“Modern love can be a strain.” – Peter Gabriel
Heartbreak is nothing new, but every generation seems to find a new way to experience it. As more workers strive to move past “just a job” to find meaningful work, matters of the heart are taking center stage. What does it really mean to love your job?
If modern love has largely been defined by “swiping” culture and causal exploration, it’s clear that these trends are also affecting the workplace. From the growing popularity of personality tests to a recent wave of ghosting, here’s what’s trending when it comes to loving your job:
Personality is More than a Type
Human beings are much more complex than a simple label, yet it’s human tendency to try and stuff our complexities into easy to sort boxes. “The bad boy,” “the jock” and “the nerd” are just characters imagined in our minds and not representative of the real people we interact with during dates or on a job. Still, a recent boom in the usage of personality tests (also known as behavioral assessments) is pushing job seekers and employers alike to label themselves personality “types” in order to assign the right people to the right types of jobs.
In theory, this practice makes sense; answer some questions, find which group that fits best then hire and manage like-minded teams using the information. However, there’s more to personality than meets the eye. A recent article in FiveThirtyEight puts it this way, “When you try to categorize people by type, you end up with a lot of people who are placed in boxes that seem far apart, but whose distribution of personality is actually pretty close to each other. Types create more artificial boundaries, where most people are really close to the boundary line.”
The takeaway is that, while these tools can be extremely helpful in connecting personality to career, nuance is important. Instead of expecting to be assigned to a type after taking a personality test or behavioral assessment, evaluate your results in terms of what motivates and drives you in the workplace. Gaining a better understanding of self goes a long way towards knowing how you like to be managed and how you work with others. Instead of relying on types to decide your career, go beyond the boxes to put personality tests into practice.
Ghosting is Ghastly
“Ghosting” is a relatively new phenomenon that’s sending chills down the spines of jilted lovers and hiring managers alike. It gets its name from the participant’s ability to disappear from a given situation suddenly, without a conversation, phone call or even a text explaining the reasons why. Whether it’s a job candidate agreeing to a job interview then never showing up, a new employee not making it to the first day or employees walking out without a word after years of service, companies are increasingly being left in the dark by professionals who seem to lose interest in an instant.
Sure, ghosting might seem like it has its benefits. After all, who ever wants to have a difficult breakup conversation? In a healthy labor market full of jobs, an employee who ghosts may have plenty of options following their walk out, too. Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever. Just like ditching dates can build up a bad buzz for bachelors, professionals who ghost are doing damage to their reputations over time. Having the hard conversations will pay off in the long run because networks can include curious connections, and you never know when one opportunity may lead to another. Your manager (or date) will appreciate the honesty, just don’t try the old, “it’s not you, it’s me!”
There is Power in Purpose
Going beyond the bottom line can change the way employees think about the work they do. If a job is just about the day-to-day, black-and-white responsibilities of the role, burnout is not far behind. Ditch the risk of being drained and be sure to find a way to connect your career to a larger purpose. Are there volunteer opportunities through your team that excite you? Is there an opportunity to learn alongside a mentor or be one yourself? Expanding beyond the to-do list to find meaning in what you do means a lot, especially on those days when stress pushes your relationship to a pressure point.
Love can be a strain, and the modern workplace presents plenty of challenges for employees looking to make a lasting connection. However, loving work is can mean the difference between “just a job” and a meaningful career. Keeping up with the workplace trends might just lead you to your next connection along the job search dating game!
Did we miss any trends in the workplace that are changing the ways employees are loving work? Join the conversation in the comments below!