Tell me about you?
That’s a question I’ve started asking others, especially in career coaching. Not too surprisingly the response I get always starts with, “I”m a (enter occupation here).” Very rarely does someone start with, “I have an amazing wife and we’ve been blessed with 2 awesome healthy kids……” The answer almost always starts with what they do for a living.
It shouldn’t really surprise anyone that this is the natural response to this question though. Have you ever done the math on how much of your life you’ll spend working? Just using an average 40 hour work week with 2 weeks of vacation you work 2,000 hours each year. From age 25- age 65 working the average 40 hours/week you’ll invest 80,000 hours of your time into a job!
The reality is that you spend more time working than you do spending with your family and friends. So, it’s no wonder we define ourselves by what we do for a living and not who we are.
The problem for many of us comes in that we spend 80,000+ hours of our lives working, doing jobs we don’t enjoy, for companies we don’t believe in, and retire 40 years later broke. When you have this much time invested in being somewhere there is no real way to differentiate yourself from what you do. We like to think that we can separate our work life from our home life and our church life, but the reality is we can’t.
If you’re a sales manager and you have to fire a close friend that didn’t meet their sales numbers for the month, there’s no way you can’t bring it home with you. If you’re in customer service and an upset client yells at you for an hour on the phone, that baggage can’t be dropped off on the front door of your office. No amount of mental energy you can muster will separate your work and home life.
Because of this, we bring this baggage home and our attitudes infect our interaction with our families and friends. We get home and all we can talk about is the negative that happened at work. Your spouse may go months without hearing a positive thing from you about what you do for a living.
We go through this for a few months and then wonder why it’s hard to roll out of bed, hop in the car and make the commute to work every day. There is certainly a better way. Let’s change your thinking about what you do with a simple question.
If you went to where you currently work every day for 30 days and didn’t receive a paycheck would you still feel fulfilled?
Simply put, if you are only working for a paycheck you will never feel satisfied with your job and will constantly bring home baggage, which will have an effect on your relationships. I’m not saying don’t work somewhere that doesn’t pay you what you’re worth. I’m saying that you deserve to spend 80,000 hours at a place that fits you. Yes, every job is going to have rough or bad days. The higher purpose that you’re called to limits those rough days though and you’ll feel fulfilled.
Here are 3 things you can do to help you enjoy your job, and in turn enjoy your family more:
- If you have a commute that’s longer than 30 minutes, find a way to shorten your commute. – If it takes you 30+minutes to get to the office every day, that’s 20 hours each month you could be spending with your family instead of sitting in a car listening to the radio.
- If money didn’t matter, what would you do with your 80,000 working hours? – Are you passionate enough about your current job to invest the next 80,000 hours of your life to it. Get yourself in a financial position so you can seek after something where you’ll be fulfilled.
- Become radically exceptional at your current job. – I know you were probably hoping I’d say to quit. The truth is, we’re not called to perfection but we’re certainly called to be exceptional at everything we do. By devoting yourself entirely to your current job, you are showing all of those you interact with that you are a devoted and hard worker. That can only open up doors for you in the future.
Question to ask yourself: If money didn’t matter to you, what job exists or needs to be created would you want to do? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.