Last week, my brother emailed me this picture:
The sad part is that he hit the nail on the head. Lately, I've let myself slip into self pity and make somewhat serious remarks about the above.
It's hard to write about this topic and not seem ungrateful. Really, I am fortunate and proud to be employed, especially in my field of study out of college. Yet as much as I try to convince myself that I can like my job, I just--well--can't.
It's not college-to-workplace transition pains. I'm no stranger to early mornings and I expect work to be tough sometimes. It's something more deeply rooted, as if I've set out down the wrong path and if I don't make a change soon I'll get in too deep to make a safe detour.
When I try to explain this to other people, I inevitably get tidbits of advice. They all are well-intended, I am sure, but rarely does one actually seem applicable. Here are my chronicles of the worst:
Just do what you love : Nope, not buying it. I love to color, but I can't make a living doing the circle method or staying inside the lines. More likely than not, doing only what you love is not going to pay your bills. Make it better: Just do what you're exceptionally good at. I'm with Marcus Buckingham on this idea 100%. It just makes so much more...sense...that channeling your strengths rather than your "likes or loves" will turn you into a dynamo.
You can be whatever you want to be: Again, this is a hard sell. This implies both the impossible and instant gratification. The impossible being that I want to be the next Nora Jones but I break glass when I sing. Also, being "whatever I want to be" requires time & monetary investments, additional education, and a stroke of luck. Yep, maybe someday I'd get there but it's not going to happen overnight. Make it better: Given time & taking your God-given talents into account, you can become the best possible version of yourself.
Just scale back on your work hours: ...because I wake up in the morning pumped for OT? The thing is, working a ton of hours wouldn't be the issue if I didn't have a lingering guilt for missing out on quality time with the people that matter. Make it better: Search for a job that allows you to strike the work/life balance that fits your situation. If you don't have family nearby or a significant other, working 80 hours a week might be your "sweet spot"; for others, it may not be. My point is that the # hours shouldn't be the issue. If you can find a balance where neither work nor home feels consistently cheated, who cares how many hours you work?
Get an accounting degree: I know that this one was well intentioned, and that the giver was just looking out for my future job security. Here's the thing, though: even if I got an accounting degree and was "set for life", it would still take me 4 times as long as the average CPA to arrive at the same (though correct) answer. Also, I'd make great personal sacrifices just to stay at a mediocre performance level. Make it better: Sorry, this piece of advice is a loser. And will continue to be a loser.