4 Ways to Be, or Not to Be: And Love Your Work



To be, or not to be- that is the question:

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune

Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,

And by opposing end them.

–          The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, Act III, Scene 1: Shakespeare

Who Are You?

Shakespeare’s most famous quote, “To be, or not to be…” is often used when we face a choice of change in our lives. The full quote was actually about Hamlet’s contemplation of suicide. (Spoiler alert!) Hamlet eventually chose not to end it all, as he was unsure of what would happen if he died. Thankfully, career choices for most of us are not a life or death situation.

If you don’t like your current work, and are unsure of what might happen if you change jobs, maybe staying put for a while is a good plan. How do you go about falling in love with your work all over again?

Four Ways to Love Your Work

Here are four ways to help you start to love the work you have:

1. What do you like to do? Collaborate, work alone, generate ideas, build widgets? When you’re at your happiest at work, what tasks are you doing? Incorporate these ‘how’ ideas into your current way of working.

2. What do you avoid doing? These aren’t always the opposite of what you like to do. Manual tasks, a lot of writing, giving presentations? Reduce or eliminate some of these ‘how’ ideas from your current way of working.

3. What are you born to do? Ever see someone at work doing a task and think, “yeah, that is SO them!”, “In their element…look how effortless that seems”, “they’re in the zone!” You have those moments, too. Ask a few friends and they’ll tell you. You may not initially like to know, but it may open a new view of your work. “Yeah, I’m that project guy,” or, “Sure, you know I can put together a winning PowerPoint presentation!” Let yourself be, well, your self!

4. Embrace Purpose.  Are you just in it for the money? Do you come to work because of your co-workers? Is the mission of your organization driving your every action? Figure out what drives you at work and own it. It is ok to work just for the money. It is ok to turn down better money to work hard towards a cause. Maybe you just love the brilliant people on your team! Or your customers. Whatever it is, embrace it. And surround yourself with it as much as possible.

 Now You Know

We’re at the hardest part now. Doing it. Ever hear the metaphor about the best time to plant a tree? Answer: 20 years ago. Next best time? Answer: right now. Try out one or more of the four ideas above. Go. Now. And love your work!


Here are a few additional resources for you to help decide at your current job whether you want to be, or not to be:

Prisoners of our Thoughts” by Dr. Alex Pattakos.

The Dip” by Seth Godin.


Joe Raasch is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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Joe Raasch

Hi Greg,

The IE browser drops the list of four items. Bummer. Apparently other browsers show the full article. Sure looks poor with the list missing!

If anyone else would like to actually see the full article, please contact me and I will forward a .pdf to you. Thanks!