And what we can do about it
Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash
Lie #1 — “Do something that you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”
What’s worse: the quote itself or that you fell for it?
Your job doesn’t have to fulfill you. Why should it? It’s a job. It’s a list of responsibilities that you need to fulfill to make someone else more money.
It’s your labor, time, and energy in exchange for a paycheck that puts food on the table, a roof over your head, and for the lucky ones, a nice vacation once in a while. It can get revoked at any time, so until it isn’t, a job lets you live a comfortable life outside of the duties assigned.
As long as your job delivers on its promise to show you the money, you can still live a decent life even if you don’t love what you do. There are limits, of course, and that’s an article for another day.
Even if you do love your job (in which case, good for you) there will always be certain aspects of it that feel like just that — a job.
As Mark Manson says:
“What are you willing to struggle for?”
What are you willing to put up with? That is how you live your life.
You can’t place so much pressure on one thing to meet all your needs. You’re complex, you’re human. You have a lot of needs.
You might be thinking, “Wow, what a bitter take on jobs.”
And you’re right. It’s disillusioned.
So let’s flip it.
Maybe you care about your job. You love your colleagues. Your boss supports you. You feel valued and appreciated. You’re paid what you’re worth. You feel the impact you make. It’s meaningful. In the grand scheme of things, your job helps people live better lives in some way, shape, or form because what’s the point otherwise.
If that’s the case, congratulations!
Even if you find yourself in a less-than-ideal place when it comes to your job, you can re-evaluate your options. Or find meaning in what you do and gain perspective on how it contributes to your community. After all, isn’t that all we could possibly wish for? To coexist, grow, and help each other out?
Besides, a job prevents you from getting bored otherwise. Few people take freedom responsibly.
Lie #2 — “Best friends for life.”
We grew up on a concept coined BFFL, or best friends for life.
No wonder friendship breakups leave us shook. Separating from a friend is painful under any circumstances. But it hurts even more when you grow up thinking that your best friends will be there forever.
They most likely won’t and that’s okay.
Here’s the thing. I take issue with the term “best friend.” Forget about “for life.” The term itself is childish. At a certain point, you have to grow out of it.
There’s no such thing as a “best” friend. Only different friends that fulfill your various needs or share your diverse interests throughout evolving life stages.
One is great to study with, another with whom to party. One is great at listening, another at giving advice. Friendships are beautiful in all sorts of ways, and each friend deserves to be honored based on the array of benefits they bring into your life.
I don’t believe in so-called “best” friends. Only good friends who each offer their own unique assets.
Just like with a job, you can’t expect one person to fulfill every single need you have. That’s why it matters to maintain friendships that complement all sides of you.
Turn to different people for different things instead of relying on one “best” friend to do it all. It’s time to ditch that word. Besides, aren’t we getting too old for it now anyway?
Lie #3 — “Work hard in school. Land a good job. Live happily ever after.”
At this point, we’ve caught on that a job is a job. Best friends aren’t for life. And landing a good job doesn’t mean happily ever after.
Sure, for a time, you could cruise through your 9-to-5. Until, BAM!
Management decides to re-org, or worse, implement a round of layoffs.
Things are not as secure as they once seemed. As evidenced by the ongoing public health crisis, society is held together by glue sticks and matches.
That’s why today, a 9-to-5 is the minimum. A 5-to-9 on top of that is even more responsible. Unless you scale a second source of income — or better yet, a third and fourth — then you can’t rest easy thinking you’re safe.
No employer has your back the way you do.
What do you do about it?
Get so good, they can’t ignore you. Build your skills and show them off. Let the people know what you’re about, what you did, how you help, and who you are. Stay focused, stay grounded, and keep your head in the game.
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