I have a feeling I know why you’re here. Because as much as we all want to feel like we’re unique in our misery, we’re all the same.
Your path looked something like this:
You were told to get good grades, go to a good school, study hard, get a degree, take on student loans – it’s ok, you’re going to get a good job – get another degree, get a good job, make lots of money, live happily after.
And you listened. You took the traditional path. You did the right things, got the right internships, built up the right resume. You got the degree and maybe even went on to get the graduate degrees. You racked up debt. And finally, you made it! You got the career that you were always chasing.
The only thing is, it’s not what they said. There is no happily ever after. You hate the work. You never realized what actually being a (fill in the blank→ lawyer, accountant, doctor, teacher, engineer, etc) was going to be like. You work long hours. The work is tedious and boring. The stress is unbearable.
And you just know you were meant to do more. You have this nagging inside of you that you can’t quiet down. A voice that constantly says “This can’t be it.” You know there is more, that you have some kind of purpose, but you feel lost.
You have no way of knowing how to uncover that purpose.
And you have so much debt. And you worked for so many years to get here. And you really don’t know what else you would do. What other skills do you really even have? I mean, you’ve spent all of your time and energy on this one field. And what would everyone say?! Are you really just going to throw it all away and start over? No one likes their jobs; that’s just the way it is.
I get it. We’re all the same. And it’s easy to dismiss these feelings as being ungrateful or entitled. After all, you should be lucky that you got a good degree and can find a good job, right? Life is not about just being happy all the time, right?!
Well, while I don’t pretend to know what the meaning of life is or why we’re here, I know that it wasn’t to sit in an office under fluorescent lights for 10 hours a day doing work you hate.
We’re overburdened with debt, overworked with constant contact through technology and unfulfilled with work that doesn’t mean anything.
And maybe in the past, without the internet, a stable job was the only way to live comfortably. But not anymore. With the endless possibilities that the internet provides, we now see people making a great living doing the things they love: selling their artwork, freelancing while traveling the world, creating communities, etc. The sting of working in a soul-crushing job is becoming unbearable.
But here’s the thing, there are only two choices:
You can either feel miserable, live for the weekend and vacations, numb yourself with alcohol and other things, and just try to accept that this is life. You’ll go through life sleepwalking. Get up, go to work, come home, watch tv, play with the kids, do it again.
OR, you can try to do something else. And keep trying until you figure out your path. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, it’s scary. But the alternative is so much scarier.
Every study that has ever been done on people’s regrets on their deathbed has come back with the same result: People don’t regret the mistakes they made or their failures. They regret not trying things. They regret playing it safe and always wondering “what if.”
You only get those two choices. What’s it going to be?