“I can’t take it anymore, I’m gonna quit!”
That’s what I was telling myself when I realised this job wouldn’t cut it for me. It was my first real job and I had been working there for more than a year. I knew this job wasn’t the perfect job, but the pay was good and I was learning a lot about many different subjects which was fascinating for a curious person like me. On the other hand, I was often alone, didn’t really get along with my boss and longed to do something more meaningful. I had to find something else.
I started actively researching the internet for an escape plan until I could muster the courage to do it. When we feel like something is wrong with our job, we all have done it: daydream about what our lives would be like if we weren’t stuck there. If we could find a way to earn some money doing things that we love or something more meaningful, with a better boss (if any) and why not a better paycheck.
A study by Harris Interactive indicates a full 74 percent of people would today consider finding a new job. That’s a lot of unhappy employees! But of course there is a difference between saying you’d consider finding a new job and actually doing it. And there is also a few who actually love their job but want to look for an even better one.
I don’t regret my decision to quit my full time job and become joyfully jobless. But of course, it’s not an easy decision, it might be scary and let’s be honest it is not the best solution for everyone.
So if you don’t want or are not yet ready to leave the security of a regular paycheck, here are 2 ways to have a more fulfilling life without quitting your job.
1.Try to make your job more interesting
As curious people, we tend to get interested and fascinated by many subjects, a lot probably not related to our main job. But we may not think about applying our curiosity to our own job or our own company. We are so fed up by our day to day routine, we may feel like heading out, when really we might be quite happy staying put as long as we change the way we do things.
One client came to me wanting to change course. She worked in TV production and wanted to become a butcher. Quite a radical change, isn’t it? After a few sessions, she came to realise she actually really loved her job. She was good at it and she enjoyed the process. She just didn’t like the way she was asked to do it. So I left her on her way to find another job in her industry where she could do it in a way that would suit her better.
Fast forward 6 months. She still had the same job but everything had changed. She had tried to get out, but it takes time to find a new job in this industry. So she decided to make the best of her situation and started getting curious about her own company and got involved in stuff she would never have dared to before. She started getting more assertive, saying no to things she would have said yes to a few months earlier. And then her boss came to her offering some kind of promotion : she would get to learn new things, including selecting and producing her own shows. She was so happy and proud.
So sometimes, we can very well keep the same job and make it more interesting by being curious, asking the good questions and having a smart boss.
Picture via Flickr
2. Consider finding a Good enough job
When you’re curious, you may want to learn new things on a regular basis, but not know how to turn your many passions into a job. Or maybe you don’t even want to. Or maybe you really like your job. Then your best bet is what Barbara Sher calls a Good enough job.
A good enough job is a job that doesn’t take too much of your time and energy, that’s done in a good environment and allows you to earn enough money to not have to worry about paying your bills at the end of the month. With a good enough job you can pursue your many other interests on your free time. The good enough job can be anything as long as it does not drain your energy and make you want to lay on your couch and watch mind numbing TV the second you get home. It can be your current job, or it can be any other job.
I met a wonderful woman the other day with an impressive journey. She was only 26 years old, yet she had already founded a NGO building schools in Africa and was city councillor (first elected at 19!). Yet like most of us, she had to pay the bills, so she had a good enough job. She was a ticket inspector. This job was paying her enough to pay her bills, and gave her enough free time to get involved in all her other endeavors. So of course, ticket controller, was not her Dream job when she was a young girl, but it was a great way to fund her other interests.
John Williams, author of Screw Work, let’s play, talks about this using a quite interesting image. He talks about thinking in terms of two tracks running in parallel, at least for a while.
Track one is the thing that makes you money right now.
Track two is the thing you love that may need some time to get off the ground.
One of my friends is currently launching a decoration selling business. But for now she keeps working part time in a bank, until she can earn enough from her new business or find another income source. That’s her track one.
As for myself, although I’ve been self employed for 5 years now, I still have a track one. I freelance for my former employer (yes, the one I was talking about at the beginning of this post). It is not my dream job, but I know the job well, it is quite easy for me to do it and it earns me enough money to launch other projects I care about, like this blog.
So what could be your track one ?
Let me know in the comments which strategy you prefer, and if you think of any other.
Image via hikingartist.com