Entering the workforce is a rite of passage everyone goes through so you can imagine how important it is. Add on the fact that we spend most of our waking hours at the office working, so yups, it’s safe to say that work plays a huge part in our lives.
Which is why for many of us, work defines us. And it can dictate whether you are happy (or not) in life. But is this the right way to go? Should your work really be your be all and end all?
Not quite. While you may have heard that your job is your life, at the end of the day, it shouldn’t be just about what you do. We often feel like a failure in life if we don’t do well at the office. Or we are often comparing ourselves to our friends and their careers for a gauge on how we are doing in life.
If this is you, stop right there. Yes, your job is important, and yes doing well can be a huge ego booster. You should feel empowered when you get a promotion and you should feel like you’ve achieved something huge when ace that project.
But keep in mind this very important message: Your work is not everything. Instead, there should be a healthy balance between work and life.
Let’s take a look at what your job shouldn’t be… and what it should be ideally.
YOUR JOB SHOULDN’T BE…
#1 YOUR IDENTITY Sure you’re proud you’re the new brand manager for your favourite brand and you can’t stop telling others about it. By all means, feel good about what you do 9-to-5. You did work hard to get there. But what will happen if that role is taken away from you? Will you suddenly find yourself without an identity?
Let me share a personal experience with you: Before going freelance, I was an editor for a really popular magazine. My friends and family were really proud of me, and that’s how they would introduce me. I soon became known as that friend (or daughter) who is the boss for that magazine. And then I quit. Those closest to me were a little disappointed and didn’t get a rush anymore from introducing me. In fact, they still introduced me as the ex-editor! It made me a little sad and lost at first because that was the label I carried around for the longest time. So what was I then? Fortunately over time, I got over that lost (and got busy with freelancing) that I realised, it didn’t really matter so long as I was happy doing what I was.
#2 JUST ABOUT A PAYCHECK
True, getting paid for what we do is important. Who wants to work for free, right? But if that’s all that your job means to you, then it’s time for a reflection. If you’re working just for the money, what happens if that money is taken away or when it becomes not enough? Will your job no longer be satisfying? Maybe it’s time to dig deeper to find the other reasons why you’re doing what you do.
#3 DRAIN YOUR ENERGY – PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY
Do you feel like all you do is work, work, work and nothing else? If you’re forgoing your favourite activities or even just family dinners because of work, then you need to think about how much you’re sacrificing for work. Yes, some days work can be demanding and will require you to put in the extra hours but if this is you every single day and you come home zapped of energy, then it’s time to reconsider if that job is really what you want to do.
WHAT YOUR JOB SHOULD BE!
#1 CHALLENGES YOU TO GROW Look for a role that will make you better and allow you to work harder. Whether it is new assignments or being entrusted with doing things on your own, your job should give you ample opportunities to discover yourself as an individual and to grow beyond your current skill set so you get better at it.
#2 FIT YOUR PERSONALITY
If you feel like you’re a completely different person at work than you usually are, then maybe that role is not right for you. Because having to pretend to be someone you’re not can be mentally exhausting. Instead, your job should fit your personality. If you like meeting people, the right job should give you that opportunity to do that. If you rather work behind the scene, you’d be happier doing something like that.
#3 MAKE YOU HAPPY!
This goes without saying! You should enjoy the office you are working it, get along with your colleagues, and have a friendly rapport with your boss. You should wake up every morning eager to go to work and know that you have people who support you in your career and are able to work together to do the best work.
Tell us what you think a job shouldn’t be and what it should be on Twitter @graduan
Photo by Magnet.me on Unsplash