It’s Probable You’re In The Wrong Job


It’s a huge world we live in, with everything from densely populated urban areas to rural districts and places of relative isolation. There’s mountainous regions, prairies and wetlands, coasts, deserts, wastelands and watersheds. Out of the billions of places you might have entered the world, chance plopped you into it where it did. Where you entered this game of Life is one of the key determinants to what you’ll do job/career-wise.

Speaking of jobs and careers, there’s an abundance of these world-wide too. If you attempted to list all the jobs that exist in the world, how do you think you’d fare? My guess is you’d do poorly – and so too would I for that matter. There are those jobs we’d readily find in many populous areas world-wide like Servers, Teachers, Factory Workers, Drivers etc. and we’d likely have these pop to mind. However would you also have Dolly Grip, Actuarial Analyst, Pet Insurance Agent, Bung Hole Borer or Brand Evangelist on your list? No, not likely.

The thing is, there are more jobs we don’t know exist than those we do. So what are the odds that you’re in the single perfect job – I mean, THE one you were put on this planet to excel at? Doesn’t it appear rather unlikely that of all the places you could be in the world, somehow you occupy the one city block you were meant to occupy, and that the one job – that single, perfect role you were meant to aspire to and succeed at is within an easy commute? While we’re at it, if you believe soulmates and partners are a one in a million catch, what are the odds they live nearby too? You’re odds of having the perfect job, in the perfect community, living happily with the person you were put on this earth to love for all eternity is astronomical!

Hang on a moment, let’s not get carried away. As we look around, we do see people – and plenty of them – who are happily engaged in the work they do, they’re in healthy, loving relationships and they fit in with the environment they live in. So how did they beat such incredible odds? More importantly, if they did it, how can we duplicate that happiness and success?

It begins with discarding the notion that there is only a single job in existence that will bring us satisfaction. This notion that we have to find that one job we were meant to do is the delusion that keeps many from finding job satisfaction. You can travel to other cities, countries, continents even, and end up doing a job that had you looked, you’d have found nearby in your own community, or in dozens of communities around the globe. So if you’re born in the city but dig a mining career (hope you enjoyed that one), yes you might find yourself relocating to a mining town, but there are lots of those to choose from.

The truth in my opinion is that we’re a multi-talented creature we humans, and as such, there are many jobs that will stimulate our need for job satisfaction. If being around people and helping others is our thing, we can fulfill this desire in many professions; any one of which will bring us happiness and have us feel satisfied at the end of a day. If we’re more inclined to like work that we do in relative isolation, we don’t have to be a Forest Ranger in a lookout tower or even leave the cities we find ourselves in. There exist jobs right in the heart of densely populated cities that people do in isolating roles.

One thing I’d encourage you to do, and do with periodic regularity, is find a quiet space and listen to yourself. It sounds trite, it sounds corny, it might sound downright silly and a right eyerolling, “you’ve got to be kidding?” moment, but listen to your inner voice. If you don’t go to work happily on most days, if you don’t find satisfaction in your work and find yourself clock-watching every fifteen minutes, what are you doing there? You’ve got this one life and time is ticking. As time goes on, options you once had start disappearing. The prison you might find yourself in, chained to a job you come to loathe is one of your own design. Get out into the world and move on before you close the door on yourself. If you don’t, blame yourself, not the world.

If you don’t hear that inner voice pulling you in some other direction, excellent! However, if something keeps nagging at you that there has to be something better, something different, more fulfilling; shouldn’t you be paying attention to that pull? I mean at least explore the possibility of whatever it is that suggests there’s something else you could and probably should be doing? The price you pay to look around is cheaper than the fortune it’ll cost you to lock yourself into a job that brings you nothing but money.

Sure, there’s the usual snags to this thinking: “I have bills, responsibilities, people depend on me, I have to play it safe, my time has come and gone.” Seriously? That’s sad isn’t it? You’re hearts still beating right? Oh good, because it sounded like you were already dead.

