For those of us less than satisfied with our current careers, it’s easy enough to carve our jobs away from “ourselves.”
“It’s just how I make a living.”
“It’s good enough for right now.”
“It’s not me.”
It’s that last one that becomes the fallback position for everyone who avoids the truth: you are what you do. Don’t live a passive life!
Spending more time than we think
I know, I know, we can go through the motions of a mindless job and save our energy for something more “important” at the end of the day. If you’re a parent, you’d probably prefer to define yourself that way than as a junior sales executive.
But let’s do the math.
If you’re lucky, you’re working “only” eight hours a day. The average one-way commute in most bigger cities is about forty minutes, which puts your return trip at about an hour-and-a-half per day.
Before work, maybe you’re taking a half-hour preparing a portable lunch, and ironing clothes that you wouldn’t wear on a weekend. And, if you really hate your job, you might need a solid hour after you come home just to decompress.
That’s at least 11 out of 16 waking hours dedicated to work.
But it’s not your life?
It gets worse
Let’s pretend for a moment that you can still drift through that many hours a day and not be “defined” by them.
What you’re also saying is, from Monday to Friday, about seventy percent of your available time can be considered a waste.
Let’s say that again: you are wasting the majority of your life.
How does that feel? Good?
Still hoping to sell this notion of squirreling away your energy for something more important?
What’s more important than your life??
Get off the treadmill
We can’t act as if we’re observers in our own lives, because the moment you separate yourself from your job is the moment you relinquish the steering wheel.
Some people are creating side ventures with their spare time, taking action to create a new career. That’s awesome, and that’s not what I’m talking about here. Maybe those day jobs really are maintenance hours so that you can pull extra duty for something you love. Short-term pain, long-term gain.
You will never hear me go against that. For those who are doing that, I say: keep going!!
But for those who think that their passive evening “happy” minutes are enough to make up hours/years/decades of discontent, I say: you may as well start drinking.
Because you’re going to get the same result.
Own your career
The first step in all recoveries (even job-related ones!) is to acknowledge that there’s a problem.
It’s simply not practical to wait through 11 hours a day – every day for up to 40 years – and expect to feel fulfilled at the end.
So recognize the problem: and adopt a solution. Take charge of your career path. Reject a job of disappointment.
Above all, set new expectations for yourself, and build a plan to get you to where you should be.
You deserve a great career.
So go out and get one.
What do you do to keep yourself in control of your life and career? Tell us in the comments!