I’m confident I’ve found the secret to avoiding job regret.
I never plan on getting a job.
I can honestly say that I damn near hated every “job” I’ve ever had. When you take a job you’re agreeing to work for an agreed upon amount of money. You’re telling someone else how much it would cost them to get you to do a particular set of tasks or work.
This is where we go wrong.
Most of us end up taking jobs and confusing it with work. When someone asks you where you’re off to you most likely say work. Or if someone asks you to do something and you can’t it usually gets blamed on work. Even as a kid growing up I bet your parents dropped this bomb on you every so often.
“Yeah it’s hard, that’s why it’s called work.”
Sort of insinuating that all work has to be hard, difficult, or un-enjoyable. Even school has done it to us by using the term homeWORK. When I think of homework I think of something I don’t really want to do and lacks any joy.
When it comes to work most of us are sitting behind the eight ball. It’s been instilled in us at an early age – a time in our life when we are influenced the most – that work should be hard, difficult, and often unenjoyable.
Here is a precise definition of work:
- Noun: Activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result.
- Verb: Be engaged in physical or mental activity in order to achieve a purpose or result.
A JOB. A CAREER. A CALLING
Harvard Positive psychologist Tal Ben Sharar tells us in his book Happier that people experience their work in one of three ways:
- As a job: A chore done so you can pay your bills
- As a career: Motivated by money, prestige, and advancement
- As a calling: A calling is work done as an end in and of itself.
I feel pretty blessed. For the most part, I enjoy what I do every day. I consider it my calling but if we’re being 100% honest with each other there are a million other things I’d rather be doing.
Things I’d rather do:
- Rock climb
- Wine tasting
- Ride my motorcycle down PCH
- Learn a new language
- Bungee jump
- Ride in a hot air balloon
- Have a cup of coffee with a good friend and enjoy a dope conversation
I’ll spare you the million other things I’d rather do. The point is I actually enjoy what I do but I’d rather be doing other things. Even when you are completely in love with work that you do there are probably a host of other activities that you’d rather be participating in.
But when you are participating in work that you find meaningful, that contributes to your well-being, and serves a purpose greater than the self it feels less like a chore and more like an experience.
YOUR PERCEPTION OF TIME MAY FACTOR INTO CAREER REGRET
A few weeks ago I wrote a post for Lifehack titled “A new way to create a bucket list.” In that article I discussed some of the biggest regrets of the dying. One of them was that most wished they had not worked so hard.
Here’s a little snippet from that write-up:
I wish I hadn’t worked so hard. Most of those that mentioned this as a regret based it on their desire to have spent more time with their kids, significant others, and friends. However, this is just a matter of priorities as we all have the same 24 hours to use in a day.
Time influences so many of the most important decisions you will ever make in your entire life. Just think of how often you’ve heard:
- I just don’t have enough time.
- It’s about time you started settling down.
- Isn’t it about time you got serious?
- By the time I’m _____ years old, I want to be ______.
The most successful people in the world today treat their time like currency. It’s their most valuable resource, prioritized over money, sex, and all things under the sun.
Here are three ways you can start spending your time more wisely.
1. Creating specific routines: You can perform day in and day it is a great way to create positive energy management. These can be as simple as getting up at the same to time every day, starting your day with a certain breakfast or exercise routine, or taking a 50/10 break where you take 10 minutes to reset for every 50 minutes of work.
2. Take time to plan your week: I like Sundays to set up what it is I plan to accomplish. I typically dedicate days for certain tasks like exercise, cooking, research, writing, laundry, fun, or whatever else I have going on. I also schedule daily activities like email, phone, meetings, etc. for specific times each day. For example, I try to not check email until 7PM everyday.
3. Watch out for bad mojo. Some people you spend time with can be energy zappers. You know, those Negative Nancy’s who are always shooting down ideas, in a bad mood, or create a toxic environment. Run a quick evaluation of friends and family, which ones contribute to more energy, success, and happiness for you and which ones don’t?
TOP 6 REGRETS AND HOW CAREER REGRET FITS IN
After writing this article I was curious to find any information going into more detail about regret and specifically career regret. I came to find that the six biggest regrets the majority of us have in life are:
When I looked more into career regret what I found was research conducted by Daniel Gulati over at the Harvard Business Review.
In that article Mr. Gulati outlines the top 5 career regrets:
- Wish I had not taken the job for the money: One investment banker, “I dream of quitting every day, but I have too many commitments.” Another consultant said, “I’d love to leave the stress behind, but I don’t think I’d be good at anything else.”
- Wish I would have quit earlier: Those that did quit their jobs to pursue a passion wished they would have done so much earlier. One gentlemen surveyed had this to say; “Those years could have been spent working on problems that mattered to me. You can’t ever get those years back.”
- Wish I had the confidence to start my own business: Many desire the opportunity to have more control over their lives and seek to do so through starting their own business. But as this study shows only 15% of people belief they have what it takes to do so.
- Wish I had acted on career hunches: Embracing fears and uncertainty in favor of taking a risk to what could be a more rewarding and enjoyable experience.
