Work is not supposed to be fun. By work, I mean the kind where you are getting paid to provide a service to a company or employer or client. By that definition, it is almost guaranteed that sooner or later you will be asked to do something that is not fun.
I believe it is rare for someone to have a job that is also fun 100% of the time. An example are professional athletes. I'm sure they enjoy the sport they participate in, but even they have to put in the work to improve their game and their physical conditioning. That is just part of the job.
I'll use myself as another example. I love programming and I love solving problems by writing code to solve them. To me that's fun. However, working as a software developer is not “solving problems by writing code” 100% of the time. I still have to drive through traffic to get to and from the office. I still need to write documentation. I still need to work through ugly legacy code. I still need to do code reviews. I still need to train new developers. I still need to do compliance training. I still need to attend meetings. The list goes on and on and on. All of that comes as part of being employed as a software developer. None of those are necessarily fun, but they are to be expected of me, because that is part of the job. That is the work that needs to be done.
If you don't like the work that you are being asked to do, that just means one thing, you are not the boss. So either you work harder so that you can become the boss, or you start your own company, or you can just accept the fact that work is not supposed to be fun all the time. It is why you are getting paid to do work in the first place.
Now if you don't think you are getting paid enough, that is a totally different issue, in which case you should get a new job.
Hard Work Pays Off
I guess you could say that this is one of my guiding principles in life. Nothing truly rewarding ever comes from slacking off. This is true in the workplace as it is in other parts of our lives.
The past few years I've run into the notion that instead of doing “hard work”, we should do “smart work” instead. I honestly don't know what that means or how that differs from hard work.
If you only have 2 weeks to finish a project that you've fallen behind on, following the “hard work” approach means you would stay late to get as much work done as you can, maybe even work on the weekends, thereby giving you more time to finish the project. What is the “smart work” approach to this scenario? I'm not being sarcastic, I'm asking a genuine question because I really want to know. You can find my contact info at the bottom of this post.
The most important thing I've learned from my alma matter is magis. Magis is a Latin word that means “more” or “greater”. To me it means “to do more”.
If your manager asks you for 5 test cases, give him or her 10. If your manager asks you to fix 3 bugs today, try to fix 4 or more. Basically in any task or job that you are asked to work on, strive to do better than what is expected of you. Don't settle for good enough.
This doesn't mean you have to stay late every day to do more work, no. What I mean is to practice magis while making the most of your 8 hour or so workday. If you don't get everything done by the end of the day, that's fine. Go home and rest. Don't think about your job at home. Don't bring your job home. The work can wait till tomorrow.
Now some people might think that by following the principles of hard work and magis, I am setting myself up for failure, or setting myself up for more work in the future. So far I have not found this to be true. What I have found is that hard work and magis is what gets you raises and promotions. So I'm going to continue practicing both until proven otherwise.