I would like to share one acute memory I have driving one morning to a previous job I held. This position filled me with stress and unhappiness on a daily basis. With each passing week I found myself more and more regretting my current path and fearing that nothing better was out there. On this particular morning I was half way through my hour and a half commute when an old friend called me on my cell.
Now, as I answered this phone call I was admittedly antsy from the combination of the strenuous drive and the fact that I was heading to a 9-hour shift at a place I truly hated. On paper, this friend was much more successful than I saw myself. She had been working in her field of study since right out of college and had continued to hold excellent paying jobs with prominent corporations for years. She had very little financial debt and a lot of fancy purchases to promote her career achievements.
I was initially excited to get the call. I felt relieved to have someone to vent to about how unhappy I was feeling at that moment. I spent a few minutes explaining what I felt were all of the cruel disservices my job lashed me with on a daily basis. When finished I awaited the sympathetic comfort of an old friend. What I got was a pause from her and the statement, “Well what are you going to do? You can’t quit.” Overall she seemed annoyed with me.
At the time I remember feeling very insulted. She went on to explain that we have to work. Work is not supposed to be a place we have fun or feel relaxed. She admitted that she had no passion for or love for her job. It paid the bills and that was all she expected from it. She felt I needed to deal with my stress and accept my current situation.
The conversation left me feeling like there was something wrong with me. Why was this job not enough for me? Was I imagining the fear and displeasure I thought the job brought me? Were all jobs going to feel this way? Was this as good as it gets? Should I think more like my friend?
While my friend's feelings my be correct for her life, I could not prescribe them to my own. Her words just never felt right for me personally. A few weeks later I ended up leaving that uncomfortable position. I’ve moved on to better jobs since this particular one. I’ve had co-workers who were my friends, day-to-day tasks that made me feel fulfilled and projects where I felt inspired while working on them. But I am once again looking for new inspiration and expecting a lot from my next career move.
So, I ask you, “Should we love our job?” Or was my friend's thoughts more realistic? Should we enjoy going to our job each day? Should we feel relaxed at our jobs, at least sometimes? Should we feel that our job is inspiring us? That it makes us happy? Shouldn’t it be able to pay our bills and be fun at least once in a while? Shouldn’t we feel like we are making the world a better place? Should our job make the world a better place for us?