We all know job should be more than a way to earn a dollar. My LinkedIn feed is full of the likes of Bill Gates, Tim Cook and Elon Musk telling me how I should strive to make my job my life’s calling. After all, as Steve Jobs used to say – given how many hours you spend at work, shouldn’t you make it something you love! Very true. I believe everyone deserves to do the job they enjoy. As a Veterinarian, I look for personal job satisfaction to make my day worth it. In fact, I can honestly say that if I have to work for a living, I would rather do this job than any other. But herein lies the key point – a job you enjoy is not the same as life’s ultimate purpose. In fact, I believe that if you strive to find a job which defines you fulfilment in life, you are setting yourself for failure and seeking a lifestyle which is unhealthy and unbalanced. And here is why:
It’s not always up
Every mistake is an opportunity to grow. I know this because I read it in all of those inspirational Facebook posts. But do you think that’s what Elon Musk says to himself when he gets that phone call about how his multi million dollar spaceship just blew up in a big fire ball? No he doesn’t. He say ‘Oh sh..’ just like you and I do, when that big project falls apart with nothing to show for it. Why? Because he is human. He just doesn’t Tweet about it. We all want our occupation to be a series of steps forward. But sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes it feel like standing still or going backwards. Maybe for years at a time. And if you think that’s failure looks like, then you are going to feel like a failure yourself. But that isn’t so – you are still working, doing your best, putting food on the table. I call that perseverance.
It’s not much fun when you are accountable
I love gardening. It makes me happy when my tomatoes start turning red and my little green onion shoots start poking through the ground. But if the tomatoes don’t turn red – they get eaten by bugs or something, it will give me no grief other than a moment of disappointment. But if I decided to do gardening as a day job, it would be different. I would be accountable to my employer and my customers. I would be genuinely worried about the outcome of my labours.
A hobby is fun and relaxing, but don’t imagine that turning it into a job will be like playing all day long. It’s much less fun when you have more to lose.
It gets less exciting when you do it all the time
We all want our jobs to be stimulating and fun. A lot of people say that as a Veterinarian, my job is full of the unexpected, and it is. But I still have to do the same things over and over again day in day out. If I was looking for novelty all the time, I would probably quit by now and became a secret agent or a race car driver. But then I hear, driving a race car round and round the track gets pretty boring too. And I haven’t met any secret agents to ask them about their job.
The bottom line is this – if you expect your job to become your life’s guiding purpose, you are probably looking for something that doesn’t exist and setting yourself up for a disappointment. Most jobs will sometimes leave you disappointed, unstimulated and failing to reach your own expectations. And that is ok because it’s just part of life. You are still earning your wages and coming to work every day. That is a kind of achievement too.