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If you have a truly toxic job that causes you to question your sanity: be thankful. 

Eventually you’ll leave that job, either because your misery will help you find the courage, or the men in little white suits will come to take you to a pleasant little asylum. 

Lucky you. 

There’s nothing so dangerous as the job that’s okay.  The job where the irritation and inefficiency are broken here and there by a potentially exciting new project or a conversation with a co-worker that kickstarts your imagination again.  Goodness knows you’re thankful to have a job at all.   

But deep down, you’re afraid — maybe this is as good as it gets.  

So you tune out all that snake oil talk about finding your passion and working your ideal job.  Instead you head off to the next meeting, you eat your lunch in front of your computer, and count the days until Friday.  

And at some point, you realize a person who lives for two days a week has reduced their enjoyable life span by over 70%

The working dead

Last year an article in The New York Times reported only 45% of U.S. workers are satisfied with their jobs, down from 61% in 1987.  I suspect the numbers don’t tell the whole story because so many have come to expect so little from their work.  

Not that long ago, I was one of those people.  I was perfectly pleasant at work.  I devoted myself to the projects I was working on and enjoyed spending time with my colleagues.  

But the disappointment and internal frustration were eating away at me.  I started yelling at my young daughter, who is, by all accounts, a really well behaved and lovely kid.  I started making snarky comments to my spouse that were just uncalled for. 

It wasn’t a big deal.  My marriage wasn’t falling apart and my daughter was still delighted to see me when I picked her up at daycare.  

But here’s the thing: because I didn’t have such a rosy childhood, I’m extremely motivated to create a good home for my family now.  I wasn’t willing to save myself.  But I would do almost anything to give them the wife and mother they deserve. 

If saving yourself from the working dead isn’t enough, then make a commitment to someone who needs you … alive.  

The sad truth about career change

It’s hard. 

But not for the reasons you think.  You can still contemplate a new job or career, even when economic times are tough.  And even if your happiness set point is lower than others, a job you love is guaranteed to make you happier than one your loathe. 

In my experience, there are three main issues that prevent people from making a switch.  I thought it might be fun to talk about what these are instead of write about them.  Check out my video to see if these are the same things holding you back.

 

The best gift?  A happier you

Many people celebrate Valentine’s Day by paying high prices at a fancy restaurant and indulging in some sweets.  But what if this year were different?  

What if this year, you gave the gift of a happier you? 

Instead of coming home drained at the end of the day, you had the energy to wrestle with your kids on the floor and help your spouse with dinner.  What if you gave your friends the gift of less griping?  How would your days change if you stopped getting the Sunday night blues? 

Today my friend and fellow blogger, Barrie Davenport, is re-launching her amazing course called Discover Your Passion: A Step-By-Step Course for Creating the Life of Your Dreams.  This 116-page, 7 module course will lead you through a process of self-discovery and deep awareness of who you are, what you want, and what is holding you back. 

It’s packed with assessments, worksheets, and action steps to help you move forward toward a better life. There are 3 price packages, two of which include personal, one-on-one coaching support from Barrie, a certified personal and career coach. 

This course will help you discover what you want to do with your life.  If you ask me, it’s a lot better than a box of chocolates. 

There are a lot of ways to find your ideal career.  I’ve talked about some of those techniques on this blog.  I personally like a course like Barrie’s because it provides structure and accountability, which is what sinks a lot of people.  It’s just too easy, when the going gets tough, to give up. 

The question is: are you ready to commit to finding a better career?  If not, why not?  What’s holding you back? 

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71 Responses to Why Aren’t You Doing What You Love?

  1. I’m totally aligned with what you are saying. Fear stops so many people! You said it.. the example you gave about the architect that doesn’t want to walk away from everything. People are afraid to step away from something they’ve built.

    There’s such a big need to fit into the status quo and listen to everyone around you doing the same things they’ve been doing and repeating the mantra that taking a risk, or approaching something else, is a bad idea.

    Often times, we build false mental associations when it comes to taking action. The things that take place in our heads before we actually engage something are never really what happens out there in the world. Making that distinction is key in this case!

    I think it has everything to do with fear… and that isn’t a bad thing, we’re all afraid at some level. It’s understanding that fear and identifying inner conflicts that allows you to free yourself up, get aligned in your mind and take a risk to move toward something better.

    I did a video and shared it with Facebook friends about this same subject. You’re right, if you look in the mirror and ask “is this what I want to be doing,” and the answer is no, RUN!

