Jobs, man. Jobs are a funny thing. They are touted as both insignificant- “it’s *only* a job”– and yet, also, empirically difficult-“it wouldn’t be called work if it were easy“- all while also being told to “do what makes you happy”
Starting in early childhood we are asked the infamous: what do you want to do when you grow up? Like that is even a fair or valid question at age 8, or even 18, since now at 29, I am still struggling with the answer. Many of us (well myself at least), spent the better part of our young lives preparing for or careers; reaching for opportunities and education that would supposedly give us the foundations we need in the uphill battle of the ominous ‘job market’.
All our young adult lives, we work jobs that are just fillers until we get “there“- this predetermined destination that we marked on a mental map years ago, perhaps in filling out college applications or year book surveys. Then, after years of hard work and schooling, we get these jobs that are supposed to be our ‘careers.’ And then…what? Am I supposed to be satisfied doing the same thing every single day for the next thirty, plus, years? Am I supposed to continue breaking my butt to move up within my field? At what point do I get to stop and enjoy the fruits of my labor? Retirement? What if I never get to retirement? What if I want to enjoy my life, now?
The fact of the matter is there is more to a job than just the paycheck and your most basic duties that might be listed on a job description or resume. Working the typical nine to five/80 hour work week, we spend the better part of our lives at our jobs. Unless you work independently from home, this means you are working side-by-side for this large expanse of time with a variety of people in what becomes a microcosm of our existence. The conglomeration of diverse personalities, inevitably, lends itself to a variety of dynamics and relationships. And after a while, you learn a certain slang or inside jokes that no one outside your office knows or can understand. It can be strange when I really think about this. Not even those closest to me- not my mother or my best friend or my boyfriend- have really any understanding of what my days normally look like or what it would mean if I asked about SIS or joked about moving my car [all inside information/jokes]. This small subset of people that I see day in and day out for most days of the year know more about me and are more on the same level of understanding than anyone else in my life.
This has been troubling me lately. I have come to realize that my current job is, perhaps, not the best fit for me any longer. It feels stale and the days are mind numbing. When I do something out of the ordinary, like attend a meeting that I find stimulating, I am reminded of what it could be like to have a job that really ignites my passion or at least leaves me feeling accomplished and happy. But it’s so hard to think of leaving the microcosm that is my job, that really, feels like home and my coworkers family. These people have gotten me through some of the hardest times in my life, and continue to make me laugh and lift my spirits almost every single (week) day.
How do you weigh the benefits of working a job you love versus working with people you love. There are so many great benefits to working this job-casual dress, flexible time, good pay and benefits, supportive leadership, stability, annual raises, and of course, most importantly great colleagues. Would leaving all that be worth it for a job I find fulfilling? That’s a mighty big risk to take, don’t you think?
I don’t know what I think. Not anymore. I don’t know what to look for. I don’t know what to wish or hope for. I just don’t know. Jobs are a funny thing, man.