We enter the stage of working to earn money somewhat robotically and expectantly, we rarely take a step back to think about what we have signed up for after so many years of dreaming about a career and striving to get into the profession of our choice.
As Muslims, we need to consider a few things when we are about to begin working or have started. Our intentions govern our heart and impact the outcome of all the actions we take part in: this includes working.
We spend quite a large fraction of our time in a month at work. If you work a full time 9 am -5 pm job, you would be spending 8 hours a day, 5 days a week at your office/place of work. That’s a lot of waking hours in the day so it is extremely important that you:
a) enjoy what you do
b) are able to stay motivated
c) not get bored.
Recently I’ve been trying to re-motivate myself in all aspects of my life including work so I wrote this. As you never know who can benefit from the advice you give yourself. I’ve been at a few different work places Alhamdulillah and the different experiences overall have taught me so much.
Some tips to make your work enjoyable:
1. Renew your intention
Generally we need to do this for everything we do but we forget to do this for work. Why do you work? Remind yourself of some basic reasons you began to work. Some reasons can be: for a halal income, that you can use to contribute to your families expenses, to help others, to be able to give charity and to bring happiness to your parents that worked for you to make it easy for them.
2. When you work, find a timetable that suits you.
As a Muslim, I have to fit in 5 prayers, and aim to fit in recitation of Qur’an, contemplation, other Islamic related studies as well as resting in the day, spending time with my family, gym and trying to help at home. Everyone is different, the morning is the best time to get things done for me personally. I also feel that if it’s done in the morning, it’s ticked off my to-do list. So try to get things done before work that feeling of having already achieved something before you leave your house is worth waking up a bit earlier. This sense of achievement brings about a positive attitude for the rest of the day.
3. Use your lunch hour.
What do you currently do with your lunch break? If it’s scrolling on your phone, watching an episode or talking to your colleagues you may just be wasting some valuable time which can result in you feeling too tired and lazy when you get back to work. Try to add some dhikr in, or recitation work on your own studies. If you have a one hour break you can even split it up: 20 mins recitation, 20 mins eating, 20 mins just relaxing or talking to your colleagues. Go to a local café, get a book out, catch up on messages and emails, eat and be use that time to take a mental break from the office environment.
4. Prepare for the work day.
Have your clothes, food etc ready the day before, just because it makes your life easier. Also bringing lunch in instead of buying saves times and money.
5. Stay in your lane
There can be office politics or work drama. You kind of need to remind yourself that you were hired for one role and that role most likely does not include looking into what your colleagues are doing, how they are doing it, what they have done etc. Unless you’re a line manager, don’t busy yourself trying to find out what your colleague’s tasks are and if they completed them unless you have to follow up. Just don’t be nosy and you’ll enjoy your work more. Use that energy elsewhere. Also competition can be good when channelled correctly. If you have a competitive work atmosphere try to not allow it to impact your heart and keep working towards your goal without comparing yourself to others.
6. Not everyone is happy for you.
On that note, stay away from office politics. If someone is low, don’t lower yourself to their level. Sometimes people can try bully others due to their own unhappiness at their own lives, jobs, they might not feel successful, it can be anything and because you’re around them for that 8 hours a day, you’re an easy target. I would say, if you have an issue with anyone, clarify what you did wrong to them if anything, sincerely apologise and move on. If they’re just hating, then just make du’a for them to find happiness and move on. If it does get bad and is impacting you then do speak to someone about this as no one should feel uncomfortable.
7. Separate your professional life from your personal
This tip is key. You may have amazing colleagues that become friends and you may not, regardless of this you still need to compartmentalise your life. Your colleagues can be your friends but you don’t want to get that confused so avoid oversharing and keep relationships professional.
8. Da’wah at work
Your colleagues are kind of like family; you don’t choose them. Therefore they can be a test for you in the sense that how you act with them, advise him and represent yourself as a Muslim. They would be watching you to learn not just about your personality but your religion and culture. It’s natural. Therefore you have a responsibility whether you have a beard or not, wear hijab or not to be the best example of a Muslim that you can be.
9. Be true to yourself
Avoid getting influenced by those around you. This is extremely important. As you can’t choose your colleagues. So you might be around people that can negatively influence you. E.g. if someone swears around you, it’s only a matter of time before you pick it up. If people are gossiping around you, don’t add in, try to defend the person they may be speaking about if possible and don’t become a backbiter too. I realised I really fell into this at different work places. Just keep away from people, it’s better to be alone than with people that can intentionally or unintentionally lead you to do something bad.
As you are striving to be the best version of yourself, it is also to note that means sticking to timing commitments. You agreed and signed a contract which is an amanah to come on time and it isn’t good for you to not be able to fulfil a condition that is basic consistently so if you’re someone known for coming to work late, or meetings late try to improve that . It also avoids leaving late which is always a bonus. Strive to fulfil all the basics of your work contracts: punctuality, using your time well, not using your time elsewhere and if you have a longer lunch break or get lost in conversation with a colleague, do make sure to make that time up. We’ll be post more on this in our next post: Amanah in the Professional World.
11. Be polite!
It’s so basic but I really have noticed that basic manners and formalities aren’t met at times. It really doesn’t hurt to be kind. Sometimes you might slip up but try to redeem yourself. When you work in general you have to adhere to a level of customer service and professional standards – respect others. The last thing you want is people viewing you as the rude one or when you go for a new job, a reference says that you lacked basic professionalism, were rude to colleagues or clients/customers etc.
In summation, never forget that you can turn every part of your life into a way to perform good deeds and it is essential for you to look after your mental health and physical health; a job should not prevent you from doing so.
Let us know any tips you may have for work!