Why You Shouldn’t Feel Guilty About Working in a Job You Don’t Love

Nov 14, 2018 · 5 min read

You’re not particularly excited about your job, but you continue to show up at work, and you have no intention of changing that.

You wonder what’s out there, but the advantages of your current job outweigh the negatives by far.

Now and then, you’ll complain about the things that bother you at work, including the annoying habits of your cubicle neighbors.

You have even doubted yourself because you feel you may not fulfill your unique higher purpose. You don’t hate your job, but you don’t love it, either. It just doesn’t feel right.

But does that mean something is wrong?

Does it mean you are a sellout? Not necessarily.

Let me explain.

You didn’t just get to where you are by chance

Sure, you’ve studied hard. You have a killer resume and you practice for every interview, you may even work with a coach.

Have you ever met a person who’s “stars perfectly aligned for them” and then, suddenly, they didn’t? That person suddenly faced a terrible illness or got laid off?

While you don’t have total control over the good and bad in life, you aren’t entirely helpless. You do have the power of decision.

The power of decision has a small constraint you should consider.


You’re not operating in a vacuum

There’s an entire universe full of people with their own aspirations and dreams out there.

Guess what: their plans don’t align with the rest of the world. If we all had it our way, we would collide.

Well, we do collide. A lot. Selfishness has this kind of effect.

So while you are at your job and doing what you don’t love as much as you would love a German Hefeweizen, you should be proud of the reasons you probably do stay in your job:

You need to feed a family (a.k.a. you are a caring human being who takes responsibility).

You need to pay your bills (a.k.a. you have common sense).

Your job leverages your experience and skillset best (a.k.a. you are reasonable).

You don’t know what else you would want to do right now (a.k.a. you’re not a dreamer).

The latter calls for some investigation.

Your purpose can change

If you’re not happy at your job, at least put it on your agenda to set time aside to explore.

Perhaps your personal commitments require you to stay put and ensure stability for now. If they depend on you, then that may be your purpose to serve for the season you’re in.

That can change.

So, for that time, get prepared.

Set aside some time where you are not doing anything but let your mind go wild. Allow your childhood dreams to resurface. Dig around your passions.

Write down those impressions and thoughts. Return to them regularly and let them grow. Before you know it, you may have an idea for a business or for a job transition you want to go after.

You won’t know until you invest time to explore. And taking a look at your life and what makes you fulfilled is worth it.

Life is a one-time opportunity. Once-in-a-lifetime, literally. You’ve got to squeeze the most out of it.

That may mean to be in a job that sucks because being your best right now may be being there for the people you love. It may mean giving your best so they can be their best.

In that case, give it your all. You’d want the same done for you.

You don’t have to do what you love as a job

Lastly, don’t jump on the illusionary bandwagon that everyone is on these days: “do what you love”.

What you love may lose its flavor when it becomes a job.

A lot of people love working out and go to the gym. Very few actually end up working there and even fewer become successful personal trainers.

The stuff you love is called a hobby when it requires little maintenance on your end other than planning the time and money for it and showing up. That’s how you get a hobby done.

Showing up alone won’t get your job done.

Jobs come with all the other stuff like administrative work and you are required to do it, which has a strange psychological effect on you.

Most of us like to want to do things. When we have to do them, they are obligations and commitments and those have a different taste to them.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t turn your hobby into your profession.

My dad did. He was a private jet pilot all his life and loved it. He inhaled it.

It’s wonderful when that happens, and it could be the same for you. But before you jump to a job transition, consider all the factors that go into it.

There Is More To Work Than Emotions

With more awareness of what led you to the job you have and why you took the position in the first place, you have much more clarity about why you are where you are.

If peeking back at history (“how did I get here?”) revealed that the reasons you got that job no longer qualify as good reasons to stay, then consider the options available to you to move on or make changes to your current position.

Even if you do not particularly like your job, but you value stability, or your family depends on you for the income it provides, you are not outside of God’s will or in a dishonorable position — quite the opposite! To serve others this way may mean that you make temporary sacrifices.

Don’t feel guilty about where you are right now.

Feel guilty about not doing what you can do: you can explore the options, the reasons, and consider what’s next and prepare.

You owe that to the world you live in, because it will need the best of what you were created for.

You owe that to yourself and to God. While you don’t know what tomorrow looks like, you can plan and set things in motion.

Complaining is not an option.

Get to work.

Image credits: Daniel Cheung on Unsplash

This article was originally published on Medium – click to comment


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