Several years ago I was on a field trip with my son’s class to the local children’s museum. While he was playing with a few of his classmates, one child’s father mentioned how excited he was to have the day off from work to be there. I introduced myself and asked him what he did for a living, and he said he was a corrections officer for the county. Then I asked him, “Do you like it?” He quickly replied that he didn’t enjoy his job at all, so I asked him if he was looking for a new one. He said he wasn’t because he still had twelve years left until he could retire. I then asked him what interested him in the job when he took it and he said, “That is a good question. I honestly don’t remember.”
Sadly this is a narrative I have heard too many times. Here is a person who has spent the past eight years of his life in a job that he hasn’t enjoyed or even remembers why he chose it and yet willing to trudge through the next twelve years primarily to acquire some type of expected pension benefit. Twelve years! According to Wikipedia, the average U.S. born citizen lives to be 78.2 years. Twelve years is approximately 15% of a person’s life. Add in the other eight years that have passed, and this person is choosing to spend more than a quarter of their expected life on earth doing something they don’t enjoy.
Instead I would strongly advise pursuing work that fits your interests and passions first. If you’re excited about what you’re doing, you’re going to be far more successful at it. If you’re successful at it, you’ll gain more satisfaction and quite possibly earn more money at it, too. Each person has unique gifts and abilities. I would highly recommend spending time figuring out what yours are and then find a way to spend more of your time focused on activities that accentuate those strengths.
“Thank God it’s Monday.” — Sam Walton
A favorite motto of Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart, was TGIM, “Thank God it’s Monday.” My hope for each of you is that you can share this feeling, too.