A stimulating job or career is nearby; open your mind and your eyes to the possibilities and do something great!

“What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?”


How many times have you had this question asked of you, and do you enjoy answering it? There’s a time in our lives when most of us actually did find this question an interesting one to answer and were happy to do so. However once we turned 9 or so…

Have you ever wondered why this question is popular? It’s related very much to another question often asked, “So, what do you do for a living?” Both questions are designed to allow the person asking it to mentally categorize you. It’s part of your identity, and it’s how others identify you. “Jim? Oh yes the plumber chap”. “So did you hear? Jessica is a teacher now!”

How we feel about Jim and Jessica is influenced by what we think of plumbers and teachers. Without knowing any more information, we almost certainly start making some value judgements about them based on our view of their profession. The question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, is going to give the person asking some framework to categorize you just like the other question. The real kicker for the person asking the question is when you reply with some vague response akin to, “I haven’t quite decided”, or “I dunno”; the pre-adult classic. They can’t categorize you.

Of course the question itself tends to trap the person being asked into a single response. I mean when asked what they want to be when they grow up, no one answers, “Well, I’d like to explore around a bit, do a little woodwork for a couple of years, go back to school for photography but then decide it’s more of a hobby really, drop out, then work in an office for 7 or 8 years, buy my own car wash, then eventually end up a late bloomer in the photo journalism field. Oh and I’d like to have a smashing good time with a number of ladies not one of which I plan to settle down with really. I may even father a child somewhere along the way.”

Aunt Edna might have nothing to say after that answer, and decide it’s best not to ask in the future either. It will however give her plenty of fodder to fill up the knitting circles for weeks to come, or conversely silence her completely when asked about you. You see for Aunt Edna’s friends, her reputation is associated with yours. If you’re successful, by association her status rises. If you’re unemployed and living rough, well…best we don’t tell her friends shall we?

The question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” also implies two things; one you haven’t grown up yet and two, what you want to be is something other than that which you are at present. In fact what you are at present must be somehow juvenile; the ‘growing up’ hasn’t finished. When it does, you’ll ‘be’ something other than what you ‘are’ now.

In previous historical periods, a person grew into a single profession and their family name in some cultures was defined by the job. Hence the Millers, Carvers, Masons and the Weavers. Say the name and their profession was known without asking. In 2015 however, our surname at birth doesn’t limit most of us in any way nor pre-determine what our future will be.

Some people I imagine would like things to be as they were. It would for some be ideal to just be told or expected to get into a line of work without the pressure of having to decide. For the majority of people I suspect however, the freedom of choice is sometimes confusing but still much more desirable; as is the freedom to change professions at any time.

Seemingly having to have it all figured out in your high school years in order to choose the right College or University and launch your career comes with immense pressure. I mean by 16 or 17 years of age, you’ve only had exposure to a very limited number of people in your life. Many of those people do the same jobs, and you’re so self-absorbed in your own world, you’ve probably very little sincere interest in what others do, and haven’t really ever sat down with them to find out. Most teens I know only have a superficial idea at best of what their parents do for a living let alone others.

So with limited exposure, how then are you to settle in on the right University or College courses that are going to lead to a career or job which you will find fulfilling later? Your own brain is still evolving, your likes and dislikes are still being shaped, and you’ll find as you grow you meet people doing things you don’t even know exist at present. Not to mention some things you find tedious now may suddenly become appealing later. You might be setting yourself up for anxiety if you want to change careers mid-school and somehow disappoint the family, or ‘waste’ the money.

So what’s the answer? Generally speaking; (for there is no one answer for all) it’s good advice to do a great many things when you are young. Try things. Talk with people. Observe. Let the next 45 years of your life evolve. Plan for the next 3. Make mistakes. Learn. Make more mistakes. Learn some more. Most people change careers 3 times and have 8 or 9 jobs over their lifetime. Ease up on the self-inflicted stress to have it all figured out at 17.