Persevering in a job you don’t enjoy?

by Melinda Livingstone, Founder of IncomeConnection, Sharing Economy Speaker and Guide

 Our options are vast and boundless if we open our eyes to them. The author at Zion National Park, Utah.

Our options are vast and boundless if we open our eyes to them. The author at Zion National Park, Utah.

 

Nostalgic for the past?

An indicator that you are the wrong place is when you think the peak of your career is behind you. Or your workplace is no longer what it used to be.

When we hanker for the past, it is because we have lost our vision for the future.

Sometimes we persevere in job for the wrong reasons. We stick it out until a retirement date, or we feel that we need the income, security or status that the job provides. 

What if, instead of thinking our options are limited, we instead saw our possibilities as abundant?

One approach is to see the world through the eyes of our 25-ish year old self. Optimistic and expectant about the future.

An even better version of our 25-year old self.

Better, because we are now wiser due to experience. More capable and with social networks that we have developed over the years. If we see ourselves with all this expertise and resource, then the possibilities we imagine for our futures are boundless and we can dare to dream big.  

Having hope in the future and meaningful purpose is key to a long and healthy life. People from Okinawa, Japan, one of the longest-living populations in the world, call this purpose ‘ikigai’‘The reason for which you wake up in the morning’¹.   

So instead of grinning and bearing with a job we don’t enjoy, what might we do instead? Here are some thoughts. 

  • Meet with a career counsellor about a career change or read books about career change such as Rethink Your Career by Joanna Maxwell or What Colour is Your Parachute by Richard N. Bolles.
  • Explore if work could be shifted to part time and combined with something that provides more meaning such as volunteer work, hobbies, community engagement, increased family time or learning.
  • Work as a consultant. Platforms such as Expert 360 and Catalant can provide a simple way to test this idea out.
  • Become a micro entrepreneur via the 80 plus options offered by the on-demand sharing economy.
  • Start a business. Perhaps fulfilling an unmet customer need related to your current work or turning a hobby or passion into a business.
  • Consider an Encore Career.
  • Build up a portfolio combination of these options.

Even if we choose to stay in our grin-and-bear job, having our ‘dream plan’ in our back pocket helps us to feel more empowered in the here-and-now. Plus we have the advantage of having a plan B if our circumstances at work change.

What about the money?

Perhaps we don’t need as much as we think. We may be consoling ourselves for sticking with an unpleasant job by spending.

We can use money as an incentive-reward game to get ourselves through the morning/day/week/year. When we have more meaning in our day-to-day lives, we can find that we don’t spend as much. We therefore don’t need to earn as much. Doing a household budget can give us the insight we need that enables us to take the first step to make a change. There are plenty of digital tools that make budgeting easy.

On the income side, if you take a portfolio approach to generating an income, you have the ability to dial the work up or down and spread your risk. The increased availability of a broad range of flexible work gives you more control over when and where you work and what you do.

Our plans for our future can be bigger than our nostalgia for the past. The best is yet to be.

¹ How to Live to be 100+ Dan Buettner TED
Jake Waddell