    Awesome post, great video Jen!

    • Ryan,
      Absolutely it’s fear. Fear we won’t be able to make it in another career, no one will hire us to do what we love, or we’ll make the leap and life won’t be any better. As you said, all of those are reasonable fears, but aren’t good enough reasons to prevent us from trying.

      Thanks!

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  3. I found before I left (well, actually the recession hit, so I had no excuse to stay, there was no work) that the money and prestige were the hardest things to walk away from. I had broken into an all boys club, and I was extremely well-paid for my responsibility level. I was one of the only women in the field and I felt like saying, “You know what, this isn’t working for me,” would make it look like a woman *couldn’t* handle that career. So I was really relieved when I could walk away in an industry-wide layoff.

    • Yes, when I went through my career design process I discovered I had big money issues lurking in me I never realized. The only thing tying me to my old life was money, and eventually (though it took time), I was able to let that go. You want enough to be comfortable of course, but eventually I realized I didn’t need that salary or the prestige/status that goes with it to live well. I agree with you. The golden handcuffs bind tightly! Glad you found your escape. What field did you transition to?

      • Alternative medicine.

        Which is a bit of a change from the rough-and-tumble oil&gas industry (I worked on the oil rigs). The hardest part wasn’t the golden handcuffs (although I look back at those days and I wonder why I have so little to show for it) but to ensure that when I left it was in a position of strength, so that I’d propped the door open for the women who came behind me. The hardest part on the job was proving that, as a woman, I was not going to sleep around with the crew, require extra coddling, or cause problems and then turn around and level harassment claims. These may or may not have been legitimate issues with the women who came before me, but I wasn’t going to leave any kind of wreckage, or any shadow of a doubt that I was leaving for greener pastures. Not because I couldn’t handle it.

        Looking back, it was a very dysfunctional attitude towards my job. I should not have been the designated representative of my gender. But the fact remains that I was, and so had to plan my transition accordingly.

        • That’s a really fascinating story. And I have to say, this comment, “I should not have been the designated representative of my gender,” just demonstrates your considerable maturity. Folks with that much insight nearly always make it. I hope you’ll keep us abreast of your progress!

          • On
          • March 30, 2011 at 8:35 am
          • Jennifer Crozier
          • Said...

          Thank you so much for sharing this. I too am a young professional (4 years now) in another “old boys club” and hating every moment of it. Also feeling all the same pressures of proving that I can “handle it” instead of realizing my vocation. Not only proving it to the industry, but to myself and my family who supported me through 5 years of college…and yes, I am scared. So, bound by the golden handcuffs, my husband and I have created our get out of debt plan. Thank goodness we started downshifting over a year ago, it’s going to help our transition immensely!

          I am just starting to re-discover my passions and gifts…and SO looking forward to life after the working dead!

            Oh, the GUILT. Can I ever relate to the guilt of knowing that your family supported you with what you thought you wanted the first time, and now that you found out you were wrong, it’s mortifying to have to say, “um, yeah. I changed my mind.”

            But, since your husband is on board, just ride it out. One person who supports you unconditionally is insulation against any number of squirmy doubts and second thoughts.

            Viscerally rewarding as it is to stick it to the old-boys club, being happy on your own terms is far better

            Thanks for offering that support, Shanna. That’s why I love this community. It’s not just me cheering folks on, but a whole group, which makes the leap seem … normal! I agree, being happy on your own terms is worth it. It’s like a snake shedding its skin–feels awkward at first, but the new you will be fabulous!

            Jennifer,
            The golden handcuffs are brutal, and often lead to a double whammy: you feel trapped in a job you no longer enjoy, but beat yourself up for becoming dependent on the lifestyle it enables. You’ve already done the hardest step of reducing that dependency, so congratulations! Now you just need clarity, and that will come with time. In fact, it will evolve with time (you might want to check out my latest post in the career design series, Passion Smackdown: Do You Have to Choose?).

            My only advice now is to be gentle with yourself, and truly, let me know if there’s anything I can do to help. Nothing pleases me more than to see people leave the working dead!

