Clearly we have reached the questioning phase of my writing year, the period of time in which I write no answers only weird questions about how others feel about art and things like that.
I have been sitting on this blog post for the last few days because, honestly, I was a little worried about posting it and having someone misinterpret what I meant by it. Then, while I was brushing my teeth, I realized that if I have to sensor myself and my thoughts then I don’t like my job and therefore it is pointless to just sit on my thoughts and let them fester. So here it is; do you have to like your job?
(Let me be really clear here. This is not a blog about whether or not I like my job. This is a blog about whether or not you have to like your job.)
About two weeks ago my boss asked me to step into her office to talk with her for a minute. When we got into her office she asked me, “do you like your job?” Honestly I had never actually thought about it in black and white terms like that. Do I like my job? Well I like the people I work with (especially my boss, she seems to really care about what she is doing and the people working under her). I also don’t hate coming into work every day and don’t really hate my life when I am there (I do hate getting up at six in the morning). So I answered yes then explained that it wasn’t necessarily what I want to do forever but that over all I liked my job (I don’t always communicate so well when I’m speaking so it might not have sounded quite so clear as that). For most people that would be the end of it but I am not most people so the question echoed in my ears for hours, days, after that.
Do I like my job? Every time I thought about it I said yes then immediately wondered “well, do I have to?” Do I have to like my job? Does anyone have to like their job in order to be happy in their job? Do you have to like your job in order to be happy in your life?
I think most people would say yes. You spend a lot of time at work. If you are working full time that is at least forty hours of your week, probably more. That’s forty out of 168 hours in a week. Roughly 23% of your time. That is more time than you spend doing anything else (except maybe sleeping). More time than you spend with your family or friends and definitely more time than you spend doing anything else that you claim to love. Time being a precious commodity. If you are going to spend that much of your time doing something it really should be something that you actually do love.
But I’m going to say that you don’t have to like your job to live a happy life or even be good at your job (although, what is not to like about being good at something?).
In all honesty 23% actually isn’t that much at all. You still have 77% of your time available. More importantly than time I believe that what you do to earn money is not what defines you as a human being. Most people don’t do what they are passionate about or “follow their dream” for work. I think it is okay to do something outside of your passion to earn money, especially if you are doing what you are passionate about on the side.
I am a writer and a reader. I am passionate about the written world (I was going to change that back to word but then I decided I liked it as written world). Unfortunately I live in a world that simply refuses to hand out jobs to people in which they get to just sit in coffee shops and read or write all day. That is not what I get to do. I have bills to pay and a powerful need to eat, as Captain Mal Reynolds would say.
The fact that I am working in a school does not take away from that passion. I spend a lot of my free time (most of my free time actually) doing just that, reading and writing. I refuse to sacrifice who I am and what I am passionate about for the sake of a job but I don’t have to. I shouldn’t have to.
So here is my answer, I don’t think you should have to like your job but you”re fortunate if you do. What you really need is to know what you are passionate about and find a way to do that even if you are working a job that you may or may not like and you need to know that what you are passionate about is more important that earning a paycheck. There will always be another crummy job (somewhere).