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If You Can’t Be with the Job You Love, Then Love the One You’re With

21 February 2010 Written by: Jorge Lazaro Diaz 5 Comments
If You Can’t Be with the Job You Love, Then Love the One You’re With

Monster.com ran a poll recently with a simple question, “Do you love your current profession/work?  Check out the results:

  • Yes – 35%
  • No – 65%

That’s an awful lot of no votes.   I just cannot imagine dragging myself out of bed every weekday morning, forcing down a cup of coffee only to have to walk into some place for more than 8 hours (Is there a real 8 hour day left out there?) and do a job I just do not like much less love.  What a horrendous chore?

Let me tell you about one job I did loved.  I ran an IT department for a fast food purchasing cooperative.  I had the thrill of leading some sharp programmers and technology specialists.  We developed some super teamwork and pulled off some project I thought were beyond what anyone could pull off much less us.  I still stay in touch with some of my folks there.  They saw me as a leader and a mentor and they looked up to me.

That’s the same job where the CFO walks into my office one morning and delivers a temper tantrum because I hadn’t responded to his late afternoon phone call the night before.  (He didn’t usually get into work until 9 – 9:30.)  That same executive team relegated me to what I call a “second string” management position and never invited me or allowed me to attend a single executive planning retreat all my equals and peers attended.   I can point other things (most of which are much worse) that really showed a complete disregard from my talent and contribution to the business.  I will tell you , “I loved that job.”

Here’s another job I loved.  In it I had 14 Indian-born programmers reporting to me that were the sharpest technology team I’d ever met.  They had specializations in areas of programming that I didn’t even know existed and I was a sharp programming heavy-hitter back then.  The tutoring these Indian folks gave me enabled me to complete some programming certifications while they worked for me that helped me grow my career.  In addition, I learned a lot about Indian culture.  That was extremely valuable as I continued managing foreign programmers in future jobs.

The job also entailed getting on a plane every Monday, traveling from Miami to the Midwest and rarely if ever returning home to see my family before the week was up.  The technology industry was slow back then so there was zero opportunity for growth and no chance of a pay raise.  The project assigned to us had gone so far out of whack the corporate chief legal counsel showed up my last day on the project to get a debriefing  on the project details.  His hopes was to salvage our corporate head because we had gone so astronomically over budget.  (I was pulled in after that fiasco started so I was there to help bail them out.  I moved on to the firm’s next project when I was done.)

I hope you’re starting to see the pattern here.  I’ve been in many jobs over my career.  I’ve held programming positions where I hacked at a computer all day.  I’ve led people.  I ran my own web develop company for a short while.  I served as a guns-for-hire, traveling consultant with one of the Big 8 (turned into Big 5 to 4 and who knows what else) and now even teach web development and writing as an adjunct.  I’ve been around and not a single one of my jobs were “the perfect job.”

Stephen Still’s song says, “Love the One You’re With.”   I fully agree when it comes to work.  Learn to focus on that parts of the job you love (and I’m sure there are many parts you do).  Figure out a way to appreciate, tolerate or just plain survive with the rest of the stuff.  I don’t expect you to be the martyr, but focusing on the enjoyable is a good thing that makes the unpleasant parts seem a whole lot better.

Tell me what you think.  Share with me some good and bad stuff about your current job or past job.  What do you do to make the best of it or what do you do to dwell on the horrible parts of it incessantly so you drive youself and everyone else around you completely nuts.

Jorge Lazaro Diaz

Jorge Lazaro Diaz is the "Original" Career Jockey who started this blog and now serves as the Managing Editor. You'll find he enjoys focusing on professional and personal development articles and frequently covers motivational and spiritual topics.

You can learn so much about this author by clicking here.


  • Michelle said:

    I think you are right on. However, my experience is that there are quite a few people who just don’t have the mindset to practice this, and they seem unable to develop it. It seems that there’s a sort of natural optimism, a coping mechanism, that some of us are born with and others are not. I have it, so it frustrates me when others don’t; no amount of reasoning or coaching seems to help them develop it. But, insane optimist that I am, I keep trying;)

  • Jorge Lazaro Diaz (author) said:

    I agree with you (Michelle) that not everyone understands this naturally. I’m slanted towards being optimistic, but I have also had to train myself. While in my twenties, I was severely impatient with work when it didn’t go as I thought it should go. It really irked me such that it was difficult to see a job and love it without figuring out a way to eliminate the stuff I hated. My positivity was lacking a bit back then. (Oh how old age mellows us.)

    I find that all the encouragement from my side doesn’t help others overcome how they feel about what they are facing. Interestingly enough, I run into people after not having seen them in a while and they have a completely different attitude about the same thing. Probably part of growing up (meaning getting older) or some cathartic experience that changed them profoundly.

    The net net of it, people learn when people learn and not a minute before that.

  • marymary said:

    Some people make a career of hating their work, and appear to have marked their calendars for retirement on day one. Others are professionally malcontent. It is uphill fending off the negativity that these folks can put out, and they will not thank you for determining to enjoy your work. However, you should do all you can to make your day good, even if you are not where you wish to be or feel that you should be. I will make it even stronger: keep asking for more work, and focus on the areas where you think you are interested and/or can shine. Even if all of this fails (and it probably will not, because what employer complains of someone who wants to work hard), you will feel good about you. This will show in your life overall and help you to find a new position. On the other hand, if you sink into the quicksand of sulk, you will get results along those lines. –

  • Jorge Lazaro Diaz
    Jorge Lazaro Diaz (author) said:

    Mary Mary, Attitude and disposition about work is so important and it can make a huge difference in how others perceive you. Thanks so much for commenting.

  • Mary K Parker said:

    This lends credence to “hire for attitude.” I agree, however, that some otherwise very competent people seem incapable of finding the silver lining in any position or responsibility they are given. These individuals may mature over time and I believe there is research that supports the “brain re-wiring” required for finding joy in learning. Thanks for the post; it’s nice to know I’m not the only frustrated worker.

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