Career Advice

How To Want The Job You Get

You’ve been reading all of the stuff online. Apparently, we’re supposed to feel badly if our job doesn’t immediately match our expectations. The key to happy work, we are told repeatedly, is to have workers who are passionate. A job is not worth having if your passion does not precede your position.

It is not useful to share these notions with the landlord or other creditors.

For most of us, the idea of having a job that finely integrates our skills, talents, curiosities and self-concept is just that, an idea. We go to work and try to move things in the direction of our dreams. It’s our job to make the work meaningful.

It can be slow going.

Whether you are a seasoned real estate professional displaced by the downturn, an old school media employee faced with the reality of the web, a union worker in Detroit or a soon to be recent college graduate, the problem is the same.

How do you bring passion and enthusiasm to the job you have when it is not the job you want? How do you make your job meaningful and what do you do if you can’t.

Here are some starting points:

  • Decide to be happy. Abraham Lincoln famously said, “People are just about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” It really is possible to simply decide to be happy. Try imagining a time when you were really happy. Hold the memory for a minute or so and notice how it feels. Do this when your spirits sag.
  • Remember that feelings are just information. There is no fundamental relationship between how you feel and the way the world is. Disappointment, anger, sadness, happiness and joy are all choices. They are all forms of feedback.
  • Have a plan. Nothing improves the way things seem than knowing how you are going to change them. The tiniest plan to change jobs, plant a garden, read a book, rearrange the furniture, or modify your work style will have cascading effects in your life.
  • Begin now. Goethe is credited with saying, “Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it!”

Work, particularly work you really don’t want to do, has an intrinsic worth. Sometimes, in the doing of a thing, your body and soul learn things that are not easily talked about. Wisdom, insight and understanding are the products of repetition. Even the most awful of jobs can produce these.