“Why am I so invested in my job, how can I care less about work?” If this sounds painfully familiar, trust me – this is a common dilemma!
Eliminate the Question
Asking, “How can I care less about work?” is a misguided question that is irrelevant to the real problem (seePost #35).
“How can I care less about work” presupposes you should care in the first place. It implies you have an internal attachment to your external work – a very slippery slope. This question assumes that ‘caring less’ is the solution to your burnout, stress, or work frustrations.
Allow me to offer an alternative perspective. If you can open your mind and welcome new points of view, I would like to pose a different angle.
Before we get to that, let us review the more common work approach, which may apply to you if you are trying to care less.
The Common Approach
These may be new ideas for some of you, but let’s start by remembering that work does not exist for you to:
- Care what others think of you or your output
- Overwork to the point of missing out on real life
- Worry about employment status
- Ruminate over harsh words someone said
- Be available at the employer’s beck and call
- Fix everyone’s fires except your own putting your job at risk
- Put your life on hold to aggressively travel against your will
- Please everybody
The purpose of work is not to be emotionally tied to outcomes of your performance or to others’ opinions. This common behavior can surely lead you towards a meltdown if things go sour at work.
“But I’m supposed to care about my work and performance … if I’m not emotional then it means I don’t care!”
Okay. I hear what you’re saying. I ask you to keep an open mind and read the next section. This is probably new territory for many of you, so try to embrace or digest over time.
A More Practical Approach
Again, these ideas may be new to you, but what if work exists for you to
- Use reasonable judgment to fulfill tasks
- Perform transactions
- Attempt your best day in and day out
- Recognize internal strengths and weaknesses
- Fail, try, fail again, and try again
- Understand your limits and set boundaries
- Learn how to be resourceful
- Expand your brainpower by developing yourself
- Overcome interpersonal challenges by working with difficult people
- Serve an organization using provided resources
- Help others help themselves
- Improve things that cross your path – projects, conversations, people, your job, etc.
Notice how this list is more flexible and forgiving. This list does not require you to have an emotional attachment to any particular outcome. It absolves you from having to cling to the job; there is no dependency on what others might think.
Therefore, don’t ask yourself, “how can I care less about work.”
Instead, ask yourself, “Did I try my best today considering the way I felt along with the information available?” At the end of the day, there is nothing more that any one person, including you, can ask of yourself.
When you know you’ve done your best per the given circumstances, all else falls into place.
If you enjoy this content, I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and ask me about free strategy sessions for your career!