Are You a “Resigned to Work” Club member?
Are you a card-carrying member of the “Resigned to Work” club? Why do we accept such a low expectation for our jobs? Working 40 hours a week is one-third of our waking hours; one third of our lives we are willing to be content showing up to a job. The nasty truth is if you are accepting this at work – that it’s something you have to do, not something you want to do – the rest of your life will likely have similarly low expectations.
You might have friends, colleagues, or family who love their jobs. Why can’t you love yours? You probably wish you could love it, but so far what you have tried has failed. Am I right? I will bet you have aggressive goals at work which you are able to meet, because that is what you are supposed to do. Yet the sense of accomplishment shrinks with each achievement.
The secret to transforming this “Resigned to Work” ethos to “Committed to Thrive” is where to put your focus.
Nancy wanted support in preparing for retirement. She had worked for 35 years as a pharmacist. Through her career, she ascended to running the pharmacy, but in recent years opted to return to being a staff member, and letting others manage the store. She described losing her passion for her career and cannot wait for the change in life.
I asked her what she enjoyed doing at work. I said, “This is important for your retirement because it will be useful information to transitioning.”
Nancy had to think back several years to remember she enjoyed talking with the customers. Her current duties had her in the back of the store, managing inventory and filling prescriptions with little direct interactions with anyone. She shifted how she worked to get more interaction and found her interest and enjoyment in her work increased immediately. This gave her an important reference point.
Why is this important? Since Nancy didn’t have any plans for her retirement beyond the date it would begin, she needed to explore possibilities. Some retired people are satisfied quilting or playing golf, but Nancy needed to dig a little deeper.
Realizing how she feels when talks with people gave her a measuring stick to judge possible activities for her retirement years. If she stayed in the “Resign to Work” club, she would accept a lower threshold of joy in her retirement rather than persist in looking for what moves her emotion needle.
Focusing on joy coming from receiving a paycheck, promotion, raise, or work achievement means we limit our opportunities for enjoyment to minutes in a year.
Shift Your Attention
Shifting our attention to activities we enjoy and to seek more of those in our jobs, increases our attention to what fulfills us as we look for another job or move to a new stage in life.
Nancy decided to delay her retirement, not because she needed the money or was afraid she would be bored, but because work became fun again. She also joined a ballroom dance group to rekindle a dormant passion. She is no longer resigned to a life of “Ok.”