Why do you work?
What is it that makes you wake up every morning and get into that car like millions of others DO and head to a cubicle in a big office somewhere, not seeing the light of the day and coming back out when it is dark just to get on that same road where the millions are back and now heading home?
Despite having been in a profession that I enjoyed (or so I thought), I used to ask myself this question every now and then when I actually found some time to breathe self reflect. So let me ask you the same today.
Are you doing it consciously? Or are you doing it unconsciously like the cow that is part of a large cattle herd that is heading from point A to point B? It is interesting that while most of us work, why we work is a question that is not often thought about as deeply as it should be.
If you ask the question “why do you work”, one of the most common and standard responses you will get is “to pay the bills”. It’s funny. My father in law always says that in America people are either tired, hungry or paying bills.
Is that all life is, waking up, working, paying bills, sleeping and doing it all over again? That is like saying we live to work. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Shouldn’t we be working to live?
As a default, most people work because that is what they have been told is the right thing to do. Go to school, get a degree and then go get a job. To most, it is how we pay the bills if we want to survive (and thrive).
What happens most of the time is that people end up working because they “have to”, and therefore many end up in the wrong professions. It is a fact that many working individuals can’t stand their jobs.
Many others are simply going through the motions while shaking their leg starring at the clock to strike 5pm. Sad but true – just look around you.
The problem can be traced all the way to its roots I believe. It is social conditioning. When a child grows up and goes to college, they usually study what is popular at the time, or what their parents think is best for them, or simply what their best friend is doing. But what should happen is for the child to discover his or her own passion and then pursue it in the form of education.
This rarely happens, and when it does it usually happens too late. This also explains the high number of confused college students who change majors 9 times before graduating. A lot of them don’t make it. Of those that do, a good amount remain confused, often not able to decide which path to pursue.
A person spends approximately a third of their life at work, so it is very important that you are doing something that you really enjoy and care for. You would think this is the fundamental criteria that determines where you work and what you do right?
Unfortunately most people take up jobs that happen to be available and which hire them, no matter what the jobs are, just to have something to do and make money to “pay the bills”.
The group of not-so-confused college graduates often start out with a lot of passion and fire under the belly, attempt to climb the corporate ladder very fast and end up in a spiral. They might make significantly more than when they started with, but they are often demoralized, stressed out and simply burnt out from the workloads assigned to them.
And while climbing the ladder, those people buy cars, get mortgages on homes and develop a lifestyle that they cannot sustain if they were to simply leave their jobs. A bit of a catch-22 isn’t it?
Have you heard of the saying that “most people really die at 35, and just refuse to get buried till they are 85”? There is a lot of truth to that saying. I used to see this everywhere around me in the office. And I can’t tell you how many resumes I have reviewed that screen “just give me a job just for the sake of it”.
So while most seem to be going through the motions in the office and “working”, their soul is really discontent, unsatisfied; essentially dead. This usually strikes most people sometime in their early to mid thirties, as they finally begin to realize what they have gotten themselves into.
People start craving more after reaching a point in their careers, not necessarily financially, but from a satisfaction, flexibility and freedom perspective.
They finally realize that Corporate America isn’t what it is made to be, and that they are just a small fish in a big sea that don’t even enjoy the taste of the water in that sea. They realize how dependent they have become to their paychecks, and that they are just as vulnerable to the risk of job loss like most others.
While it takes a lot of guts, courage and proper planning to simply call it quits and move on to a more fulfilling career, it is simply not practical or possible for many.
However, what is possible is to explore other opportunities on the side that can bring the missing satisfaction back in life. The few hours you spend doing what you love can easily make up for the several hours you spend dying in your cubicle.
And now that you know that you can work on building a business around your passion in your spare time, you need to ask yourself what is it that makes you tick?
What do you like to do best? What would you love to keep on learning about? What is your true calling that will make you keep working and not feel that you are? That my friend is what you want to take and build a business around.
Face it, you are going to work hard in life anyway, so you might as well do it while loving what you are doing and making money at the same time. I have experienced this transformation that I am talking about.
I too got started while I was a full time employee, travelling year-round while not having enough time to take a breather. Today I am a living example of everything I write about.
Few years back I decided to learn as much as I could about the Internet and what it takes to be successful on it. I already had an entrepreneurial spirit, and just needed to add the technical “know how”.
I put the two together and flash forward a few years later I am in a position where I have multiple profitable websites that I really enjoy working on, and this blog is the most recent example of those.
Prior to this, I have never blogged in my life before. I am applying the same fundamentals to this blog that I applied to my websites to make them successful.
I am finding that there are a lot of similarities between the two, but the blogging platform has its own challenges which I am learning, overcoming and accepting with open arms.
Thanks to this blog, I am able to write about topics that I love and am passionate about. I am loving every bit of it despite my blog being the worst performer of all my websites strictly from a financial perspective. It’s ok, I am am enjoying every moment of it. Blogging gives me something to look forward to.
The Internet is such that no matter what you are into, you can leverage it to monetize pretty much any concept. Pick something you are interested in and take it up as a side project. But whatever you do, do it soon. Time is precious and doesn’t wait for any of us 🙂
If you are looking for something to fill the satisfaction void in your life, pursue it today. If you are looking to get out of a dead end job, start planning and pursuing the alternative path today. There is no point in waiting.
Do not live in a dead-end job that is demoralizing and unsatisfying without having much to look forward to. You will only continue to suffer more and kill your soul. This causes all kinds of side effects, physically, mentally and spiritually.
Don’t let your circumstances affect your relationship with family, friends and your health. Do something about it and do it today. See how some others are living the dream.Previous: How to Save Money on Car Insurance