I don't know about you, but finding a job I actually love has been a lot harder than expected. After graduating college, I just assumed my hard-earned degree would get me at least an above-average job that I was excited about.
Well, reality had a different plan in mind for me and instead I found myself unemployed for 4 months. It got to the point where I was applying for jobs at grocery stores and restaurants; certainly not glamorous or what I had planned.
Eventually I found myself employed by a temp agency working for basically nothing. This was certainly not the picture painted in my mind during college. It was also certainly not the path that my bank account was hoping for. Student loans anyone?
I stayed strong though and eventually was able to land my first full-time job. I was over the moon with excitement. Now everything would start to look like that original picture painted in my mind and my career would be on its way.
Nope, again reality had a different plan in mind for me. I found myself uninspired and unmotivated in my job. I quickly out grew it and figured that meant I needed more. I was also super underpaid and made the assumption that if I could just make more money I would be happy.
Cue my next job, after having been at my first one for only 11 months.
I knew job hopping wasn't exactly a good thing, but I figured this was a new start and this would be the one where I would stay for the long haul. I was getting paid much more money, the location was better, and the benefits weren't bad either. Great, I had finally found a job I would love.
Or so I had thought.
It wasn't all sunshine and roses once I got into the actual job. I once again found myself feeling unmotivated, disengaged, and just completely unsure. What the heck, I thought. This shouldn't be happening again. I looked for the right things in the job description.
Wrong, I looked for all the things I thought I was supposed to.
Good salary, good benefits, good commute. Don't get me wrong those things matter, but as I am sure you have learned by now they don't equate to total happiness. These material things really don't amount to much if you don't actually enjoy what you are doing or who you are doing it with.
Needless to say, my friends and family were starting to wonder what was going on. They didn't quite understand how I kept being so unhappy and honestly neither did I. I just knew I couldn't suck it up any longer. One more job hop I told myself and I would make this one count.
So this time I not only found a new job, but also a brand new city to call home. Talk about life changes all at once. I was certain this time though that I would be super happy. I had found a job that I was not only passionate about, but also had good benefits.
Win win, right?
Well, I'll be honest that I am still in that job and for the first time it has been longer than a year; however, I can't exactly say I am completely in love. There are certainly moments I love what I am doing, but I have come to realize that it's time for me to make a big change on my next exit.
No more 9 to 5 and no more working for someone else's mission. This time when I leave I will be becoming my own boss.
You see, I have come to realize something. It wasn't the job itself that was the problem. It wasn't the salary or the benefits. It was the box I felt like I had to fit myself into (figuratively speaking of course, although cubicles were involved).
I was trying unbelievably hard to fit into this box that was never meant for me because society told me I was supposed to.
Get a great job, buy a house, climb the ladder, find great success, and ultimately you will end up happy. Wrong - at least for me.
That wasn't the path I was meant to take and I just had to wake up and realize it. I could have hopped around to 5 more jobs and more than likely all would have had the same end result. Looking for something else and still wondering why I wasn't happy.
I decided to get off that train and jump on the train of what actually made me light up inside in all facets. Sure, it meant taking big risks, huge leaps of faith, and potentially pissing off my family, but it also meant finally being true to myself.
I was terrified to admit to anyone that I was changing directions, starting my own business, and trying something pretty unconventional.
You know what happened though? They all supported me. In fact, they shared with me how they always knew I wasn't meant for a 9 to 5 cookie cutter job (ps. could have told me sooner, family).
I was holding myself back, forcing and suffering to try to be 'normal', when that just isn't who I am. I realized it is okay to change my mind, it is okay to explore new options, and it is okay to want more for my life.
What is not okay is jumping around from job to job hoping the next one will make you magically happy. You have to decide what you truly want, whatever that is, and go after it. And if you don't know yet then work on figuring it out before you keep jumping ship. Take the time to explore, get curious, and figure out what truly lights you up.
Focus on what really matters to you and tune out all of the outside noise. Say screw it to society's rules and pressures. Throw up the finger to the standard 'box' and being normal. Be you and do it to the very best of your ability.
It's time to make a choice. Be an endless wanderer always seeking something else to make you happy or jump ship, swim to shore, and take control of what you really want. Totally up to you, but I know what I would choose.