Work Should Fill You With Joy Not Dread

Your job determines your quality of life

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Photo by Alex Kotliarskyi on Unsplash

From November 2017 to October 2018, I worked in an office dealing with insurance claims.

My job was to decide whether someone was missold insurance when they took out a loan or credit card with a particular company in England.

The scale of the claims was enormous. For an idea how of big, one bank, Lloyds, paid out almost £22 billion. To put into perspective just how ridiculous that figure is, it’s more than the bank’s combined annual profits of £15 billion from 2011 to the present day!

Five days a week from seven in the morning till three in the afternoon, I would sift through these claims at my computer surrounded by colleagues doing the same job.

If you wanted a job in the UK, this was one of the easiest to acquire. However, it was also one of the most boring and unfulfilling.

Most of the claims were very similar. Once you got to grips with how the various computer systems and how to settle the claims, the job became very mundane.

You could tell within a few minutes whether you could settle the claim or you needed to do more investigating. Sometimes, you had to ring up the customer for more information. That was about as exciting as things got.

Otherwise, you would spend the day staring at spreadsheets, listening to podcasts and watching the clock in the corner of the screen, patiently waiting for it to reach 3 pm.

Looking back, I can’t believe I lasted as long as I did. The mind-numbing nature of the work, the persistent emails about targets and the drab feel of the office depressed me.

This was my first office job and I knew it would be my last. I had worked in a variety of jobs beforehand, laying wastewater pipes, sorting mail and teaching English, all were had their flaws, but none was as soul-destroying as this one.

Thankfully, I was working on my travel blog in my spare time. This was something I enjoyed and was passionate about. The difference in enjoyment between the two was night and day.

One job I hated, the other I didn’t consider to be a job. We spend a large portion of our life working, but not all of us work in a job we love.

Such an important part of our lives should not be spent doing something we hate. We must endeavour to discover what work fills our heart with joy rather than dread.

Work, Work, Work

For most of us, we spend the years from the age of 18 to 65 working. As time progresses, with advancements in medical technology, a large proportion of people could work into their 80s.

The majority of our lives is spent working. Whether you want to or not, you have to work. Unless you’re filthy rich, you need money coming in.

To not have a job, is to not have an income and o leave yourself at the mercy of the welfare system in your country. A job is a necessity, but it is not a sentence.

In the desperation to have a job, it’s easy to take the first job that is offered to you. Even if you know you won’t enjoy the job, having a job is more important than finding the right job.

In the early stages of your working life, this isn’t a bad thing. It’s a step on the ladder and you can use it to gain experience for a job you may enjoy.

However, once you have a job you have a safety net. It can be easy to fall into the trap of settling for what you have, instead of pursuing what you want.

I fell into this trap after I graduated from university.

I ended up working in a betting shop. I applied for numerous graduate jobs, but I struggled to make it through the inevitable multiple-choice questionnaires to the interview stage.

With no job on the horizon, I applied for one you wouldn’t associate with someone fresh out of university. I needed a job, I needed to work, at that point, it would do.

I had plans to look for other jobs once I had got my feet in the door, but those plans never materialised. I either finished at 5 or 9 in the evening, I was either too tired or not motivated enough to look for other jobs or consider the possibility of living in Australia for a year which I had dreamt about.

I settled for what I had.

One night when I was cycling home from work, a car drove straight into me as I crossed an intersection. I was lucky to come away from the incident with a few cuts and bruises. It could have been a lot worse.

It was at that point I realised I had to make a change. Life was too short and unpredictable to continue doing something I didn’t enjoy.

I quit my job four months later, moved to Australia, and two years later, I started the blog that provides me with full-time employment today.

Work should not be a laborious task that fills us with dread when we wake up in the morning. It is something that we should look forward to, relish, provide us with joy and satisfaction.

Work has become a dirty word with negative connotations. It’s time it was reclaimed and seen as a positive rather than a burden.

The Takeaway

Our lives revolve around work. Whether we like it or not, our jobs are important in shaping our wellbeing and future. We should not dread the working day, we should welcome it.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of mundane jobs. I have worked in several and I whenever I think about them, the same feelings I had back then come flooding to the surface.

This is not how you are supposed to feel about work. It should fill you with joy. You should be happy with the work you do. You should feel stimulated and energised, not miserable and indifferent.

I’m not advocating that everyone who is unhappy with their jobs should quit. That may not be the best strategy for everyone. However, I’m asking to consider whether your work right now fills you with joy or dread.

An easy test to discover which emotion you feel is to notice your first thoughts when you wake up. If your first thought is to throw your alarm clock against the wall, that’s not a good sign.

However, if you get up with a spring in your step, that’s a sign you’re looking forward to the day ahead rather than dreading it.

Everyone is different. Some of us may enjoy working in an office, while others can’t stand. I worked in the construction industry while I was travelling. Despite the physical nature of the work, I enjoyed it. I found it satisfying and I liked working outside.

However, many people would hate every minute of working in the construction industry. That’s fine. You need to find what you have an aptitude for, what gets your pulse racing and work towards making a career in that area.

Life is too short to spend most of it working in a job you despise. Ask yourself, do I want to do this for the foreseeable future?

If the answer is no, you need to find a job that will put the joy back into work.

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