  4. Jen,
    I enjoyed the written part of the post and your video. I liked your question What’s the favorite day of the week? Do you find that some people think they’re not supposed to like working? That the weekend is what we’re supposed to like best?
    Enjoyed the story of the architect wannabe – that’s a great example of things you can do to make changes.
    Cherry

    • Yes, I think absolutely there’s this perception that our work shouldn’t be fulfilling or at least it shouldn’t be better than not working. I wonder if one of the things that helped me in all of this was that my first job was very difficult: I was in charge of shutting down a group. If I was successful, every day I had less and less to do. It was depressing. So I learned early on that leisure is not my thing. :) You still want time for family and friends of course. The weekend is good for that. But if your work isn’t fulfilling, there’s always an undercurrent of anger or disappointment that colors those interactions. Like I said, my first clue that something had to change was when my family started taking the brunt of my unconscious frustration.

      Glad you liked the post!

    • On
    • February 15, 2011 at 10:37 am
    • Kevan
    • Said...

    Hello Jennifer,
    I came across your site by chance and got what you were saying. I live in the UK and life coaching or whatever we like to call it, is not as prevalent, but it should be. The video I listened to and yes, I have to say I am not sure what I want to do. I have an inkling in so far as I write for fun, but being a building surveyor/property professional all of my working career, its quite a leap. Anyway I just wanted to say I enjoy your site and find the things you express interesting.
    Kind regards
    Kevan

    • Kevan,
      First, welcome! I love meeting new readers.

      Figuring out what you really want to do is work in and of itself. It took me 6 months of doing various exercises and talking to lots of people to get other ideas. I used the book The Pathfinder to do the process myself, but some people find it a bit intimidating. I plan to offer some services in the coming month to help people who need a little more hand-holding. Stay tuned!

    • On
    • February 15, 2011 at 11:01 am
    • Reenie
    • Said...

    What if you don’t have the skillset for the job you really want? A lot of us recent grads have come to the conclusion that our groovy liberal arts education didn’t give us much skills or content (to an extent), even if it made us “good, well rounded” people. Given that and our economy, people tend to take advantage of us. I’ve accepted this as a sort of trial by fire, paying your dues sort of thing, but I do hope to move on sometime…soon. Just not to another dead end deal. I wish that it was enough to show up to an interview with passion and excitement, but merely getting to that interview is hard enough as it is.

    I don’t mean to sound whiny. :) I’m honestly concerned I’ll get stuck and want to do my best to get where I want to be.

    • There are lots of ways to build the skill set for the job you want. Obviously it depends on what field you’d like to get into, but internships, mentors, volunteering, entrepreneurship all give you ways of getting valuable experience without actually getting the job. Second, I’ll say that experience is somewhat overrated. We were just discussing this on career chat on Twitter. In my opinion, soft skills like likability, communication, initiative, etc (all things you liberal arts folks should be good at) are much more important that years of experience in some cases. But as someone who used to assist with a lot of hiring actions, I can tell you there are plenty of people with great looking resumes who stink at their job. But once you’ve gone to all the trouble to hire them, most managers are reluctant to fire them unless there’s something really bad.

      So take heart. Like my architect example, you just have to get creative. Don’t let the traditional roadblocks prevent you from doing what you love. Find a way!

  5. “Maybe this is as good as it gets!” I know this is where lots of people get stuck. My advice is to turn that thought around. When you find yourself thinking that,change it to “I can do better than this”. Life is too short to be settling for what you don’t want. I can guarantee you your anticipation of pain is an exaggerated version of the pain you will experience

    • I hear it time and time again. People don’t believe me that there’s a better life. But one example can make a huge difference. I don’t think it’s an accident that a large number of my friends, including my husband, are seriously looking at changing careers. Just one example of someone who successfully made it is enough to push others to pursue the dream. I agree with you: life is too short!

  6. I’m seeing the same frustrations you mentioned with several of the people I talk to. No job is perfect, they can’t brake from the crowd, and they don’t know what they want.

    What’s interesting is that all three of those deal with understanding yourself. Like you said, even though no job is without it’s frustrations, you still can find something that is fulfilling, rewarding, and challenging. You find that by understanding your motivations and values.

    Second, braking from the crowd is a matter of perspective. We all have exceptional talents, so how can we leverage these in a way to get noticed. Having a coach like yourself is helpful. They can brainstorm volunteer opportunities, help you make connections, or otherwise help you to brake from the crowd.

    Third, if you don’t know what you want, the first step is to invest in yourself. What kind of personality do you have? How do you respond to challenges, influence people to your point of view, respond to pace of environment, or deal with rules and procedures set by others. Are you motivated by money, knowledge, power, order, tradition, love of people, or form and harmony?

