What If You Don’t Love Your Job?

Len WilsonCreativity, Passion2 Comments

bag-of-money
Do you love your day job? If yes, then congrats: you’re one of a select few, because the majority of people privately or publicly answer no.

Asking if you love your job begs a question: Is it necessary to love your job?

Do you ever wonder about this? It’s not an easy question, this idea of loving your work. Ask me over the course of a week and get several different answers. Feelings can change, sometimes by the hour. So how are we supposed to sort out what we think, much less with enough conviction about it to make major life decisions?

Doing something for love or for money can seem like a false dichotomy, anyway. Some say that needing to care for your work, to be intrinsically motivated, is perhaps a first world dilemma, an elitist’s problem. They say, most of us can’t afford such attitudes. We have bills to pay… right?

Wishes Don’t Wash Dishes.
- annoying refrigerator magnet

 

Most People Work For The Money.

The truth is that most of us don’t love our job.

Only 13% of us are actively engaged in our jobs.
Only 13% of us are “actively engaged” in our jobs, according to a recent Gallup poll. The majority of us – 63% - merely put in our time at work and go home.

That, my friends, is not good. Most of us are not actively engaged in one of the most significant parts of our life. According to the same study, the remaining 24% of us are actively disengaged, which means some of us are so disconnected from our work, and presumably from our God-given creativity, that we’re trying to dismantle the very structure that supports us in a self-mutilating cry for help.

The bottom line? Right now, only about 1 in every 10 people reading this post is working with any sense of purpose and fulfillment.

 

Just working for the money is killing us. And it’s killing our country, too. Because if we’re not engaged in our work, we can’t expect to be creative, or fulfilled.

 

Maybe the Money Isn’t Killing Us, But The Reasons Are.

The hard truth is this: To work in a job you don’t love, just for the money, is to live a life based in fear.

The thirteen percent in the poll who are truly engaged know something special: that if we do something for the money, or for a number of reasons but primarily for the money, we’re not acting from faith but from a need to be secure. We’re making the fear move. And here’s the kicker. We’re choosing poorly.

 

Working Just For The Money Doesn’t Work.

I’m not saying money can’t be a factor. It always is. It’s not like you can just drop your paycheck. You’ve got kids, a car, a mortgage. Golden handcuffs.

But making a decision to support your family and obligations isn’t the same thing as making a decision to do something you don’t love simply for the paycheck.

When we do something for money, we gain an illusion of security, which inevitably fades. Decisions based purely on security don’t create fulfillment.

Writer Don Miller blogged that in the four years since the release of his last book, he’d nearly completed but abandoned two books because they “didn’t shine.” He was stuck, until a friend told him at a conference,

Don, I think I know your problem. You’re being too careful. When you first started as a writer, readers loved your work because you said what you felt, you took huge risks. Now, you’re always so careful. We miss the Don who wasn’t careful.

Don calls the post “Four Words That Changed My Career.” He writes,

I started writing to stay alive, not to express what I felt and believed. I suddenly had something to lose and when you have something to lose, you start being careful.The sad thing is when we’re careful, we are actually being affected by fear.

This is what happens. Somewhere along the way, we move from making decisions based on what we believe in to making decisions based on protecting our assets.

I believe that somewhere between the ceaseless need to pay bills and the skipping-in-daisies fantasy of pursuing dreams is a third way. A realistic third way.

It starts with having a sense of purpose in what we do. And having a sense of purpose starts with passion. This is the root.

I don’t care too much for money
For money can’t buy me love.
- The Beatles

Having a sense of passion is a prerequisite to creativity and fulfillment. You don’t gain life by trying to gain it, by hustling for security. You gain life by losing it. By letting go. And this starts with passion.

I’m going to write about this a lot in the next few months, because I think a proper understanding of passion is the root of the flowery branch of creativity.

As for what to do about that job you don’t love? You’re not going to get to a better future in one step, probably. But here’s a good place to start:

 

Take a Risk Today.

Any risk. Even if it’s eating at a different place for lunch. You’ve got to get in the habit somehow, because you’re going to need it.

Good luck.

 

About the Author

Len Wilson

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Writer. Story lover. Believer. Branding philosopher. Breakfast chef. Tickle monster. Dr. Pepper enthusiast. Creative Director. Occasional public speaker.

Len WilsonWhat If You Don’t Love Your Job?
  • Dustin

    Then there’s that awkward place where you’re still passionate, but exhausted in every other possible way. You’ve changed things and tried different things and yet still feel like the definition of insanity. …I’m saying that for a friend!

    • http://lenwilson.us/ Len Wilson

      Right! There are books and people that talk about inspiration and pursuing dreams and then there’s the messier reality of it. This is what I want to explore. It may be the topic of my next book.