Is Work Meant to Be Enjoyed?
The average person in the U.S. will spend 90,000 hours working during their life. Do you work simply to pay the bills, or do you want something more?
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” (Anonymous)
Many years ago, before I launched my business as a Career Strategist, a friend of mine said that she was giving up looking for a job that she enjoyed. She had worked in several different fields, and although she’d achieved financial success, she didn’t feel the sense of satisfaction or purpose that she wanted. She longed to have a career that she loved but had grown weary of trying to figure out exactly what that was.
So, she decided to listen to the advice of her father, who meaning well, told her that jobs weren’t supposed to have purpose or meaning or even be enjoyed. They were simply something you did to make a living, to pay the bills and put a roof over your head. Having no idea what else to do, she decided to give up trying to find work that she enjoyed.
I’ve since lost touch with her, but her statement has haunted me ever since. I wish I could go back in time and help her with this. Somewhere inside her was a genius brimming with talents and passions and interests that aligned perfectly with her definition of meaningful work, and a career that could make work feel less like “drudgery” and more like “yay!”
It’s not uncommon for parents to say this kind of thing. Parents who want the best for their children. Who want them to thrive in a career where they can support themselves and their families. At the same time, a lot of us give ourselves the same message. That it’s too hard to make money at the things we really enjoy. That we need to be realistic and pick a career that’s “in demand”.
It’s a sad statistic. 70% of people in the U.S. today say they hate their jobs, according to a recent Gallup poll.
In a separate poll, Gallup also reports that the amount of time full-time workers spend at their jobs has increased over the past ten years – to an average of 47 hours a week. That’s nearly 6 workdays a week. And 4 in 10 people report putting in 50+ hours.
Assuming a 40-year career, that’s 90,240 hours, give or take a few thousand.
That’s a lot of time to spend doing something that you hate. Yet many people stay in jobs they don’t like because they’re not sure what they really want or how to incorporate their interests and passions into a well-paying job.
It’s never too late to find work that you love, no matter your age, although it may take time and self-reflection to figure it out. But the payoff is huge. If you’re going to spend 90,000 hours of your life working, shouldn’t it be something that adds purpose, meaning, passion or fulfillment, however you define it, to your life?
Here are 4 powerful questions to get you started:
1) What did you dream of doing when you were growing up? Perhaps you wanted to be an astronaut, a marine biologist or a rock star. Make a list of everything you dreamed of doing and ruled out, no matter how unrealistic or outlandish it sounds to you now.
2) Of the jobs you’ve had so far, what parts of them have you enjoyed the most? Even in jobs we don’t like, there are frequently components that we enjoy.
3) What do you do in your free time that causes you to lose track of time, those things where you feel that you are completely in the groove, and the task you are doing seems effortless?
4) What activities do you daydream about doing, regardless of whether you have the time, training and money to do them?
Once you’ve finished creating your list, look for the common threads that tie them together. Ask yourself, “What am I doing?” followed by “Who am I being?”
Your past holds the clues to your future. Examining these clues will help you figure out what you love to do and who you love to be – the first steps towards finding the kind of fulfilling, meaningful work that adds light, and life to your day.
How do you want to spend your 90,000 hours? Schedule your free, no-obligation Discovery Consultation to learn more. My90000HourCareer.com