Job satisfaction: there’s someone for every task
Some of us love spreadsheets and analysis. Some folks love going out networking and talking to loads of people. Some like working one-to-one with people in coaching, counselling or consulting. Some love messing about with computers, keeping them running and defending them against hacking and virus attacks. And some are happy working outdoors in all weathers. I firmly believe that for every task that needs doing, there’s a person who will find joy in doing it. And it’s different for everyone.
So why do people insist on dragging down what someone else does? You’ve heard them in the pub, at parties, in the supermarket: “You do that? Ugh, no – that’s terrible, you poor thing, how could anyone possibly love doing that!?” And you hear the person they’re talking to start to defend what they’ve chosen to do for a living: “Oh, it’s not so bad you know – I quite enjoy it actually.” And inside they’re thinking ‘I thought my job was pretty cool, and I kinda love doing it. Why do I feel like I have to defend it?’ So think before you commiserate with someone about their job, it may very well be their calling, their purpose, their joy.
But that’s not the joy-stealing I’m really concerned about. Most people who really love their work are confident enough to handle some thoughtless denigrator. What I’m much more worried about is those people who insist on carrying on doing work they’re not enjoying. You’ll hear people justify it, saying dismissively “It’s not great, but it pays the bills”. You’ll even hear people explaining it by this weird idea we have that work’s supposed to be hard: “Well, you just have to knuckle down, don’t you?” As if they’re somehow helping the world, being good citizens, doing their duty by slogging away at work that leaves them dead inside. What nonsense!
Think about it: for every work there’s somebody who loves it, who feels alive and alight when they’re doing it, who finds their joy in it. If for the work you’re doing, that’s not you … then by continuing to do it, you’re standing in the way of the person whose joy it is. You’re stealing someone’s joy!