- Wish I had spent my time at school more productively: In to much of a rush to just finish and take the first good paying job available in the “real world,” getting married, and taking on a mortgage instead of parlaying their school work into a rewarding first step into the workforce.
Research shows us that the majority of us regret the things we didn’t do versus the things we did do. So not starting that side hustle or taking a risk to start your own business are more likely to get you all hot and bothered.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU CAN’T QUIT YOUR JOB
Some of you might not have the opportunity to just up and leave a job that you dissatisfied with. Maybe you have family obligations, financial debt to take care of, or other responsibilities that just don’t make it that easy for you to just up and leave your current situation. What the heck can you do to help remedy the situation and make the most of your current circumstances?
1. It’s been shown that happiness leads more to job satisfaction than does job satisfaction to your happiness.
I can personally attest to this. I was working a job I had no passion for and I was letting the emotions I felt while there consume other areas of my life like personal relationships, leisure time, and motivation to experience new things.
Essentially I was always taking my job home with me. I wasn’t spending time with friends, having adventures, or learning and experiencing new things. If you’re having a rough time finding happiness in your current position make sure you are spending your time outside that environment engaged in activities and with people who promote happiness, excitement, and joy in your life. Spend more time doing those things you love!
2. Find value in what you are currently doing.
Does the job you are doing right afford you any opportunities to work on that side project? At my previous job I had a lot of down time that allowed me to research and write articles for Limitless365. I was getting paid to work on my passion.
What are some other ways your current job adds value to your life? Are there any skills you are learning or could learn that provide you with some valuable resources down the road?
3. Network your ass off and get busy around the water cooler:
We all want to be liked, feel cool, smart, etc… get to know your coworkers, spend time asking them questions, listening, and generally caring about what’s going on in there world. You may find that you have some common interests and can turn those commonalities into strong friendships.
If you’re having a tough time relating to or finding common ground with any of your coworkers look to see if they have any hobbies, interests, or skills that you could get involved in. If there is a particular talent that someone has that you are interested in ask for their help in learning more about it.
You never know what will come from these connections, maybe they know someone working in a field similar to your passions and can hook you up. Get to networking and put a little effort into building stronger relationships at your current paycheck provider 🙂
4. Track your development.
Progress = motivation – No one can attest to this more than my man Ami. He was lacking a little mojo until we took a look at his 6 month before and after photos. The changes and progress he saw was all the motivation he needed to know that what he was doing was worth all the effort.
Track your progress at work by evaluating accomplishments daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly. Keep a serious account of big milestones, project success, or other hurdles you have over come.
WANT TO LOVE WHAT YOU DO?
Doing what you love is complicated
Finding your calling and pursuing your passions is tough. You will struggle and because there is a struggle involved the majority of people give up but it is precisely that struggle that makes the journey and the accomplishment so much more rewarding. The people we admire most in this world are those that have overcome tragedy, heartache, discomfort, or defied the odds. It’s the Michael Jordan’s of the world, the Walt Disney’s, The Richard Branson’s, and the Ann Franks that many of us look to as sources of inspiration.
Why not you? Why don’t you start being one of those sources for someone else.
Taking a job you hate, are bored with, or that allows you to have a higher standard of living is not noble. You’re setting precedence for those closest to you and especially your children that the work you do is boring, un-enjoyable, and is only a means to an end. Would you rather have an expensive house or love your work?
A BIG IDEA
1. Don’t worry about the opinions of others especially if you are hunting for prestige. If you do anything well enough it becomes prestigious.
2. We absorb ideas of success from other sources like the television, ads, magazine, and others opinions. Wouldn’t it be terrible to think you know what you want and then come to find that’s actually what someone else wants?
3. The more money you feel you need the more bullshit you’ll put up with. Get your spending straight, save more than you spend and make sure the things you spend on are experiences and not possessions as it has been shown countless times it is experiences that translate to happiness and a meaningful life.
4. Seek approval from one: YOU!
5. What you choose to do for work is going to take up a large portion of your life. It just makes sense to do something you enjoy. Remember that you always have a choice.
GET CLEAR ON YOUR VALUES
What are values?
One of my favorite bloggers, authors, and general life enthusiasts is Mark Manson. He defines your values as “Ideals and standards in which you live by.” I can’t really argue with that definition, it’s simple, to the point, and crystal clear.
Take a minute to ponder this… Are you meeting the needs of yourself? I’m all for meeting the needs of others but In my opinion it’s just not possible to entirely meet the needs of others if you’re not even coming close to meeting the needs of yourself. You have to do you first!
Would you allow someone to get away with lying to you, cheating on you, treating you like shit, not valuing your opinion, not giving you the time of day, ignoring your input, or taking advantage of you?
- You value yourself right?
- You have values in you relationships right?
- You hold values in the way you conduct yourself right?
Why not get clear on your professional values? What do you want out of your work, career, or calling?
Get busy living today and get clear on those things. What is important to you in the work that you do?