I know several of you have been struggling with your jobs lately, either not liking what you’re doing or just dealing with the normal challenges that come with work in general, so I thought I’d share some thoughts I had about work this week…
While on vacation in Florida (so thankful for a much longed-for break from the daily grind!), I met some people who have what some might call “dream jobs”. One man leads snorkeling tours in Key Largo for a living. Two young guys, probably only about 20 years old, rent out canoes in one of the remote corners of the Everglades and live there on the grounds, taking nightly fishing trips when the rental office closes. I also heard a radio interview with a woman whose job is to make food look good for movies and advertisements. What would it be like to work in a job like one of these, or in one of your own dream jobs? It would be amazing, of course, in a lot of ways. But, being the kind of person whose mind tends to look for the counterargument, I realized pretty quickly that even these seemingly glamorous jobs could have their drawbacks.
The snorkeling trip guy doesn’t get to snorkel on the trips, he just supervises and instructs. Maybe he gets bored of making the same boat trip and repeating the same instructions day after day. Maybe he gets hot and would be envious of someone like me who works in an air conditioned office. Who knows? Maybe the Everglades guys get lonely out there and miss out on social activities with other people their age. And I know they are concerned about their job security due to the oil spill and other ecological problems the Everglades has. The food artist has to lug around heavy bags of tools and supplies everywhere, she stands over deep fryers for hours at a time, and she probably rarely gets credit for her work. She was the first to acknowledge that her job is not as glamorous as people iamgine.
The conclusion I came to after these thoughts and observations is that it is a matter of perspective. We can choose to focus on the parts of our jobs that we love (or at least like), or we can do the opposite. Sure, your current job might just be a way to pay the bills or a stepping stone to the job you hope to have someday, but if you’re spending half of your waking hours doing it, why not do what you can to make it enjoyable? I challenge you, and myself, to think about what you are thankful for about your job and how your work is meaningful, to you and to others. Who knows, maybe some of us will find our jobs are a little closer to dream jobs than we realized. And either way, focusing on meaning and gratitude will surely make the road to our desired jobs, and life in general, much more enjoyable.