    Having a clear understanding of yourself will give you the necessary knowledge to make career decisions that will truly leave you feeling fulfilled, rewarded, and challenged.

    • You got it. You can’t make it work if you don’t understand yourself. And of course I think having someone help you through the process is invaluable too (but then I’m biased). It’s hard! People need help to do hard things. No one bats an eye to hire a personal trainer at the gym, but somehow we’re supposed to navigate choosing a career with only the good intentions of our parents and a few mentors? Man, it’s a tough way to go.

      Love your questions. Figuring out your motivations are key…society has shoved them down our throats so long, your motivations may be covered in dust. But once you find them and give them a voice, the good news is they rarely take no for an answer. Thanks for adding your insights!

      • That is such a great analogy of a personal trainer and a personal coach. Never thought about it that way, but it makes perfect sense. Super!

    • On
    • February 15, 2011 at 12:43 pm
    • Ben
    • Said...

    I’m so glad I found internet marketing and blogging. I hate working for other people. People really should go after what they love rather than settling for a 9-5. It may take some time and hard work, but trust me, it’s worth working for.

    • Thanks for adding your success story. People need that to keep going when the going gets tough.

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  8. It’s funny Jen, I actually loved parts of my job, but I was crushed under the pressure of the corporate crap. And though I was not carried off by men in little white suits, I did have a major meltdown at a midyear review with my boss in a restaurant, of all places.
    I ended up on medical leave for anxiety and depression and have been unable to return full time to work yet. (Iactually don’t want to!) I have spent the past 6 months trying to learn and explore and determine exactly what I want to do. The part of my job I loved was coaching and encouraging women, so I am doing some of the same on my blog now. I am writing my first e-book and I hope to do some online workshops and personal coaching in the future.
    It has been a difficult but interesting process, but I have learned so much about myself! I hope I can eventually support my hubby because he is stuck in the “this is as good as it gets mode”!
    Thanks for this post!
    Bernice
    Reach out and take a hand

    • I felt the same way, Bernice. I loved a lot of aspects of my job, which is what made it so hard to leave. People took it as a kind of personal rejection, when it wasn’t that at all. I just couldn’t do bureaucracy any more. I’m sorry you had to have a break-down to find your way out, but it sounds like you are making the best of it. Congrats on that first e-book. Maybe that will inspire hubby to get out of “good as it gets” mentality too!

  9. This dovetails really nicely with the risk article. What you fear will happen and what actually does are two very, very different things. I remember the first job I ever quit. I was terrified, walking down the long hall to give my boss notice (his office was at the end of the hall and, routinely, at the end of the day, he sat there and ignored me as I cleaned, tidied, etc., rarely even saying goodbye).

    When I said, “I quit,” I felt–I don’t know–light? Happy? Suddenly calm? I was 16 years old. My boss was so surprised and outraged that he just sat there, jaw dangling in the breeze. And although I gave him a customary two weeks’ notice, he ignored me for every day of those two weeks. In a perverse way, this made me realize I was (a) very valuable to him and (b) an utter moron for not freeing myself from this bizarre hindrance sooner.

    Quitting has never gotten easier since that time, but recognizing a bad situation has.

    That said, I want to say to the people on here feeling deeply frustrated…I know how you feel. Take 10 minutes a day, if it’s all you can spare, to look for other opportunities. Volunteer work. Classes. Part-time jobs to tide you over when you quit this one. Etc. Make it your hobby and use it to get through the day. If you have financial commitments, walking out is not always an option–but you can CREATE the option for yourself if you marshal that little bit of energy leftover at day’s end to find something that fits.

    • I think those are great points, Lindsey. Quitting is never easy, under any circumstances. Recognizing when you need to go is the part we should focus on, and how to motivate yourself to find a way out when you’re overwhelmed. That old boss of yours sounds so immature. Jeepers. Sometimes I lose faith in management practice!

