How Burnt-Out Plumbers Can Put the Joy Back Into Their Work

Has the daily grind killed some of the passion you had when you first got started in plumbing? Try these tactics to get re-energized.

How Burnt-Out Plumbers Can Put the Joy Back Into Their Work

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Being a plumber can be a thankless job. You’re often called upon in emergencies when people aren’t in the best of spirits. You may be fixing a problem for them, but many times it’s a problem they didn’t budget for and didn’t expect to have. As a result, you don’t typically get the customer’s best moments, and you aren’t always shown the level of respect you deserve. 

Over time, that can be taxing and can leave you feeling unfulfilled, unappreciated, and burnt out. But you’re not allowed to have bad days on the job and you’re expected to consistently show up smiling and ready to help. What can you do to recharge yourself and bring joy back into the job when you’re feeling anything but joyful about your work? 

Reflect

As a business owner, you may not have much quiet time for reflection, especially in the midst of a busy workday. But when you feel burnout creeping up, try to stop and reflect. Even if you only have a few minutes, take some time to think about your best days.

Think about the moments in your career that really filled you up. Think about all the ways you’ve made a difference in your community, all of the problems and health hazards you’ve prevented, all of the figurative (and maybe even literal) fires you’ve put out. Think of the moments when you were thanked and appreciated for your work.

When you replay those good moments, something happens: You’re energized, even though you’re not actually reliving those experiences.

You may even find it beneficial to schedule times in your day, week, or month to replay some of those moments, reflect on the value of your work, and recharge your service batteries. Keeping a journal is another great way to remember those highs when you’re feeling pretty low. 

Connect

Not everyone makes it easy, but another way to re-energize and stay excited about your work is to try to make a connection with every customer you interact with. Look for ways to relate, to empathize, and to care, and watch as it changes your perception of your customer and your customer’s perception of you. You’ll find more meaning in your work, more gratitude in your relationships with customers, and more fulfillment throughout your day. 

Inquire

When you’ve been in the same field for years, it can be easy to forget what makes you stand out from others in the industry and how you go above and beyond in your work. You’ve probably been doing things a certain way for so long that, to you, it’s not so special anymore.

When you’re feeling burnt out and unappreciated, it can be even more difficult to zoom out and gain the perspective needed to get yourself out of that hole. So lean on others a little. Ask those in your life — friends, family, employees, and customers — how your work has made a difference in their lives. Ask them to shed some light on why and how you’re uniquely equipped to deliver the service you deliver, the way you deliver it. It’s always energizing to hear people talk about you honestly and positively, and if you’re listening, you might even hear things you need to hear that you’ve never really heard before.

Affirm

In a perfect world, we would all build each other up, but Twitter is proof that that’s not the world we live in. While it always feels nice to have others affirm us, thank us, and appreciate us for the value we bring, we can’t rely on others to fill us up. If you’re feeling burnt out, maybe it’s time to show yourself some appreciation. Even if no one else recognizes the value you bring, you can reflect, acknowledge your value, and pat yourself on the back. After all, the opinions and the words of others aren’t what give your work and life meaning or value — you do. 

About the Authors

Carter Harkins and Taylor Hill are the co-founders of Spark Marketer, a Nashville, Tennessee-based digital marketing company that works primarily with service businesses. They’re also the co-hosts of the Blue Collar Proud (BCP) Show, a podcast that’s all about having and living the blue collar dream, and the co-authors of the book, Blue Collar Proud: 10 Principles for Building a Kickass Business You Love. Both regularly speak at service industry trade shows and conferences across the nation. Visit facebook.com/sparkmarketerfacebook.com/bcpshow or facebook.com/groups/bluecollarproudnation.



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