Dear Billie, I hate my job but I can’t leave it because…
How would you complete the above statement? Because I have a mortgage. Because I have school fees to pay. Because I am the only one working so I have no other choice. Because I have responsibilities. Because, because, because. Or how about the “but”? What would you place behind that statement? I hate my job but… Would it go something like this? But I have a mortgage. But I have school fees to pay. But I have responsibilities. But how will I survive? Same responses right? There must be an alternative to all of the above, which by the way are quite valid “reasons”. Are they insurmountable? I dare say absolutely not!
To be fair, if I had to complete the above statement two years ago, I probably would have said the same things. I would have probably even go on to say that not only can’t I leave this job in which I abhor, but I should be thankful I even have a job! How many persons out there are unemployed? Again, these are very sensible, rational reasons. I may be going way out on a limb here by what I am about to write and could possibly receive some hate mail as a result, but what a load of hogwash!
How about this instead. Dear Billie, I hate my job and here is what I am going to do about it. Let that sit in the back of your mind for a moment. Toss it around in your head. Meanwhile, I’ll share why today I feel the last thing I want to be doing is working at a job I hate, just because.
If we were to think back about what we dreamed about when we were under the age of ten, when we had no responsibilities, a whole lot of time and a limitless amount of creativity, how would that change our perspective on the then versus the now? I can take a few guesses. For one, we are adults and therefore we have responsibilities. Secondly, dreaming is just that, a dream. It’s reality that matters. Do you really believe that? If ‘hate’ is a word you would use to describe any aspect of your life, including your job, then something can’t be right about that. If I hate eating beets, why would I subject myself to eating it! Is it because I have no other choice?
I can imagine some of you who are reading this thinking, really Billie? You’re comparing the choice of leaving a job to eating beets? Yes I am!
Let’s look at it from this perspective. Obviously if you hate what you are doing, you’re not too happy or you just don’t care anymore. You’ve given up. Your go to phrase may be, “It is what it is.” What if it doesn’t have to be that way? As much as I’ve written about entrepreneurship, I am still amazed at how many excuses I hear from people who are not willing to try something totally new, something that comes with some risks but huge rewards, because of fear. I’ve met a lot of talented people over the years. And while not everyone may see themselves as an entrepreneur, it’s not because they aren’t. It’s likely because they have no idea what an entrepreneur is, what it means.
According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, an entrepreneur is one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise. Hmmm, that’s it? If you’re working for a company it is very likely that you have responsibilities which involve organizing, managing or even assuming risks. Could it be then that my earlier point has some truth to it? Everyone may not see themselves as entrepreneurs because perhaps they have no idea what it truly means to be one.
If what we fear is something that could possibly lead to our happiness, then we must rethink our priorities. And if you think happiness is relative, you are correct. There is one thing that is for certain however, and that is we all know what our version of unhappiness is. And it’s not too pleasant.
Chances are you have entrepreneurship running through your veins. Perhaps now would be a good time to harness it. And how can we do that? We do it by removing the mental obstacles we’ve put up, telling ourselves that we must not go against the grain or challenge the status quo. We must not color outside the lines. We must work, and work hard for a living. After all, hard work has never killed anyone. I don’t know about you but while working hard may not kill you literally, it could lead to a slow and excruciating death to your emotional and creative psyche. I’ll pass, thank you very much.
So, you’ve had a moment to digest the possibility that you can leave a dead-end job and do what you love. Hopefully, you retreated to that time when you were free to dream. You were bursting with ideas and had no concept of failure. All you knew was you wanted to do this or be that. The “this” or “that” was probably talents you were naturally born with. What happened? Don’t answer that. I know what you’re going to say. You grew up. Well guess what, the most successful people in the world never stopped dreaming. Their brains got bigger as they grew, and so did their ideas. If that weren’t the case, you wouldn’t be reading this article on the Internet. Were it not for the innovation of people who never stopped dreaming, you’d be reading it from the walls of a cave or some parchment made out of animal skin. I’ll pass on that one too.
The point of all of this is that you don’t have to do anything you hate doing. You have choices. We once had dreams and hopefully still do. You certainly have your unique gifts or talents. Not using them to be happy and live the life you deserve would be tragic, wouldn’t it?
I’ve tried and failed many times and will likely do so many more times. Not to sound like a cliché but each failure taught me something. Most profoundly, it taught me that if I never tried, if I didn’t take the risk, that, in and of itself makes me a failure. I was made to do far more. YOU were made to do far more.
Once you say you’re going to settle for second, that’s what happens to you in life. – John F. Kennedy.
Billie Bowe is the President and CEO of Benchmark Consulting Services Ltd., a management consulting firm with expertise in human resources management. We believe in a global, strategic approach to management consulting. As our clients’ needs change and evolve, we offer solutions that grow along with them. We work as ‘business partners’ with our clients bringing about innovative solutions that are aligned with their business goals and objectives.
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