I’m entering my sixth week of a temp assignment in an office, and I’ve learned a lot. Since I came back from the US and decided to take another year before settling down and working with horses full time, I’ve essentially been clock watching until I get to go back again. Which is possibly a sign that I made the wrong decision – isn’t hindsight a wonderful thing?
There’s nothing I can do to change the choices I’ve already made, so I’m doing my best with what I do have, and my current situation has taught me a few things. In a lot of ways, it’s nice to be a temp: I got in, do a basic job for a little bit of money, and I go home. It’s largely lacking in stress, and high in thinking time. It’s also given me an opportunity to people watch, be a fly on the wall in the daily lives of some other people.
As with many companies, there are people who’ve worked there for most of their adult life, and those who are at the very beginning. Some are fresh out of school – 17 or 18 and, for whatever reason, have taken basic office or call centre jobs, either as an interim or in pursuit of a permanent career with the company. What I don’t think I’ve seen is anyone who really and truly loves their job – it was upon realising this that the phrase, “if you see it, you’ve got it” popped into my head, and I started to feel as if I were observing an army of former versions of myself.
Of course, these people may all be hiding something. They’ll each have their own reason for turning up at the office and logging in to their jobs five days per week. It might be that they are on a concealed path, working towards a goal that they aren’t externalising. Or it could be force of habit, a learned helplessness.
Either way, I find it sad that nobody makes it obvious that they love what they do. And, if they don’t, that they aren’t changing that. At the same time, I have first-hand experience of how difficult it can be to make changes, or even to decide to. I went through a confusing time of figuring out what exactly my problem was: did I just have itchy feet; was I not working hard enough; are human beings destined to be discontent? Ultimately, I decided that curiosity might kill me, and I took a reversible step as an experiment. The results proved to me that I shouldn’t turn back, that forwards was the best way and that the dream was worth pursuing.
But lately I’ve been wondering whether that’s fair. Clearly, everyone’s different, and the world would be a boring place if we were all the same. And just because I can’t see the enjoyment in a certain role, doesn’t mean that everyone else can’t. But what I’ve been wondering is this: is it possible for everyone in the world to do what makes them happy, without said world dropping out of orbit? Is there room for everyone to do what they want and for our world to continue to function?
Job satisfaction clearly isn’t the way that everyone gets their kicks: some people are satisfied with having a fulfilling family life, whilst others take their joy from their hobbies and are content to do their job to fund the rest of their lifestyle. But should that be the norm? The advice offered by so many is: “find what you love and figure out how to get paid to do it”. Which I think is the root of my question. So, without further ado:
Have you found what you love and are you paid to do it? If not, what’s stopping you?