Can giving at work make you love your job?

In previous posts, I laid the groundwork for changing the way we view our jobs through giving. We know that 85% of people hate their jobs for a variety of reasons. But when someone doesn’t like their job, for another plethora of reasons, they don’t leave. I then suggested that the real reason people hate their jobs is that they are not using their God-given gift in their vocation.

I believe we all have at least one gift. When we use our gift(s), we tend to love what we do, because that’s what we were made to do. Furthermore, when we simply give of ourselves (our time, talent, and treasure) we get the same endorphin high that we get from sex, drugs, music, and social media. Those ideas now lead to this question: “For those who make up the 85% of all people who hate their jobs, what might happen if they began giving at work?”

“Give?” At my job?!?

Yeah, that’s the first response I got when I began sharing this whole big idea. Most people (maybe 85%? Would that be too coincidental?) work for a paycheck, and very little else. When something needs doing at work, it’s someone’s job to do it. If it’s not specifically, expressly someone’s job, that task may not get done, or it may be assigned to and reluctantly accepted by someone who doesn’t want to do it. “Giving” – again of one’s time, natural talents, and financial resources – is not typically part of “work”.

That’s not my job. I don’t get paid to do that.

The reason we don’t “give” at work is because we view work as a paycheck, a means to a financial end only. If someone is asked to “give a little more” or do something outside their job description, then a line is crossed. “I don’t get paid (or paid enough) to do that.” Technically, it’s true. That task is not in your job description, but the reason we don’t want to do something that’s “not my job” is because we work only for a paycheck, and not for a reason.

Simon Sinek’s TED talk puts the organization, as opposed to the individual, in this light, as he discusses profits. He said, “Profit is a result. It’s always a result” of the business. But the “why” behind the business is different.

The same thing applies to each of us as individuals. Are you working for a paycheck, or are you doing what you love and hoping the money will show up? My thesis here is that, no matter what you do, you can love your job if you engage in the intentional act of giving at your place of work. Giving your time, your talents, or your financial resources will cause you to love your job. Specifically, your talents, because your natural talents are what you were made to do.

Giving is grounded in biological science

When we do certain things in life – sex, drugs, music, exercise – certain hormones are released by our brain that make us feel good, and cause us to want to repeat what we did over and over and over. That hormone is dopamine, and it’s what causes us to repeat – or want to repeat – certain actions. In this post, I provided the results from many studies that demonstrate that the same dopamine is also released when we give. Specifically, the dopamine is released when we give with no expectation of a return.

Technically, your job is “giving”, but there is an expectation of a return: a paycheck. That type of giving causes the release of dopamine, but because there is a regular (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc.) return or reward for that giving, the release of dopamine drops off precipitously after the return is deposited into our bank account.

But when we give knowing there will be no reward, financial or otherwise, the “high” continues. We work for a paycheck. That’s an exchange of value. Giving is different. We get paid in dopamine, a warm glow, a good feeling, etc. And that release of hormone makes us want to do it again. Furthermore, the repetition of this pattern causes us to bond in the same way giving gifts or having sex causes a bond with the recipient.

How do I give at my job?

That is the question. You hate your job, but you can’t – or don’t think you can – leave. And, you know you have a gift, but you’re not using it at work. When you give without expectation of return, you really love doing so and want to do it more. But you don’t have time, or – more importantly – energy, because the job you hate has sucked the life out of your soul. Furthermore, you know you have a very special talent, but you are not using that talent at your job.

Could 1/3 of your life possibly BE any worse?!?  You have the power to change all that by doing what you love. At work. For free. Crazy, huh?

What do you think about that?

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