  10. I agree that fear is one component that people face about change in their jobs, but another is that they simply don’t know where they fit or how to find work that merits it. I currently have a friend who is excellent at her job; but she’s self-employed out of need. Nobody would hire her for the skills she had because they said she was either over-qualified or didn’t fit within their framework. So, she resorted to self-employment and has become a great success working for multiple companies very similar to those who wouldn’t hired her.
    Another client was hired for one position, but because of mergers and acquisitions the company changed so much her new boss doesn’t know what to do with her. She’s stressed out, but fears quitting because she doesn’t know where to find work. Her skills are unique and she hasn’t found anyone who wants what she can do so she stays in a dead-end job because it pays and has benefits she needs.
    It’s not always easy to find a way to funnel your skills into the narrow slot some employers demand. Another fellow writer was hired to write curriculum for a company. It was the perfect fit and HR and management often came to her to consult about ideas, while the national IT leaders sought her out to help pioneer a new user-friendly IT system. Yet through mergers and acquisitions new management came in and said she didn’t know what she was doing, wasn’t qualified for what she was doing, and changed her job to something so totally different it was ridiculous. She tried to make it work, applied elsewhere but was black-balled, and despite all she did it eventually led to being laid-off, which was actually the best thing!
    From what I know and see in the field, change scares a lot of people. Regardless of age, finances and benefits do play into the move, but finding where and how you fit in with another business may take more than a course about learning oneself–it may take learning how to market yourself as an independent and convincing another company you are perfect to help them bridge a gap they don’t even know exists — yet!

    • Linda,
      Good points. I would say your friend is a real success story. She found a way to make it work instead of taking what happened as a “sign” she wasn’t cut out for the work.

      I like what Chip and Dan Heath have to say about change. They point out not all change is so hard. After all, people get married and have children all the time (big changes!), sometimes without even a second thought. But career changes ARE hard, and I think one reason is that we have so few role models. If everyone’s getting married, we figure it must be okay. Even though we also see a lot of people getting divorced. I mean, the psychology is interesting.

      Finances and benefits do play a role–I agree. But you’re right, the hard work is internal. Knowing what you want and what makes you happy is hard, unbelievably so. Thanks so much for your thoughts…I really enjoyed reading your comment.

  11. I think personally that many are afraid of venturing out and trying to find the job they love or have passion for, because I have heard individuals say “Finding a job you love and are passionate about will not feed your stomach, you have to be happy where you are” I know what my passion is, what I would like to do, not sure it would ever be possible so I make the passion having a job.

    • Yes, I told myself those same words many years ago. And for some period of time, it may be true. I have friends who decided to pursue a life of poetry, and let me tell you, they led very different lives than I did. But was mine better? I’m not so sure. We’re told it’s better to have money than not, and to some point that’s true. But these days people set that money happiness point way too high.

      What is it you’d really like to do but feel you can’t?

    • On
    • February 15, 2011 at 2:42 pm
    • Juanita
    • Said...

    Hi Jennifer, this really struck a chord with me. I know what I am passionate about and what is my true love. Unfortunately however I fall into the ‘not enough experience’ category and it sucks. I do from time to time have those “what if this is as good as it gets” thoughts – I really do hate feeling like that. However I am determined not to give up on my passion and I will achieve that dream role. Thank you for such a great post!

    • See my comment to Reenie. There are lots of ways to get experience without getting a job. Don’t give up. Find a way. And if you need a support system, we’re here for you. Go go go! :)

    • On
    • February 15, 2011 at 3:23 pm
    • Cara Stein
    • Said...

    “…maybe this is as good as it gets”–how many times have I said that to myself! That and “you should be grateful to have a job at all!” were my mantras for a long time.

    I think what scared me even more than those two and the general pressure to live a conventional life is the fact that I _have_ redesigned my career and the rest of my life multiple times in the quest for something that would satisfy me. Every time, it turned out to be no better than before. So why go to the trouble of trying again, and how to take myself seriously in another attempt?

    But whatever, I’m doing it anyway. I just can’t sit around and waste my life doing the same pointless stuff that’s paying my mortgage right now. Maybe this career change will be The One, or maybe it won’t, but at least I’m trying something different. If nothing else, life is much more interesting this way.

    • Cara,
      I love stories like yours. You try, it doesn’t work out, but you try again. I can virtually guarantee success for a person with an attitude like that. And I whole-heartedly agree with the “Maybe this will be The One or maybe it won’t.” You don’t have to marry your career. It’s okay to change mulitple times. There’s no shame in trying some things out. Just make sure you shine everywhere you go.

      Thanks for the great thoughts!

        • On
        • February 16, 2011 at 5:52 pm
        • Cara Stein
        • Said...

