What do you do when everyone in the world is telling you that you “made it” in the business world, and you just want to scream and run from your job?
Congratulations! You made it. You have a great job that looks AMAZING on paper.
Your bills are paid, the kids are going to fantastic schools, the latest iPhone is in your hands, and you’re easily able to afford all those nice fancy vacations.
You’re on top of your game. Your friends and family are happy for you and maybe even secretly envious.
Yup. You made it!
So why are you so miserable?
The truth is that you hate what you’re doing. You can’t stand your job.
There’s nothing tremendously wrong with it on the outside, but it’s eating you from the inside.
Your soul is yelling at you to change course, and you’re ignoring it.
You’ve been pretending all this time that it’s ok. But it’s not.
Maybe you lie awake at night wondering if you know how to be grateful. And you’re afraid to bring it up to someone because people think you’ve discovered the secret to happiness.
If you tell them you’d rather hide under the covers than go to work, they might think you’re weird… or crazy… or an ungrateful, selfish, lazy, self-entitled ass.
You’re not alone.
A May 2017 Gallop study found that 71% of U.S. city employees were disengaged or unhappy with their jobs. That’s almost 3 out of 4 people.
Think of all the great jobs ‘out there’. Chances are good that behind a cool, coveted, I-would-feel-accomplished-if-I-had-that job, there’s an employee itching to jump ship.
The Myth of Success
The problem is that there’s a common misconception that a job’s only purpose is a way to get a paycheck. If you’re getting paid well AND you happen to get some company prestige and great benefits along the way, then you’ve hit the gumball jackpot.
The better this gets, the more “successful” you are. So, trying to convince others that you want to change direction can be a losing proposition.
When I wanted to get out of my job, I had to fend off questions and dire looks of confusion that made me wonder if I knew how to be happy.
I often got asked “Why?” as in “You have such a good thing going, what’s wrong with you?”
So, What IS Wrong With You?
Short answer: absolutely nothing.
In a typical work day, you spend more than 8 hours of your waking life at work, getting ready for it and driving to and from it. That doesn’t even include the amount of time you spend thinking about it, talking about it, and eating and breathing it.
Work embeds into your psyche. It’s with you when you get home from work. It’s the last thing you think about before heading to bed as you set your alarm. And, it’s the first thing in your head when you get up.
It takes up a huge portion of your life, and your life is so much more than just trying to get a paycheck.
How To Be Happy At Work
For you to be happy with your work life, it must be more than a paycheck and some benefits. It needs to be fulfilling.
Fulfillment is a deeply personal opinion. It’s all about what you love and what you want out of your work and home life. No one else, but you, knows what this means to you.
The more fulfilled you are, the happier you’ll be, and the more successful you’ll feel.
The Battle of Defining Success
These two viewpoints often don’t play well together. They fight each other and eventually one of them wins. Which means that you’ll have to decide which is more important to you.
The “success” of the masses where you look good on paper and people are happy for you and jealous of you because you look like you’ve got it all.
Your own personal “success” definition that brings you fulfillment. You may confuse people and even piss them off with this route. But, it’ll also give you the only real chance at being happy, excited, and motivated about your work.
Personally, I tried the first choice for a good chunk of my life, and it left me feeling empty.
I forced my perfect-on-paper job to be meaningful to me while attempting to escape from it.
At the end of the day, I wondered what the heck I accomplished. Meantime, I had people tell me constantly how lucky I was to work where I did.
I only started to get an inkling of what happiness could be when I dared to go after my version of success.
My challenge to you is to figure out which version you want to hold on to and stick to it. Do you want to make other people happy, or do you want to make you happy? The choice is yours.
Declare it! Let me know in the comments below what choice you’ve made. In my next blog post, we’ll go through how to create your own success definition, so you can figure out what truly makes you happy.