I was talking to my brother the other day about work. About how so many people quit their jobs because they don’t feel fulfilled or aren’t completely happy. Or how some people won’t accept a job even though they have bills to pay because they think it’s beneath them or it isn’t their ideal job. I used to be one of those people. I have had some pretty short stints with some past employers. I was young and thought that every injustice in the workplace was reason enough to quit. Like my skills would be better utilized elsewhere. Like they were lucky to have me, not that I was lucky to have a job. I wasn’t grateful for the job I had, but I felt like my employer should be grateful to have me. I have quit because I didn’t feel fulfilled or appreciated.
I’m nearly 30 now, and I’ve grown up a little. Sure, it would be nice if everyone could do their hobby and get paid for it – if everyone could get paid for living their own dream. But the fact is, we can’t all be singers and dancers and actors and writers. There have to be people to answer phones and vacuum floors and snake drains and repair potholes. Sometimes the job you have is a job – not your dream. And maybe that’s OK. Maybe that’s what jobs are meant to be – a means to live, not your life itself.
Some of us have jobs that we go to each day that we are OK with. It doesn’t fulfill us, it doesn’t define us, but what it does do is fund the part of our lives that does. It might not be what fulfills us, but that’s what the rest of our lives are for – the hours after 5pm and before 8am. It’s the time you spend with your family at home, the vacations you go on, the hobbies you do in your spare time. Those could be the things that fulfill you rather than the title on your business card.
And sure, it would be great if our careers and dreams could collide into the perfect job so that you feel fulfilled and happy all the time. Maybe you will have that one day. Maybe this job is just a stepping stone on your way there. But even if you never get paid for your hobby, know that you can do your hobby on your own time and feel happy then, thanks to the paycheck you’re getting from the job you currently have. We can’t all get paid for doing what we love, but we can still live our dreams. I’m not saying to give up on it, I’m just saying maybe we should find a job that we don’t hate and ride that out until a job comes along that we really love. And if a job like that never comes along, do what you love after hours. You can still be happy and fulfilled even if you are answering phones or emptying trash. We just have to quit being such snobs about working.