        Thanks for the encouragement! For awhile it seems like my friends were all making fun of me for quitting all the time. Then I realized that was a pretty ridiculous reason to settle! What am I, in 7th grade?? :)

        • LOL!! I have this theory that none of us really mature passed 2nd grade, we just get much better at hiding our feelings. The only antidote to a lack of maturity, it turns out, is courage. Sounds like you’re well on your way to graduation! :)

  12. From all the comments I have one overall comment: everything you’ve done has added to your knowledge and experience and will serve you in the future. Whether positive or negative, it all words together to create a better you for the next employer.
    One of the biggest things I do is sit with my clients and discuss their past experience. In doing so, they realize that they have greater talents, more to offer, and better skills than they ever dreamed possible. Then they allow me to take that experience and work it into a formatted platform used to position them for the next “perfect position”. And it works!!
    Even in my career, everything has worked together for good. I’ve landed many jobs based on experience gleaned from adversity and difficult situations. While it’s always difficult at the time, I wouldn’t change any of the experiences because they’ve strengthened my background and opened new doors of opportunity.
    I encourage everyone to step forward and reach for their dream job. It’s there waiting for you and when the time is right you’ll reach it.

    • Nice point, Linda. Too often we feel we have to have direct experience. For example, if we want a new career in marketing, we think we need to have a former position in marketing to apply. But if you’ve authored a newsletter for your church group or helped your daughter sell the most Girl Scout cookies, you do have experience in marketing. You don’t have to get employed to get good experience!

      • On
      • February 16, 2011 at 5:59 pm
      • Cara Stein
      • Said...

      I’ve recently experienced this myself, so I know you’re making a great point! I’m working on creating my own business with a blog as a vehicle, and suddenly all this other stuff I’ve done at various times is exactly the stuff I need to know how to do! The typography classes I took in college, the time on the school newspaper (layout and reporting), the web development work I did early in my career, the writing hobby I had as a kid… really, the only thing I did purely for fun that hasn’t shown up yet is roller hockey! It’s been an awesome surprise that all those times I thought I was just playing around are the foundation for what I need now. I bet your clients love that discovery!

      • Actually, I’ve been meaning to tell you: the one I felt was missing from your blog was roller hockey. There, I said it. (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself)

        My whole goal in life is to help other people see what’s in front of them, to see their own possibility. I walk around seeing potential everywhere, but I have to get them to see it before it becomes reality. Doing that for one person is great. More than that, and I start to get giddy.

  13. Oh,yes, the value of a miserable job! That’s so true unless of course you’re a masochist and many are! But a really job bad situation certainly gets us moving faster than a so-so one. I can personally attest to that!

    I love the video and the three self-imposed restraints. It’s that “devil you know is better than the devil you don’t” syndrome again. Your point about the ideal job and travel is like people who can’t wait to retire to play golf. My dad did that and told me,”Honey, you can only play so much golf.” And he also told me, “You need a community people around you that include the old and the young.”

    Painting ourselves into a career and life style corner is easier than commiting ourselves to continuous growth and discovery…things that keep us interested, relevant, and interesting. Our lives are our careers. We just need to be sure we keep in charge of something so precious. Another great post, Jen. Thanks. ~Dawn

    • Dawn,

      Yes! It’s funny how the “devil you know is better than the devil you don’t.” We assume there has to be a devil somewhere. But is the devil we know better than than the saving grace we don’t? LOL. But you’re right, committing to self-growth and discovery is easier said than done for most.

      Thanks for the kind words on the video. I’m really coming to enjoy them, so I’m glad others like them too. Nothing fancy, but I like for people to know who I am in a more personal way. We are, after all, talking about something as personal as one’s livelihood!

  14. I love my job when I there are plenty of clients. When not I feel scared and unsure. I enjoy Mondays and Fridays the best. Figure I like getting back to work and liked having some time off at the end of the week. Blogging is what I do in my free time – I love it and perhaps it will turn out to be a real job one day!

    • I actually think loving both Monday and Friday is really healthy. Maybe that’s the epitome of work-life balance!

    • On
    • February 16, 2011 at 7:06 am
    • Miriam
    • Said...

    Wow – what a compelling piece! The way you have written it will stick in people’s craw – in a good painful kind of way. Complacency, I think, eats away at all of us in one arena or another. Facing our fears and taking risks add to the excitement and joy of our lives – but yes – it’s hard.
    Thanks for such a compelling piece! What an impact you will have with it!

