I hope you can appreciate the irony of how I came up with the idea for this post.
The lovely bank that I work at is all about making their employees smarter and being able to say, “hey, look at all the awesome resources we provide you guys! Why would you ever want to leave?”
One of those resources is a website that sums up the main points of certain business books so you can read all the highlights in less than 10 minutes. Talk about efficiency! (I don’t have to read the entire book to learn things.) But also talk about inefficiency! (I’m reading these book reviews while I’m on the clock because we don’t have any customers in our branch from time to time.) Also, how in the world do they expect to take advantage of these cool resources if we can’t use them outside of our work computers?! Doesn’t sound right for some reason…
Anyways, I came across a book called, “Make it Matter” by Scott Mautz. It’s a very interesting book that’s actually geared towards managers to get more out of their employees.
This is an excerpt for the book directly from Scott’s website:
How many people find a true sense of meaning and fulfillment in their jobs? Unfortunately, studies show that most do not. In fact, 70% of workers are actually disengaged and are experiencing a greater search for meaning at work then in life. Their bodies may put in long hours, but their hearts and minds never really punch in. And that’s a terrible dilemma for organizations trying to motivate their work forces to do more with less.
The part that really resonates with me is the “their bodies may put in long hours, but their hearts and minds never really punch in.”
That’s deep. And it’s totally me.
I feel like I have no purpose in my job; it has no meaning. All I do is cash checks and make deposits for old people.
I’m hardly making a difference in the world. My job will eventually be taken over by machines. And I’m okay with that because I don’t want to do this for the rest of my life.
The point is, if your job isn’t very fulfilling, you aren’t alone. In fact, you’re the majority. Congrats!
I hope you find as much relief in this as I do.
We’ve established that we aren’t fulfilled in our work. That’s good. The first step to figuring out the problem is realizing the problem.
So what’s there to do about it?
The way I see it, there’s 3 main routes you can go:
Option #1: Suck it up and try to make the best out of it.
Not recommended, but, it’s the easiest route to go. You’re already a pro at going through the motions while doing the bare minimum to avoid getting fired. Why change now? You can try to make a game out of it and see how long you can make it before your next nervous breakdown. You can continue to go down this dark, long path alongside your miserable co-workers because hey, you aren’t supposed to like your job! That’s why they call it work, right?
It’s okay to lead a miserable existence because you only have about 35 more years to go before you can retire. It’s all about sacrifice! You surely can’t have your cake and eat it too!
Plus, you’ll get Social Security then and life will be all sunshine and rainbows!
Spend a couple minutes tonight and write up your 2-weeks notice! Say YOLO like all the cool kids these days and just quit already. You’re too good for that place anyways! Enough is enough, it’s time to stick it to the man!
Relax, you don’t need a plan! Everything will work out. You just have to work harder! You can sleep when you’re dead! You’ll just work 20 hours a day and you’ll be an overnight success in no time!
Sure, you have bills and shit, but that’s what credit cards are for!
Option #3: Make the most of the situation you got yourself into and work on something to escape to after work is done.
Realize that this isn’t what you want to do for the rest of your life and that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with that.
But also realize that there’s much worse things than getting a (mostly) guaranteed paycheck every 2 weeks, paid vacation, health insurance, and a 401(k.)
Realize that you aren’t your job title; that there’s life outside of work.
There’s time outside of your job that you can dedicate your energy and time to something that is meaningful to you; something that you can escape to from your dead-end job.
Realize that this will be a road full of ups and downs, frustrations, dead ends, and emotions you didn’t even know existed.
Realize that there will be setbacks and that you’ll have to fight to create a future that you control.
Realize that there’s no such thing as an overnight success. You can’t buy your way to success; you have to put in the effort. Things will probably take longer than you originally thought they would so you’ll have to be patient.
You’re going to have to play the long game. You’ll have to be willing to give up short-term pleasures for long-term happiness.
But it’ll be worth it. It’ll be so worth it.
You’ll be able to stick it to the man and control how you spend the rest of your life.
You’ll find meaning in your life and your work. You’ll figure out your purpose. And you’ll be able to help others do the same.
That’s why Option #3 is the one for me; I’m working to find fulfillment in my work after the work day is over. I’m working on making what I do for a living and what I do for survival one in the same.
Which do you choose?
(Please don’t go with Option #1 or #2. I don’t condone either of them. I tried Option #1 for a while and it made me depressed. I also tried Option #2 and I ended up going back to where I started.
Do yourself a favor and go with Option #3. You’ll be happier, your family will be happier, and the world will be a better place.)
*Full Disclosure: The link to Scott’s website is not an affiliate link. I get nothing if you check it out.