Skip to main content

Do I love my job?

April 08, 2021
What is the true test of “Do I love my job?” If your company closed tomorrow, would you look for the same job in a different company? This could be an unfair question since Americans lack savings. Our futures are tightly tied into our current employment.

Who among us has six months of savings to cover current obligations, the Emergency Fund? The urgency to meet these obligations will prioritize replacing our current income regardless of our affinity for what we have been doing.

A better question is to ask is; what is our enthusiasm to do this same job for another 5 to 10 years? If the plan is to keep my current job, there is an assumption my life will be the same for this period of time. I will know where to go Monday morning, what the balance in the checking account will be on Friday and there will be little stimulus to modify other parts of my life. This is great if I enjoy my routine, but if I don’t? If I am irritated with the continual changes to erode the job I loved into a more efficient, more demanding soul sucking slog, the prospect of doing this for five more years would be depressing and on top of all of that what if the prospect of being laid off is expected to increase?

Expecting change aligns with almost everyone’s narrative. Economists, environmentalist, sociologists, politicians, etc. Very few if anyone is predicting everything will remain as it is today. Some businesses will be growing, while others will be shrinking. Every one of these operations will be in a different phase of their corporate life. By accepting the mantra “change is inevitable”, then planning for change is a no brainer. Are you wanting to grow with your company or participate in its contraction?

Discussions about the future of a company or industry focus on the market, the public, the investors. What are each of them saying? What are the predictions? Do we prefer an emerging company, or one that is mature in its market, or possibly a contracting industry is of interest? Did you stumble over the last option about a contracting industry? Are there really people looking for businesses that are declining? Of course, there are. There are opportunities in every market and every industry. Having the market commentary be the only criteria for selecting your job or defining your joy is playing the career lottery. You have an opportunity to cash in big and the odds are against you winning. Most of us have been playing the lottery.

We have selected from the options that were available and done the best we can with the opportunity. We have a career of making lemonade out of the option presented. When asked if we would want to do our job for another 5-10 years, is our response: “Sure it’s not so bad. The money is good enough.” Or, “What else would I do? No one is looking for a 55-year-old…”. These are clues that your career is built on waiting for what options would be available.

How to select a job I love?

The secret to living a life I love is knowing what I love, not just what I like. Knowing the difference between the definition of what I do for work and what parts of what I do I really love and the parts I don’t like so much. For example, I love figuring out the critical capacity of a process and identifying when it would become a concern. It’s what I like, and I understand it’s my joy, not yours.

By being this specific I am able to identify what is really important. The conversation can expand because I am asking about the importance of optimization calculations in a particular job. I will also be able to differentiate project management jobs that face this concern regularly versus those that depend upon following a specific script.

Selecting solely from the options presented draws us into a life of constantly adapting to someone else’s designs. We miss the opportunity to make and follow our own designs. Warning, choosing to create my own path or design is different from what most of us are familiar. It will feel like more work initially. When done properly we will be doing work we enjoy versus doing work that keeps us occupied until we find the next opportunity.

Try writing down five jobs you think you would like or catch your interest. Ones that would be equivalent to what you are currently doing or ideally better. Now, can you write down five jobs that would be more interesting to you? Completing this exercise is the first step in designing your path to a life that you love. Why settle for someone else’s design for how to live?