Why Aren’t You Doing What You Love?

by | Feb 15, 2011 | Career Design | 58 comments

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?

That’s why I designed the No Regrets Career Academy. It’s packed with thoughtful exercises that will lead you step-by-step to figuring out what you want to do with your life. You’ll learn how to define success for yourself, how to discover multiple careers that you’d be excited to wake up to, and how to find the courage to make the leap.

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.  If you’ve been struggling to do this career thing all on your own and aren’t making much progress, you’d probably benefit from a course that 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?