Since starting working at a non-profit, I've seen the not-so-glamorous side of social work. I completely enjoy getting to work with my girls and hang out with them, but even though my official work days are three days a week, I've often found myself doing things for work all week and weekend.
I was struggling during the past few weeks trying to come up with a post for today. The more I thought about it, the more I felt that I should share some of my experiences as an intern. Forewarning, I work in a sensitive nature job, so I can't go into much detail. That's the life of a (soon to be) social worker, though.
In my Internship Etiquette post, I mentioned that you will often have to do things you wouldn't normally want/expect to do. Boy, have I done some things I definitely hadn't expected. But it's so important to have a positive attitude at work, for a number of different reasons. Here are some of my tips on how to have a positive attitude at work.
1. Remember your cause. I work in a cause-based profession and organization, so this one is fairly obvious and easy for me to focus on. If you work a 9-5 job that isn't necessarily based like this, remember why you need to work. Some of you have families you support, others are paying for education, or maybe you just want a new Kate Spade purse (I don't judge you for that because I want some too!), and these things are motivators to help you look past your current situation! One of the best pieces of advice I heard from an advocator overseas was this: Work hard to be the best at everything you do, not for yourself but for the people you work for and the people you work with, because they deserve your best. So if my job is to lug 500 lbs of clothing upstairs without the help of an elevator in shoes that do not support the arch of my foot, then I'm going to run every single flight of stairs because my girls deserve it and my coworkers do as well.
2. Laugh about it. Real talk, I did have to lug 500 lbs of clothing upstairs, without an elevator, in terrible shoes with my friend and fellow intern. The next morning, I received a text from her saying "I am so soreeeeeeeee." Although it wasn't necessarily fun for a non-athletic person like myself, I can laugh about it now because I made it through. Take a deep breath from your current situation and look at it from a different perspective. I promise, you'll find humor in it somewhere!
3. Schedule something fun for after work. Last Friday, some of the other interns and I went over to one girl's house and just had a fun evening of food and friends. No stress, and lots of fun. Yes, we still talked about work, but it was in a less stressful environment and were able to talk about some things in more depth. A lot of times, we only know people in our work situations, but getting to know them outside of work can not only change initial perspectives of people, but also bring a closer bond amongst you. Plus, when you have something fun to look forward to, it helps you stay positive and makes the day go by faster.
Maintaining a positive attitude at work is one of the most important skills a young professional can have. What are some of your tips?