In life we have choices. We choose what we do everyday, from what we eat to whom we spend our life with. One of the most important choices is choosing a career path. As children and young adults we learn what is expected of us. “Get great grades so you can get into a good college so you can get a good job.” Along the way we may or may or may not be encouraged by parents and peers to experiment with hobbies such as art, film, dance, writing, theatre, sports, general entrepreneurship etc. I say hobbies because most of us are told these things are JUST that, hobbies. We are taught that when we have extra time we do the things we love, and for approximately 60% of Americans all other time is dedicated to doing things we hate…working.
A study conducted in 2015 showed that 61% of Americans reported feeling unfulfilled at work, or overall in their profession. Considering the majority of people spend 40+ hours a week at work, we really should enjoy what we do to a certain degree. Only 30% of Americans reported they would go into work tomorrow if they won the lottery tonight. I know what you’re thinking.
Uh, who would?
People who truly enjoy and get fulfillment from what they do for a living would. I came across a quote recently that said, “I hate during a job interview when companies ask- Why do you want to work here?- So I can pop bottles on the weekend and buy shit, the fuck you mean ‘why’?”
Funny and sadly true. 73% of Americans reported only working for a paycheck. Along with a very low percentage of people reporting feelings of accomplishment or enjoyment from the work they do. Today more and more people are working in professions because they have to, not because they want to. The most disheartening statistic stated was that less than one-third of respondents said they would recommend their children go into their line of work. One of the main reasons people work is to raise and support their children. They want to provide the best life and opportunities, but unknowingly (or for some assholes, knowingly) they encourage their children to pursue careers they may eventually hate…enough to end up as part of these statistics. Every year these percentages are worsening.
Why are so many people not doing anything about it?
I am a huge advocate of going after your dreams, so to speak. BUT contrary to popular belief, doing what you love is not always loving what you do. Going after a dream usually takes more work, sacrifice, and stress than staying in a job you hate. And I can guarantee your dream career will come with its own set of stresses and setbacks.
We are biologically wired to want security. And that’s OK. Not everyone can make money sitting on their couch in their PJs or pursing an art, but more importantly, not everyone wants to. Many people enjoy a stable “9-5” career. Our society needs and appreciates doctors, lawyers, teachers, baristas, and Trader Joe’s team members. If we didn’t have these people civilization as we know it would collapse. I love my neighborhood barista more than some of my own family members. Fortunately, many of these people are the 39% who report enjoyment and fulfillment in their profession.
For the other 61%, listen up. One day you will not be on this planet anymore. No not like when we all end up on Mars because of continued global warming denial. I mean one day you will die. We all will. And we have to make the choice of what we want to do until we die. My philosophy is that simple ideas lead to a fulfilled life. So, if you are unhappy in your current situation, change it. I hear you yelling, “A lot easier said than done! I can’t change my life because of this or this or this…” One of my favorite quotes is “Excuses are bad habits in disguise.” People get comfortable making excuses to excuse their behavior, or lack there of.
Bottom line. STOP making excuses. Reasons for not doing things will always be there. Money concerns will always be there. We all have something holding us back. Eating that cupcake and saying you will start your diet tomorrow. There will always be obstacles holding us back from what we want to do and where we want to be. But that is life. Life is made up of many avoided excuses. Even if you think your career or life seems trivial, you likely had to accomplish quite a bit to get where you are today. (Or maybe you didn’t and if you didn’t then that’s why you are reading this) the point is that you likely didn’t love the steps it took to get where you are today. College applications and job interviews are not always easy or fun. You could have made excuses to not do these things, but you avoided making excuses.
So, if after all you have done to get where you are today you are unhappy, then you need to change your life. It won’t be easy, but we already discussed this. Doing what you love is not always loving what you do. It will be hard, stressful, scary, and likely annoying. But most things in life that are worth doing are all of these things. Choosing a life partner, having a baby, relocating, saying no to that cupcake.
For the people who want to pursue an art, start a business, or completely start over and change careers. We are told pursuing a dream is stupid, selfish, irresponsible, childish, etc. The people who tell you this, (even if it’s yourself), f*ck these people. I’m not saying to quit your job tomorrow and move across the country to pursue your mobile wedding chapel app. What I am saying is start taking the steps today to end up where you want to be in the future, so you can eventually quit the job you hate.
Life is just a series of avoided excuses, so start avoiding the excuses that matter most. Doing just that may be the thing that changes your life.