    • That’s a good way of putting it. Complacency is something we have to fight if we want interesting lives. As I said in another forum, one of the best ways to tackle fear is through planning. It may be you realistically can’t leave your job for another couple of years. That doesn’t mean you can plan and take action to make that a reality today!

  15. I have been one of those people in one of those jobs – but I didn’t and don’t hate my job nor do I complain about it as it is my choice to stay. I stay… the pay is okay but the real reason is that I am a single parent who elected early on to be as involved with my daughter as I could as long as I could… hopefully through her elementary school days (18 more months) I live close to her school, home, her activities – I have the ability to be there for her, walk to school with her, etc. I wouldn’t trade it for the world…
    And yet this past Monday I learned that the job I currently have will likely not exist later this year so I need to explore options as they can’t assure me there will be a place for me later.
    I am excited to find something new and different – and I am hopeful that I can find that new and different in a location and with a culture that will allow me the flexibility to continue to be an involved parent (as I have been ) for my daughter for another school year… and then she starts JR High and my involvement will change in so many ways.
    I suppose I am working to open myself to opportunities, create a new work life for myself and manifest the position in such a way that I can give myself and my daughter the time we share for just a wee bit longer!
    Anything is possible… and there is nothing to lose if I try!

    • You prioritized flexibility, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s possible you could have found a fulfilling and challenging job that also gave you that flexibility, but jeepers, as a single parent, we can cut you some slack! :)

      But you raise a wonderful point. The security we think we have in staying in the okay job is an illusion. It can dry up tomorrow. How much better if we start planning for something better even before we need it!

      Sounds like you have a great attitude, which is of course the secret ingredient to success. If you need any help on your journey, don’t hesitate to ask. And good luck!

  16. Hey Jennifer, great post, and I like the post + video format.

    Right now, I am *mostly* doing what I want to do. I’m building a cool portfolio, working on engaging projects, and developing a few rocking skills.

    The challenge is earning enough income to make a comfortable living from it. Right now I’m taking a blended approach to support myself, taking side jobs and projects that sort of fit with my overall plan.

    It’s challenging, but for me it’s a good way to transition into a career that I’ve defined for myself.

    • Awesome! So glad folks are liking the video as part of the post. I appreciate the feedback.

      I think the blended approach is a smart one, especially if your ideal career invovles moving into freelance work or something entrepreneurial. Of course, you can also use the blended approach just to build experience and then parlay that into a more traditional job, depending on your field. Either way, blended can’t hurt, just set a deadline for yourself to make the full leap. Believe me, it’s hard (I’m just now cutting off my own lifeline), but necessary. You won’t let go of your old life until you have to.

    • On
    • February 16, 2011 at 7:47 pm
    • D. Rene
    • Said...

    I am a witness that loving your career is a peaceful place. There was no course that I knew of at the time I found my zen job, it was developed as a result of paying attention to what I did NOT like at work. There’s value in observing what gets you excited about the positions you hold as well as what stinks.

    • Exactly. There’s actually very little out there on figuring out what to do with your life, but it definitely starts with looking inside. So glad you found yours! What are you doing now?

    • On
    • February 17, 2011 at 6:39 pm
    • Daria
    • Said...

    I am in this spot right now – a good job, but not a passion. I think I have a solution because I am working on creating a new position in my company that fits my strengths and interests much better. I’ll let you know how it goes! Thank you for the continued inspiration!

    • I’m really pleased to hear that you think you may have found a solution. It’s a great point that one doesn’t always need a new career or even a new employer to find their ideal job. Definitely keep us updated!

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    • On
    • February 22, 2011 at 6:03 am
    • Ayngelina
    • Said...

    I´m always amazed by people who are so afraid to leave jobs that are sucking the life out of them. I think we become so involved in our own circle of misery that we can´t see that breaking it would make our lives better.

    The only time we see it is if we´ve had the strength to leave and are now looking back.

    • Right, when you look back, you wonder why it was so hard to leave. But at the time, it feels momentous and scary. It’s really a win-win situation. You stop getting the life sucked out of you and at least get the opportunity to something rewarding. It’s just hard to see it in the moment.

  22. I truly believe that the really horrible, toxic jobs I’ve had in the past were the best jobs I had in the past… They forced me to get past the fear and dream. There’s nothing worse than a job that’s not great, but not horrible – it’s so easy to stay stuck in those for years :)

    • Exactly. And as with all things, it’s as important to know what you don’t want as it is to know what you do.

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