I have been thinking about the question of why we hate our jobs so much recently. After about 1 year in corporate Nigeria, I realized almost 90 percent of the people I meet everyday don’t really like their job, to put it mildly or some people just plainly hate their jobs.
If you doubt me, take a sample across people you know. Try to find out how many people really enjoy what they do and they feel like they can do that for the rest of their lives. How many people do you know would do the current jobs they have if they weren’t paid? My guess, you will find some people, but mostly, you will see people who are in the job because they need the money and they need to pay some bills.
As Anaïs Nin wrote in her diary in 1941, “There is an ugliness in being paid for work one does not like,”. Yet, too many of us get caught in the rot of doing fulfilling jobs.
A crucial reason we all hate our jobs may be related to what career counselor William J. Reilly penned in his brilliant work How To Avoid Work . Rielly counsels:
Most [people] have the ridiculous notion that anything they do which produces an income is work — and that anything they do outside ‘working’ hours is play. There is no logic to that.
Your life is too short and too valuable to fritter away in work.
If you don’t get out now, you may end up like the frog that is placed in a pot of fresh water on the stove. As the temperature is gradually increased, the frog feels restless and uncomfortable, but not uncomfortable enough to jump out. Without being aware that a chance is taking place, he is gradually lulled into unconsciousness.
Much the same thing happens when you take a person and put him in a job which he does not like. He gets irritable in his groove. His duties soon become a monotonous routine that slowly dulls his senses. As I walk into offices, through factories and stores, I often find myself looking into the expressionless faces of people going through mechanical motions. They are people whose minds are stunned and slowly dying.
Most of us hate our jobs because we have not carefully chosen what we spend out time on. We have chosen careers without a wrong knowledge of what we love doing and what we really want to do. Most of us have chosen jobs or careers because it was what we had available at that time. And now we need the money. We can’t just quit and leave our job in the name of ‘doing what we love ‘. Perhaps because what we love doesn’t even pay well or pay at all.
Rielly admonishes again falling into this trap of doing something because it’s what our parents, friends, society expect from us. We need to chose what we love doing.And what we believe makes us happy. This is the best way to give our best self to the world.
Actually, there is only one way in this world to achieve true happiness, and that is to express yourself with all your skill and enthusiasm in a career that appeals to you more than any other. In such a career, you feel a sense of purpose, a sense of achievement. You feel you are making a contribution. It is not work.
To my mind, the world would be a much pleasanter and more civilized place to live in, if everyone resolved to pursue whatever is closest to his heart’s desire. We would be more creative and our productivity would be vastly increased.
Altogether too much emphasis, I think, is being placed on what we ought to do, rather than what we want to do.