Notice that the name of this is Part 3 – Your Job. Not Your Calling. Not Your Career. Your Job. For some, the idea of what you love to do most in the world and the way you pay the bills overlap. Not for everyone though. That being said, there is a major difference between dreading going to work each day and going to a job that allows you to live the life you want.
Living a creative and fulfilling life is very difficult to do if your job sucks the life out of you. Before we go on, let me be very clear – I am not encouraging you to to quit your job and become an artist or to pursue one of your hobbies on a professional level. That is not for everyone. But, there is definitely a job out there for you that doesn’t leave you drained, that you don’t dread going to, that can leave you much happier than you currently are.
Think about how much time you spend at your job. Other than sleeping, it’s the biggest chunk of your day. So if your job makes you miserable, then by default you are miserable for a huge chunk of your life. Is that anyway to live? Absolutely not.
So what can you do? I don’t recommend going into work tomorrow and quitting. But, no longer just accept that it is your job and “that is the way it has to be.” Start today to figure out would you rather be doing. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What do I not like about my current job?
- What do I like/hate about it?
- Is there some aspect of it that I do find fulfilling?
If you already know that there is nothing about it that you like, what do you need to do in order to find a new job – a job that better suits you? Do you need to learn a new skill? Do you need to network? Do you need to get over the fear and get to know yourself better and figure out what you really want?
Take some time to reflect and answer those questions.
Whatever it is, your job needs to be something that you do not dread going to, that you don’t hate. I would love to say that you should love what you do, but not everybody does and that is just fine.
Or, more realistically, most people do not love every aspect of their job. Chances are that parts of your job fulfills you creatively and other parts just suck. Most people do not love having their time wasted by meetings, but that is an aspect of most of our jobs. Despite having to attend pointless meetings, maybe there is another part of your day you really enjoy. Or, maybe, you really don’t love what you do, but you love the people you work with and enjoy spending time with them everyday.
There are a variety of ways that your job can fulfill you, regardless of what it is, finding a job that you don’t hate (maybe even like/love) is definitely a large component of living a creative life.
Don’t get stuck on the idea of typical traditional jobs. Now, I know this sounds ridiculous coming from me – I am a middle school history teacher – it doesn’t get much more traditional than that. For a great example of a less traditional route, I like to think of my sister Becky. She went to college, got her degree in political science and I think at one point thought about becoming a politician or lawyer. Twelve years after graduating college and she has done nothing even remotely close to those professions. She has worked (sorry Becky if I get any of this wrong) at a health food store, as a special aide in a high school, a farm hand, at hotels (or something similar) in a variety of manners such as housecleaning, hostess at a restaurant, maintenance, etc. – to just name a few. She is definitely the definition of designing your own creative path. She is not held back by any notions of how someone is supposed to live their life or what jobs they are supposed to have. It might not work for anyone else.
For many (if not most) of these jobs, I would safely wager that Becky has not loved them, maybe didn’t even like them at all, but they allowed her to live, probably for free, in a ridiculously beautiful part of the world and allowed her access to opportunities she might not otherwise have. She put in her time during the work day knowing that it provided her with things that she have not have been able to provide for herself on her own. There is always a trade-off. But, if you are putting in time at job that you hate and not getting anything in return, then what is the point?
A trade-off might be in the forms of flexible hours or in a hefty paycheck. Each individual job has a particular set of benefits. It is up to you to decide if the benefits of your job outweigh the costs.
Why then, does it matter? How does your job affect your creativity even if one has nothing to do with each other?
Think about how you feel when you have a good day. You get home from work. You are energized and excited to go do something – have fun, workout, meet up with friends, take care of your kids, do something for yourself, etc.
Now, think about the opposite. How do you feel when you have a bad day? Low energy, don’t feel like doing anything, even cooking dinner can seem like too much work. If you put yourself in this situation day after day, there is no way you are going to make time to do things that you love, such as practicing your creativity.
So the question really becomes, what are your priorities/goal for your life? For your happiness? Is your job helping you reach your goals, or is it preventing you from reaching them? If your job is preventing you from living the life you want, start today to make a change.