If You Hate Work, It’s Time For Change.By Andy Vargo How do you feel when you wake up in the morning knowing it’s time to head to the job site? Do you have that feeling of dread and anxiety over not wanting to start the workday? Or are you excited to start checking things off your list? It seems we naturally want to categorize anything related to work as negative. As a whole, we condition ourselves to categorize anything related to work as a bad thing. But have you ever had work be maybe not so bad, maybe even a good feeling? Think about the things you have taken on in life, at your job or even projects on which you have put hours in at home. Can you think of a time when you have labored away for hours without dreading the amount of time and energy you have had to put in? These times are bound to occur for all of us at some point. Without realizing it, we put aside the burden of the amount of work required to get to our goal because the reward we are working towards is greater than the effort we need to put in. We can spend long strenuous days and even pull all-nighters slaving away, yet the burden of the work seems lighter than a regular shift on the day job.
In The ZoneWhen we get in this zone, when the labor no longer seems to matter, we are working on what we need to be pursuing in our lives. This is when you know you have found your passion: When the reward far outweighs the work it takes to get there. That thing you have the energy to do, even when you are dead tired, that doesn’t seem so taxing at the end of the day: that is what you are meant to be focusing on. This can come to each of us in many different forms. For some of us, we may find a career that provides this answer. For others, we may not have found how to make a living in this zone, yet we may have hobbies and interests that are important enough that the work we have to put in during the day is well worth the life it allows us to lead while we are off the clock. When you hear the word work, what feelings and emotions come to mind? I believe in general we have conditioned ourselves to a polarizing definition of this word. That in order for something to be work, it must be drudgery, it must be strenuous and painful. Work, therefore, must always be bad.
The Real ProblemThe problem with this understanding of work is that we create an unrealistic expectation of rewards. When work is defined as bad and rewards are defined as good, we cannot see the connection between hard work leading to good rewards. We lose the capacity to draw the line from the hard work needed to achieve the rewards we so desperately desire in life. This alone is why so many people give up on their dreams. It took too much hard work and that was unexpected. The dream to own a restaurant turned into hours in the kitchen covering shifts when employees called out. The dream to tour as a musician was drowned in the battle to get from gig to gig while you do what you can to make a buck as you try to get by. The work takes over and the dream is forgotten. Most of us write of these situations the dream dying off simply because it turned into work. The artist loved to paint until it became a job. How often have you heard this story? How many times have you lived this story? The mistake is not that we let our dreams slide into becoming work. The issue is that we never understood that work can be a good thing in the first place. We never allowed work to be just a part of the process of attaining our reward. Good things take hard work. Getting discouraged and quitting just because the course contains a few obstacles, or because the days get longer than expected, is not only for the weak. It is for those who lack the understanding of the process.
How To Live Your DreamIf you want to live your dream, learn to view work as an integral part of creating it. We can not climb a mountain without losing our breath along the way, without getting some blisters on our feet, and without breaking a sweat as we ascend. Yet we still want to enjoy the view at the summit. It is all part of the journey. The work is part of the reward. So if work really does not feel good to you, if you dread the mornings that you have to get on the road to the job, could it be that you are simply doing the wrong work? You see, the reward is what makes it worth doing the work for. If the work is outweighing the reward something is wrong. This is where things are out of balance for you. In this case, you do need to make a change, quickly! But it may not be the change you are thinking. The easy conclusion to jump to is that we must quit our jobs in order to get our work and reward system in line. However, there are a couple of ways to fix this solution.
Change Your ThinkingThe first is what most people jump to: If you are not happy at work, then a career change must be made. Well, this may be the case, but not without considering first if we truly understand the rewards from our current situation. We need to ask ourselves first if we have given our ‘work’ fair credit for all of the rewards it is currently providing for us. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Outside of my work hours, do I have the time and energy to enjoy the hobbies and interests I love?
- Is my current job providing for my home, transportation and food needs adequately?
- Is the reward I seek most a function of my career or my time off the clock?
- If I made a career change, what factors would be different in my new work/reward system?