For me, the traveling part of my job is the part I can’t stand. When I get to my destination I’m great and when I’m home I’m great. It’s the in-between that I dread. For a while I used to dream about other jobs where no travel was required. Then I read an article by Mark Manson (I’m a big fan) that said that every job comes with its own special sh*t sandwich. You just have to figure out what kind you’re willing to eat.
This made something click in my brain. I may hate the travel part of my current job, but there are so many other aspects that I love. If I were to get another job, it would come complete with its own special thing that drove me nuts. There’s no avoiding it. So instead of trying to find a completely perfect employment situation (spoiler alert: doesn’t exist), I decided it was time to maximize the one I have now and find a way to make the crappy part less crappy.
I realized that one of the reasons I hate traveling so much is because there’s a lot of down time and I get bored. I’ve got a 20 minute car ride to the airport, then I’m waiting around for my plane, then I’m standing around at baggage claim. Instead of just checking Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, rinse and repeat, this last trip I decided to try out a new plan. I’ve always been interested in podcasts, so I figured this was the perfect time to listen to a bunch of them. I loaded my phone up with Darren Rowse’s podcast about blogging and with Gretchen Rubin’s podcast on happiness. Then, instead of wasting away my time waiting for someone to upload a new selfie to their Snapchat story, I felt like I was actually making good use of my time. I came away from the trip feeling like I had really learned something. It made the waiting around a lot more manageable.
Suddenly the crappiest part of my job felt a lot less crappy.
It’s not always possible to completely eliminate the part of the job you hate, I realize that. Maybe you’ve got a co-worker who has no social skills and she drives you nuts. But if you try to come up with some solutions and tweaks, you’ll probably find that your overall happiness increases drastically. Yeah, you have to work with the annoying co-worker, but you don’t have to feel obligated to accept every lunch invitation she extends. Minimize the amount of contact and you’ll feel a lot more sane.
When you take control of a bad situation and develop small adjustments to make it more manageable for you, suddenly that worst part ever of your job isn’t quite so bad.