There are times in each of our lives when we have to work at a job that we don’t particularly like (or in some cases hate), but let’s be honest, it’s called “work” for a reason. Even so, for most of us, we actually have options when it comes to where we work. Now, if this is true, then why is it that so few people will actually say that the “love their job”?
Do you love your job?
If you are not ecstatic about your current job, the first question is “why?” Is the pay too low? Is your boss a jerk? Are the hours long? If reasons like these are why you hate your job, then it’s not actually the job you hate – It’s the current circumstances of the job. Given some slightly different circumstances (a pay raise, a new boss, a different schedule), you could actually love your job! These things are all negotiable, assuming that you are in fact very good at your job and an asset to your employer.
On the other hand, if you dislike your job because of what you actually do (i.e. you’re an accountant and you hate math or you flip burgers but are a vegan), then we have a much more obvious and fundamental problem. But this isn’t usually the case… When you first started your current job, chances are you were excited and optimistic about the opportunity. The people were nice and the tasks were new and engaging! But, over time, the tasks grew repetitive and boring and the people shared their complaints with you. The fact is, the job didn’t change. You did.
Often times, we take a position in a new career field or at a new company and every thing is exciting and new and the days go by fast! Unfortunately, most job fuctions don’t consistently change and evolve. So once we learn all there is to know about our particular role, we become bored. It’s at this time that we say to ourselves “but this is a great job!” and we convince ourselves that we should not be bored because we remember how excited we were when we first got the offer. And so we stay.
A few months later, we get into that same rut… This job is boring, the days go by so slowly, I hate this place. Then we think to ourselves “but I’ve already invested so much time here, it would be stupid to throw it all away. Additionally, what are my options?” So you start to look at other jobs you are qualified for and you find that it’s the same role, just at a different company. So what’s the point in switching?
Again, we convince ourselves to “suck it up” and remember how great this job really is. It’s at this point that the time between the “ruts” begins to shrink. At first, it’s every six months that we get into this negative mood. Then, it every three months, then it’s every six weeks, and then it’s a constant feeling of “I hate this job”. And yet, it’s still a good job…?
Here’s the real problem: Over time and through a variety of different experiences, we, as humans, grow and change. Inherently, we seek to be challenged. So when our job function stays the same (even if our salary increases), we become unfulfilled. The reason we stay in that unfulfilled role is because we try to convince ourselves that the reason we are unfulfilled is because the job is no good. But that isn’t true. It is a good job! It pays well, it provides for your needs, and you are treated fairly… Which leads us to an argument we can’t win, and so we stay.
Here’s the solution: Stop trying to convince yourself (and others) that the job is no good. It was a great job when you accepted the offer and it will be a great job for whoever replaces you! But, you’ve outgrown it now and that is a good thing. It’s time to move on to bigger, better, and different things!
Right now, you’re probably thinking about how scary switching positions or careers can be: “I can’t afford to quit my job.” “I’m not qualified for the job I want.” “I’m too old to go back to school.”
Here are a couple of thoughts that should help motivate you to make the change:
Is there any way you can see yourself staying in the same role until you retire (at the age of 67)? If your 40 years old, that is another 27 years of doing the same thing! If you answered “no” to the next 27 years, how about the next 15 years? Could you do it for the next 10 years? How about the next 5 years? Most people say they could do it for 5 more years, but no more than that.
My question is: If you can only delay making this switch another 5 years, then why not just do it now? This way, in five years you will have five years of experience in your new career field with five wonderful years of new knowledge and adventures under your belt. This is opposed to having spent those five years simply putting off the inevitable and hating your job.
If you don’t currently love what you do, you have a few options:
1. Quit, and go chase your dream job.
2. Reinvent your job by taking on additional responsibilities and challenging the status quo.
3. Just keep doing what your doing. Age 67 isn’t THAT far away.
Candidly, I think both options on #1 and #2 are legitimate. Though they might be challenging, each in their own ways, you are most alive and fulfilled when you are challenged and active. And though you might fail, it is better to die trying than to live in standing still. You’re family will thank you for it.