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.