Yesterday morning, I read a great post by Leo Babauta over at Zen Habits, The Truth About Your Uncertain Life Path & Purpose. It echos a point I’ve always known: that no one has it all figured out, and we are all just trying to do the best that we can. Leo says,
“Do you think they have it all figured out? Do you think they have certainty and a feeling of reaching perfection? Not a chance. There is not one of us alive, not me or anyone else, who ever feels certainty about their purpose or path. If they do, they’re fooling themselves. But if they’re honest, they don’t feel that certainty. No one ever feels they’ve found the perfect productivity routine, the perfect version of themselves … because it doesn’t exist.”
Social media would have you believe that everyone else’s lives are happier and better than yours. The grass is always greener, right? And I admit that when I blog, I frequently don’t write about the things that get me down. I don’t want to post when I’m upset with a friend or colleague, and I’m not sometimes not comfortable sharing when I’m stressed about something that’s my own fault. So, as much as I don’t intend for that to be the case, I’m probably one of those contributing to the glossy perfection you see on social media.
But I think too many people lose sight of the fact that social media is a moment in time, covered up with a pretty filter. Unfortunately, they think that there is perfection out there – that’s why we end up with articles like Why Millennials Keep Dumping You. I don’t think that jobs today are worse than they were 20 years ago; I think that we think our job isn’t as great as everyone else’s, and we keep looking for perfection. I agree that all those changes in the workplace would be nice, but they certainly aren’t the norm just yet, and quitting every job until you find one that offers all of those perks, to me, seems foolish. (Of course, if your big dream is changing that workplace status quo, that’s an incredibly worthy endeavor – but make sure you are doing something about it rather than just being one of the thousands who fruitlessly hops from job to job.)
One of the biggest pieces of advice that I told the senior associates who chatted with me at Discover a few weeks ago was that they need to figure out the one thing that will make them happy – and then go after that as hard as they can. Call me a pessimist, but I don’t think I will ever have a job where I love every single second and have no complaints. In consulting specifically, I really can’t imagine that anyone wakes up in the morning thinking, “YES, I can’t WAIT to write that status report today!” And yet, right now I’m working on a consulting project with a fantastically supportive team, on content that is both fascinating and also transformative, and with a lifestyle that may not be ideal but is doable and I’m reasonably happy with it. (Traveling four days a week is always hard.) I do have to write status reports, and I may not be waking up every morning feeling like my work day is a vacation, but I would say there is at least one point in every single day where I feel so lucky to have the project and job that I do. And so I will say: this job is awesome! I am in it for the long haul.
But in the spirit of honesty with which Leo wrote his post, I will end with this. I love my job, but right now I am also very excited that it’s almost the weekend. (One doesn’t cancel the other out.) TGIF!