Love it or Hate It: You Gotta Work

Do you not enjoy holidays and weekends because you are already dreading returning to work? Have you ever woken up in a cold sweat in anticipation of going to work to find that it’s only 3:29am? Better yet, raise your hand if you’ve ever cried uncontrollably in the handicap stall in the bathroom at work.

Those thoughts aren’t always a sign that it’s time for you to chuck the deuces to your 8-to-8 (shout out to you if you are able to shut down your laptop and be done with work at 5pm) and work for yourself. I mean, if you haven’t discovered your passion, how the hell are you supposed to follow it? If you don’t have a passion, product or service, you probably need to keep a day job. Notice that I said a job, which doesn’t have to be your current job if it makes you miserable.

At the end of the day, the goal is to create the opportunity to do work that you find fulfilling….whether you create that job as an entrepreneur or mold it in the corporate space.

Do What You Like

Here’s the gag about adulting: It’s not as much fun as we imagined it would be when we were kids. Among gag-worthy responsibilities like paying bills, we have to work. Everyday. Sometimes for 12 or more hours for and/or with people that we don’t like, at companies that we hate. I’ve done it. I get it.

Here’s the question: How do I figure out what my dream job is…and get hired? Like, today?

Answer: Figure out what you DON’T like. In 2015, I hated my job. I took daily cry breaks in the bathroom (who am I kidding, I took HOURLY cry breaks), I worked for a micromanager, the job paid the most money that I’d made up to that point and I traveled often. My dilemma was that I loved the money and travel but hated feeling like my manager didn’t trust me and constantly being questioned. As I began planning my exit, I made two very specific lists. First, I listed everything that I hated about that role. It’s one thing to not like your job, but ask yourself, what specifically do I dislike about this job? Is it the daily tasks? The way your manager provides feedback, or the lack or feedback? Incompetent colleagues? Long hours? Here are four specific things that I hated about that job:

Hate List

  1. Micro-management. “Your messenger shows that you were away for 5 minutes…where were you?”

  2. 3am conference calls with business partners across the globe.

  3. Unable to take advantage of company sponsored development due to overwhelming workload.

  4. Unbalanced feedback. “Here’s everything that you did wrong….”

Then, I wrote what I liked about the role. Again, I was very specific:

Like List (I’m sure I had a better name for this list at the time)

  1. Developing instructor led training (writing) and seeing to come to life in class

  2. Traveling to places that I may not have otherwise gone

  3. The ability to work from home.

  4. Opportunity to manage projects. New skill alert!

I looked over the lists and created a third list of what my ‘dream job’ needed to look like:

My Dream Job

  1. Freedom to be creative. That could happen by working for a manager/company that allows me use my skills/expertise to create effective learning solutions OR creating a space for myself as an entrepreneur to create, write, teach, etc.

  2. Ability to travel. Either from the freedom of working for myself or a role that includes travel.

  3. Work/life alignment. Because work/life balance isn’t a ‘thing’. Sitting on a conference call in the wee hours of the morning doesn’t work for my life….

  4. Consistent development. Whether it’s personal or professional, I need the opportunity and resources to work on myself and learn new skills.

Now What?

Looking at my dream job list was exciting and confusing. It felt good to kinda know what I was looking for. At the same time, I wondered how I’d find this dream role, if it existed at all. The first thing I did was ask better questions in interviews to find out if the culture aligned with my dream job list. (I’ll write a post about questions to ask in an interview soon.) I also looked for opportunities to do what I love on my own, like creating a blog where I am able to write and create in my own way.

The adventure of seeking new experiences (volunteering, a part time job doing something that you love, taking a class to build a new skill..) that lead to landing or creating your dream job is just as important and rewarding as stepping into that new role…whatever you determine it to be.

This week, I challenge you to create your lists and share them with me! Either leave a comment, send me a DM or email!