Saturday, January 29, 2011

You Don't Always Work in Something You Like, Then What?

I was leafing through this health focused newspaper and came across an article that included a long list of tips to help the reader "stay healthy while working". Didn't really relate to some of them...

Side note to share my small but noteworthy annoyance at the overstated 'Remember, the customer is always right'... Customer service is certainly important and appreciated, but no, the customer is not always right. And I don't even have much experience working in customer service -- unless one considers case management to a degree to include this -- just empathy to workers and their challenges in working with the public. Maybe the wording should be changed to something like "suck it up" so meaning is more clear.

One particular tip that annoyed me was Ask yourself if you like your job. If you don't change it. OK, apart from folks who don't have many alternatives due to lack of options in their field, lack of transferable skills (to different work), limited education or experience. Sure, theoretically people have the option of going back to school to advance their education but for several reasons, including having kids or being a certain age this may be very difficult to do for many people. Bottom line is for a good number of people their job is what they have for a good number of years. Then what? The answer to this is more useful if a little grittier.*

And OK, maybe you could say, consider the target audience for this article: people who have more opportunities and luxury of pursuing a more fulfilling job. Yet even with a college degree a lot of people work in full time jobs that aren't their passion nor as particularly stimulating as they'd like.

So how would I answer the question to 'then what'? Depends on the person. There's an option of finding something else outside work to make one more satisfied, and/or make the most of work, learn new skills if possible, broaden a network of support through making and developing connections with coworkers, learn your rights as an employee and talk with others about this. And still, I appreciate it's not as simple as that for some people.

I think I prefer the grittier answers than neat lists. Unless they're funny lists.

* Grittier than the simple and appealing "there's always another job out there and there's always an option for you to do something you love."

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