bit of honesty, appreciation, and excitement to fall deeply in love with your career!

About Brinton BotkinBrinton Botkin is the Social & Editorial Manager at Handshake, the leading career community for students. Prior to Handshake, Brinton managed editorial operations at Tatcha, a bestselling luxury skincare brand. Brinton began her career at POPSUGAR, where she helped found the Trending & Viral Features team, hosted video series, and authored more than 3,000 stories over four years. She has also written for publications like Bustle, Her Campus, and Seventeen. Brinton studied English and Textiles & Clothing Studies at the University of California, Davis, and now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and their three pets.

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