You went to school and got good grades. You behaved yourself. You got into college. You graduated and got a job. You settled down. You bought a house and saved diligently for your retirement…
“Intelligence is sexy” t-shirt?!
Did you ever stop to ask yourself why?
All too often, we get caught up in our short term goals in a way that blinds us to the big picture. The average American will spend nearly 100,000 hours at work over the course of their lifetime. For those who work beyond a nine to five schedule, it will be much more. This is very disheartening when we consider that 80 percent of people do not like their jobs.
Should you take a second look at your career path before you go any farther?
Here are four signs you should reconsider your job situation:
1. You’ve lost sight of your personal goals and aspirations.
Your work should not be the only component of your identity. Where do you want to travel? What athletic feats do you strive to accomplish? Do you have any artistic projects in the works? These are the things that make us who we are. If you are drowning in your job, it’s likely you need to form an identity outside of work. Consider your talents. Ask yourself what makes you come alive. Then, go for it. Train for a marathon. Learn to cook Chinese food. Plan a trip to Cuba. Build a tree house for your kids. Learn Italian. Coach your daughter’s soccer team. Start a garage band. The possibilities are endless.
2. Your work is stopping you from enjoying your life.
Did you know that 64 percent of Americans canceled their vacations this year? Of those who did go, a quarter checked in to work remotely on an hourly basis. Vacations, and other breaks from work, are critical to our mental and emotional health. If you are never truly off the clock, you are missing out on a wonderful chance to enjoy being alive. Travel is one of the great thrills of life. Exploring our world is magical and inspiring. It rejuvenates the spirit. It is also a unique chance to bond with your family. The memories you build together will stay with you long after your job has ended. This brings us to our next point…
3. Your relationships are suffering.
“In workaholic marriages, there’s more marital estrangement. Couples are emotionally distant from each other. There are often thoughts of separation and divorce,” noted Bryan Robinson. This could explain why couples in which one partner spends more time than usual at work (by ten or more hours per week) divorce at twice the average rate. This figure is sad on its own. When we consider that most people work to provide for their family, it becomes tragic. Think hard about what exactly it is you want to give your loved ones. Most likely, they would prefer your presence to your presents.
Is a Terrible Job Really Better Than No Job at All?
4. You only work for the money.
Most people would not choose to work if they did not have bills to pay. However, this shouldn’t be the only thing that ties you to your current job. Does your work give you a sense of purpose? Does it stimulate your mind? Do you like and respect your co-workers? Do you feel invested in your professional goals and accomplishments? Are you proud to work for your company? Do you get a sense of personal satisfaction when you do your job well? If you could not answer “yes” to any of these questions, it might be time to seek out a more rewarding work life.
“Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion,” wrote Simon Sinek. Don’t let your work stress destroy your capacity to seek out passion and joy in your life. Remember what it is you are working for. Then, invest time and energy in the parts of your life that awaken your spirit. Spend time with your loved ones. Pursue a passion project. Live your life in the greatest way possible.