A few weeks ago, I went to a national conference for a new association which I am now a member of. As usual, there was a “newbies” information session which introduces you to the association, their leadership, and hopefully other new individuals who are probably feeling as nervous as you are at being at a new event.
I dutifully attended this introduction session. As a self-confessed introvert, it is always a good idea for me to attend these events so that I have some familiar faces to approach during the actual meeting. There were the usual icebreaker exercises to get to know the others at your table, however the discussion at mine was slightly disturbing.
It began innocently enough when someone asked the table “Do you enjoy your job?” which mostly got shrugged shoulders and nonchalant answers. They followed up with “What is your dream job?” One by one we went around the table and not a single individual mentioned a job which was even in their field of employment, let alone in their potential promotional track.
As I sat there surprised and somewhat disheartened, everyone began to look at me. They were expectantly waiting for me to reveal that I wanted to own my own restaurant, be a published writer, be a personal shopper to the rich and famous, retire, all of which were previous answers. Can you imagine their reaction when I said that I actually enjoy my job and therefore stated a position which should eventually be within my reach?
Their jaws literally hit the floor and someone then commented “Oh, you haven’t been doing your job long enough to dislike it!” Again, I was stunned into silence. Why would you spend umpteen hours a week doing something you don’t enjoy? I realize that for some, the necessity to pay bills will always trump their desire to take a risk and make a career change, but isn’t your happiness worth that risk?
As I looked around me, I was saddened. One of the individuals must be a couple of years from retirement, and she stated that she has been counting down to that day for as long as she can remember!
I can’t imagine how miserable it must be to get up each day and dread going into work. I suppose I am exceptionally lucky that I enjoy my job and like the people I get to work with. I don’t necessarily bounce out of bed each morning, but I certainly don’t have to force myself to go in every work day. When I give up part of my evenings to work late or my weekends to travel for work, yes it is a sacrifice – but it is a sacrifice I am happy to make because it is all part of my job.
Ask yourself which category you are currently in: are you a happy and contented worker or do you imagine doing something completely different?
If you are in the first, that is great. What are you doing to challenge yourself so that you can continually grow in your position, and hopefully move forward with either a promotion or pay raise?
If you are in the second category, why are you there? Do you genuinely not enjoy your job, or the environment you are in? If you enjoy your tasks, but not the people around you, are you actively applying for similar positions in different departments or companies?
If you simply count the hours between arriving and home time, wouldn’t you be happier retraining to do something else? I can understand how you feel. After all, I can’t say my college jobs of working in a supermarket or selling car insurance were scintillating – however, they served their purpose. I believe that everyone should at least be happy with their position. After all, each year you will be there for at least 2080 hours (assuming a 40 hour work week for 52 weeks).
Compare that to the amount of free time you have to do the things you enjoy. You spend much more time at work, so doesn’t it make sense to get some pleasure out of it?
Let me know what you think, am I just being naïve? I really hope that everyone considers my message, that way when I meet you at a conference we can be the two weirdoes at a table who are happy!