Do you think you are being fulfilled by the work you do? For some people, the answer is an easy yes or no. However, if you are within the huge majority, answering this can be tough. What exactly qualifies as you being satisfied with what you do for a living, and what are the red flags that you need to look out for?
The power of habit
by Charles Duhigg
⏱ 16 minutes reading time
🎧 Audio version available
When asked what they do for a living, people often mold their answers into something that sounds more important. Since people aren’t exactly proud of their job description, they feel they will be judged when they describe it to people.
And this is only because we, too, judge other people’s way of earning when they talk about it. So, unless we really stop judging others, describing your own regular job will be an unpleasant task for absolutely no reason.
But that’s only relevant if you even remotely like what you do. How do you even know if you like your work or not? And why is that even an important question? We spend about a third of our lives working. And one-third of your life is not a small amount.
Many people say that one has to work whether they like it or not and it’s just something they need to do to function in society. Of course, that’s true, as far as it goes. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find it interesting. That doesn’t mean that you cannot go against the norms of society and opt for something completely different.
Walking into your office and having to spend 9 hours of your day in there just to improve someone else’s business can be a daunting task. It usually results in two types of behavior. The first type is fully committed to their jobs and give it their all.
They’ll attend the meetings with enthusiasm, get their work done on time, and perhaps even go out of their way to maintain a good relationship with their boss. In today’s world, these people are considered smart. But their enthusiasm to work harder does not stem from passion or love for their work.
These people are only hoping to climb the corporate ladder and perhaps get a bigger paycheck in the future. While there’s nothing wrong with that, it can be something you come to regret later in life. I’ll come back to that later.
The second type of people makes the bare minimum effort necessary to keep their jobs safe. They know that they don’t like their work, openly complain about it, and just survive those 9 hours every day somehow until they can go home.
It’s not just those 8 to 9 hours you spend in your office, but also another hour or two spent commuting. Since you will be preparing to go to work in the morning, work that you actively do not like, everything you do will be mind-numbing and boring. Give or take, this takes about 10 to 12 hours of your day, almost every day. Take out 6 to 8 hours of sleep and you’re left with barely six or so hours to your day.
And that, in itself, is a huge dilemma. We convince ourselves that if we continue that nine-to-five job till we’re 60, survive on that paycheck, and save a little every month, we’ll be fine. After all, that is how 95% of society seems to function. People barely take vacations, spend more than half of their day in misery, and before they know it, they retire and are miserable than ever.
If you’re unhappy with the way things are in your life, you need to think about your job very carefully. Do you find it hard to pass the time at work? Do you often get impatient and wonder why you’re even working there in the first place? If you answered these questions in the affirmative, and if what you do every single day does not excite you even in the slightest, you most definitely are not being fulfilled with your work.
When asked why they don’t find something they love, many people answer that they don’t even know what they like. Finding your passion can be more complicated for some than others. Let’s take some insight from Elon Musk’s wife, who saw one of the most competent and passion-driven people climb the ladder of success.
According to her, people must really dig deep into finding their passion. The easiest answer may not be the correct one. She suggests a simple strategy for people who want to find their passion and pursue it as a career option. So, here we go.
Are there times when you feel that you are the best version of yourself and feel energetic, determined, and so positive that you could achieve anything? Most people have felt like that at least once in their lives. What we need to do is look back at what we were doing when those feelings of positivity and euphoria hit us. All you need to do is write it down.
When you get the same feeling again, you need to think back about what made you feel this good and write it down. Whatever it is you’re writing down probably won’t be what you’re passionate about in life. But we’re getting closer to our answer.
Once you’ve noted down a number of times the activities that excited you, try and find the connection between them. Upon first glance, they may appear very different from each other, but with enough focus, you will eventually find that there is a common factor. And that common factor should be the answer to your question.
Leaving a job that you’ve decided you hate can be incredibly difficult. People often fantasize about it, but rarely act on their urges, which turns into a vicious cycle. A job that you hate still makes you money. First, you need to decide if you like the job or not.
Once you’re sure that your work is actually making you miserable, you find your passion. Once you’ve found it, you start building on what you love, little by little. Quitting your regular job can be frightening. But eventually, a leap of faith must be taken.
Take your time to think about what you could do. But once you know what your passion is, make sure that you’re ready to give up your miserable job and start focusing on that passion. With enough effort, time, and commitment, not only will you not be exhausted as much, but you’ll begin to breathe life into a completely new venture.
We wish you the best of luck in changing the direction of your professional career towards something that you actually enjoy. It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible. And remember, patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet!
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