You used to be alright…what happened?

This one goes out to everyone who hates their career. One reason I’m in favor of a mandatory public service requirement is to give the kids a chance to get their feet wet before they surrender to The Machine. Many of you think it’s too late to do anything about it, but I watched each of my parents successfully change careers. The most important lesson I’ve learned in life is that salary should never trump job satisfaction.

Now I realize some people really have no way out without facing serious repercussions in one form or another. This entry is aimed more at the workforce of the evil, but non-murderous* institutions. I don’t need to name names - you know who you are.

*for this exercise we’ll include the health care industry in this group

I’m not asking you to quit your job or anything so drastic. Just realize that everyday you go to work and do The Man’s dirty work, you’re making the problem worse. All I ask is that you try and leave a net positive impact on the people (co-workers, clients, vendors) you encounter. Maybe this results in a smaller bonus on your paycheck or a ‘talking to’ from your superiors. That’s how they try and keep you in line. It starts before you’re even out of school.

What would you say……………………………………………………you do here?

Most kids don’t really know what they want to do career-wise when they enter college. Usually they have an idea of what they’re going to attempt to be right after college, but as graduation draws closer the pressure builds to find a job - any job. Too often individuals are more concerned with how things will look on paper (to impress all those folks back home), rather than going with what their heart tells them.

The elite prospects are gobbled up by the big companies. They play it safe and go with the money and the instant gratification. It’s all fun and games until you realize there are strings attached. The money is good, but once you’ve locked into a certain lifestyle, you’re basically at the mercy of your employer. Over time individuals rise to their own level of incompetence, at which point the job just becomes a shell game of diverting blame, playing politics in order to survive long enough to land a fat severance package.

The larger the institution, the greater the degree to which roles are defined. Specialization is the name of the game. It is in the best interest of management to make the workers as productive as possible without giving them extra skills that might help them find a better job elsewhere. This may be fine for middle aged people who have mastered their specialty (provided that specialty doesn’t become obsolete), but it’s in the best interests of the younger workers to dabble in different areas in the hopes of finding their true calling.

You can’t expect to find your dream job in the help wanted ads. The first step towards happiness is to pursue a career that provides satisfaction. Don’t chase the money right off the bat. The money will come later once you have mastered your craft. One day…when the money is there, and work doesn’t feel like work, and everyone you encounter is better off for having known you…you’ll come to the realization that you’re living the dream.

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