Did you know that almost 11% of your life is wasted on work? Give or take, of course. Did you also know that a recent gallop poll just revealed that out of 100 million Americans polled, 70 million of them have said that they absolutely hate their jobs and are miserable? That means on average, 7 out of 10 Americans can't stand what they do for a good part of their lives. The average person also spends 90,000 hours of his life working, that’s a total of 3,750 days of working throughout the course of your life.
Just based off these statistics, the chances of you reading this and hating your job are quite high. The last time I checked, wasn't this country supposed to be built on the American dream? Wasn’t this the land of opportunity? The place where people could immigrate to and prosper? At least that is what it is supposed to be, until now. The truth is, and it’s a sad truth that not many want to admit, the American dream is dead and this is no longer that land of opportunity. America has turned into the land of the significantly average who hold their heads up high, thinking they are better than the rest of the world.
I remember walking over to school on the first day of my freshman year in college; to get to school, I had to walk through the financial district of New York City to reach the building. What I saw that day changed my perception on life forever; I saw what we call the rat race. It was 8:50AM and a sea of people were on their way to work, in one large bunched up group: everyone looked the same, dressed the same, had the same coffee in their hands, it was as if they were all robots. To make matters worse, each and every person in the rat race had the same exact miserable look on their faces, it was a Wednesday and they probably were counting down the minutes to the weekend.
The year was 2008 and the market was just about to crash. My first class, our finance professor asked a simple question that barely anyone could answer. He merely asked how many of you us knew exactly what we wanted to do after we were done with college; barely anyone raised their hands. He then went on to explain that we are growing up in one of the hardest times this country and this world have ever seen and warned us that any expectation we have of the world after college is not even close to what we could imagine. It was pretty harsh for our first day, but low and behold he was correct.
The reason why you hate your job is because you are a part of that rat race; you are just as much of the problem, as you are the solution. And it’s because you expected the world, and by world I mean the real world, to bow at your feet and give you whatever you want, just because you have a degree. But what it really comes down to is the fact that you, just like most people out there, had no idea what you wanted to do in your life and instead of going out there and finding out what you wanted to do, you chose the latter, the easier decision of doing what is safe, what will pay the bills and what will just allow you to coast and get by. Sure the truth might be harsh, but there is a science to the madness or at least there has to be for hundreds of millions of people to hate what they do.
One of the more common terms you will hear among Generation-Y (besides "I’m so f*cked up right now") is the term "I don't know what I want to do with my life." Everyone has been there before and sure our parents might push us to go for the safe lawyer and doctor routes, but they’re not necessarily what we want to do. One thing you have to understand is that unless you actually went out there and tried different things in different fields, it is almost impossible for you to know what you want to do in your early 20s, even your mid 20s, depending how much you have actually been brave enough to try.
The problem with the term ‘job’ is that there is a great misconception out there. Some people confuse the terms ‘job’ and ‘career.’ A job is something you are doing in the short term to help you find your path or to put you on the path toward your career. Many people jump into jobs thinking they are careers because they have a very narrow view of what is actually out there, they find the need to make money and they take on jobs that fit their credentials and prerequisites, just like they did when they entered college. Essentially they think that they have to go on a certain path because they have molded their lives around that path, but that of course is a misunderstanding.
The thing about society is that it has never encouraged us to try different things or find what it is we like to do and just to focus on that. It has handed us a guide, just like a syllabus and told us to do these things to get to a safer path, and many fall for this because everyone else is doing it -- which reminds me of a question we were asked as kids: if everyone jumped off a bridge, would you jump off if it as well? I hate to break it to you, but most of this world has jumped off that bridge because everyone else did it too. Many people pick a job and get stuck in it for 5 to 7 years, they feel like they are locked in, unsure of what to do next and feel like they can't change because this is all they know and because it is "secure." And that is how so many people end up being miserable at work because it is simply pushed upon them both wittingly and unwittingly.
Life is based on fulfillment and progression, and the reason why most of you are so miserable is because the space you are working in has none of those two aspects and without those two aspects, you essentially have nothing to work for, but your 401k -- and who the hell finds happiness at the age of 65? Fulfillment is what you feel when you are constantly accomplishing goals and tasks and doing it far better than anyone else is.
Progression is constantly growing and moving up, the moment someone starts to stagnate and every day is the same as yesterday, and every week is the same as the previous week -- that is when you are stuck in a job, not a career, and that is when the depression kicks in, when you’re at the point that essentially never moves.
Think about it, within your job, there is a glass ceiling somewhere that doesn't let you advance and that is when the frustration kicks in. This country was molded into the land of the average, it was set up to let those who are creative and actually pose a threat to fester. This country keeps them compacted and non-threatening in today’s society. Look at it this way, between the hours of 7am to 7pm, you are working, going to work or coming back from work. Those are the peak hours of the day where your creativity is ready to burst out, instead you are crammed in a cubicle and told what to do, rather than allowing yourself to work on what you want to work on.
If you look at what a job really is, it’s a position for you to help someone else accomplish their dreams because you were too afraid to find what it is you want to accomplish. What people have forgotten is that you are supposed to enjoy your job, to be motivated, to want to achieve more and not to be stuck on the corporate ladder structure because even that is outdated. In short, the reason why you hate your job is because you forced yourself into doing something that seemed more right and more logical to actually make you happy. Having a job is not just about collecting your paycheck every Friday or running out at 5:01pm – that’s the path to misery.
Your job doesn't define you, nor should it ever define you. It’s actually quite funny because one of the other reasons so many people hate their jobs is that they know that now more than ever, we have an opportunity to love what we do with so many growing, diverse industries, as well as the rise of technology.
We as a generation have the most ADD and we hated school because we were forced to learn things that we didn’t need -- and when we get thrown out into the real world, we join the rat race, and hate it even more because it is simply just a continuation of school. Do as you’re told and be on time. By 2030, this generation will make up half of the workforce in this country and if it keeps going in that direction, then 95% of people will hate their jobs.
I know people personally who have left their cubicles, in which they were miserable, to find what they really wanted to do in life, even though it went against any real plan they had in terms of security in their lives. You will hate your job even more if you don't do anything about it. This isn’t one of those pieces telling you to drop everything and go do what you love, but a piece that dissects the concept of a job and how it will change dramatically decade by decade. It’s quite simple to see if you hate your job or not, if you are just coasting through to get by and are an employee rather than an entra-ployee, then you are going down a road many people in this world are.
To stop hating your job, test your boundaries and actually be brave enough to see what else the world has to offer you. Sure, it may not be in a textbook or have a foolproof guide that comes with a syllabus and credits, but it is out there somewhere if you decide to find it. The question is, do you want to be a part of the rat race or do you want to be the one setting up the cheese in the mousetrap?
Photos courtesy/via The Deal Breaker, Eden Life Mag, Tumblr