You don't have to love your job today

Written by Jenny Blake Yep, I said it. Permission granted! You do not have to love your job today.

It's Friday, the sun is shining, and you just *might* be experiencing a little summer cabin fever, staring wistfully out the window wishing you could be somewhere else. "If only these stupid job shackles weren't tying me down, I could be happy! And free! And FULFILLED!"

I get it. The more awareness we build, the more ambition we have, the more the digital world reshapes our entire economy, the easier it becomes to see the gaps in where we are now and where we want to be.

The mistake is in believing that has to happen RIGHTTHISMINUTE. Or that where you are now isn't serving a very important purpose.

With the exception of a job that is making you physically ill or highly distressed because you KNOW it's time to leave, even the most mediocre jobs can provide value.

Consider these 5 questions:

  • Are you learning at least one new skill? Communication, sales, ninja paper filing, the art of dealing with a fire-breathing-dragon manager?
  • Is it paying your bills? Therefore buying you some comfort and time for you to contemplate what really rings your bells?
  • Are you meeting interesting people? Are you building relationships with co-workers, managers, and people in other parts of the company?
  • Did it provide a catalyst for other big changes or improvements in your life? Such as a big move, or even learning how to budget and save money?
  • Are you giving it your best, regardless of how long you plan to stay? As my dad describes in the Zorba essay of his book, "If work takes your precious time, it is worth enthusiastic effort."

Think of your career like a smart phone, not a ladder

I've given my keynote speech, Career in the Age of the App, almost a dozen times this year — at conferences, universities and even companies like Google and KPMG. I watch as people who are sitting tensely in their chairs relax every time I tell them, "It's okay if you don't feel 100% fulfilled by your work."

What?! It's okay not to PURSUE YOUR PASSION 24/7?! 

Yes! How boring would life be if we knew exactly what we wanted at all times and could make it happen in a flash? Very. Each of our hero's journeys are an evolution, and one that takes a lifetime. So let's ease up on ourselves if we aren't exactly on target just yet.

Just as we learn in self-help books that our romantic partner cannot MAKE us happy (oh wait, I'm not supposed to admit to having read those!), neither can your employer. It is highly unlikely, even if you work for yourself, that you will wake up on the "I LOVE MY JOB!" side of the bed every single day.

Your education and your upbringing are your "out of the box" phone -- now it's up to you to download apps for all the skills, experiences, education, interests, and even side hustles that will help round-out your career and help you feel more fulfilled.

Can you break your current job into component parts to see what apps you are currently "downloading?" That, along with the questions above, will help alleviate a lot of the stress that comes from feeling like you're not quite in the right place (yet).

There is no phone competition about who has better apps; it's really a question of whether your current set works for you, and if not, what you want to do about it.

Hands-On Career Dreaming, Scheming + Strategy Workshop

I care deeply about this topic and because I realize that most of you don't have access to the various places I am hired to speak, I'm going to lead a two-hour online workshop on September 11 at 7pm ET.

In this workshop I will walk you through exactly how to think about your career in a more dynamic, fluid way — and provide plenty of hands-on exercises for you to figure out what works best for you. You'll create a strategy for exactly how to move forward in a way that best supports your short AND long-term career growth and happiness.

By the end of the session you will learn:

  • How to set an "app strategy" by identifying what you are most interested in moving forward
  • How to make progress with a giant goal even when you can’t see the entire path at the outset
  • How to build a strong support network to hold you accountable and keep you motivated
  • How to survive “the dip” — even when all you want to do is quit
  • How to listen to your gut and distinguish between “shoulds” versus “zone of genius” next steps
  • How to clear clutter and re-charge so that you don't crash
  • A clear plan for what exact action/s are required once the workshop ends

We'll also do a short round of Q&A at the end of the call where you can ask me anything. Seriously, anything. I'm an open book: numbers, fears, solopreneurship, insecurities, and even how to not sweat, shake or stutter like a maniac when you're about to give a big speech. I'm all yours :)

Enroll here for just $25 — I look forward to working with those of you who sign-up!

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As many of you already know, I launched a new website under my own name in June that focuses on how to thrive at the intersection of mind, body and business through the lens of soloprenuership. If you're not already subscribed, sign-up here!

A few recent posts in case you missed them:

I'd love to hear from you in the comments:  What are your best strategies for not falling into "grass is greener" syndrome at work? What apps are you most excited about pursuing next?