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Should we all expect to have a job we love?

(38 Posts)
DillyTante Sat 21-Apr-12 11:56:12

I'm in a career cul de sac at the moment. In a fairly decent job, flexi time, good pension etc. but I don't love it, a lot of the time I don't even like it.

I've been in this job for 7 years now and due to having 2 babies have made little career progression. I want to do something else, I just don't know what. I don't know what I am capable of. I'm far enough out of uni that my degrees are becoming irrelevant.

I've been reading a few books and articles along the lines of the idea that you should be in a job you love (e.g. Screw Work, Let's Play), or that the way forward is the portfolio career, combining different things you love.

They increase in me a dissatisfaction with my career (my mum says it's not they books causing it, they are just mirroring it). I am pretty well educated (MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience), I did so well a school, I was always destined for Big Things, and well, it hasn't happened.

But do we have a right to be in a job we love. It's a fairly modern concept isn't it? Traditionally we have just worked to survive.

I don't want to though. I don't want to look back and wonder what I have done with my time. I just don't know how to distill what I want and then do it. There are so many things I want to do. I'd really like to do another MSc, in Occupational Psychology. But time and money are a barrier, especially with two little ones.

What do you think? Put up and shut up, be grateful I have a job? Try and figure what else I want to do?

VivaLeBeaver Sat 21-Apr-12 12:02:11

I think you need to be beware of the grass been greener, etc.

I used to have a fairly dull office job. But it was easy, had a laugh with colleagues, good pay, benefits, flexible. I was bored and trained in a very different career - one which I see a lot of MNers say they'd love to do.

Loved it for the first few years but now I think I'm burnt out. Its certainly not boring, pay is ok but job is very stressful. Not one of my colleagues enjoys their career/job.

I think once you've been doing any job for a few years it doesn't fulfill you as much. So you could retrain, etc and be in the same position in a few years time again.

DillyTante Sat 21-Apr-12 12:05:19

Can't imagine doing this for the next 35 years though!

ggirl Sat 21-Apr-12 12:07:36

If i were you I would figure out what else to do.
I was like you and was in a job that was convenient but I didn't enjoy that much. I didn't come home and think ,that was good day, it all felt like too much effort.

In my new job (which I love) my day goes really quickly. I feel satisfied and fulfilled (god that sounds cringey) .

If you have the opportunity to live a happier life then I think it's def worth trying to.
Obviously you have to weigh up the risks of other aspects of your life outweighing the extra happiness ,liek financial insecurity,stress from lack of childcare.

motherinferior Sat 21-Apr-12 12:10:10

I think you should aim for a job, and indeed other things in your life, that you love. Given that work takes up a fair chunk of the week and our energies, it is a good idea to try for something you at least quite enjoy. It may not fulfil every yearning you have - and indeed I'd think you were a bit sad if it did - but it should really be more than a time-filler.

bigkidsdidit Sat 21-Apr-12 12:13:10

I don't know if it's a right.

I love my job. LOVE. But, although it's flexible, I routinely work 50 hours a week (contracted 35) - I'm in now for example (on a little break grin). It's fine for me as DH works 4 days and I can take stuff home to do when DS is asleep, but I'm aware I'm lucky.

I think the sort of jobs you love, are the sort you have to work really hard at, perhaps because of being the sort of person who gets a lot of fulfilment from work, perhaps because more interesting jobs themselves demand it, perhaps because working hard in itself is satisfying. I don't know.

But I think while you would be very able to find a niche you loved, perhaps not with the flexi time, work-life balance etc you seem to want too, IYSWIM.

(that's not to say that's how I think it OUGHT to be).

GinPalace Sat 21-Apr-12 12:15:20

My DH is in very similar dilemma. We are constantly weighing up the pro's and con's of changing jobs - drop in pay etc. So far it keeps coming up that he stays. Part of this is because his life outside of work is more important to him than his career, so the cost/effects of a switch means that would suffer.

So, he compromises. As with most things life is often a compromise. I keep waiting for the mid-life crisis though.

In the meantime he counts his blessings and remembers that there are jobs out there that actual real people have to do that are awful. Often you don't know what you've got till its gone.

If that sounds defeatist - it isn't it is just a brief summary of a complex situation and there are costs to staying and costs to going, you just have to decide which set you would rather swallow.

Course it would also help if he knew what else he would rather do - he doens't have somewhere he wants to go, only knows he isn't thrilled by where he is - but it could be worse. Think if you know something else you would rather do that is quite a bit different.

lynniep Sat 21-Apr-12 12:15:30

I could be you actually. I have a degree in mech eng, a masters in IT, and a job I really don't like testing software, which doesnt pay well (well it does, but I'm being relative - I'm paid about half what I would have been on if I'd kept up what I was doing and not had children)
I dropped out of the 'career ladder' when I had my two boys. Frankly I didn't care much about working 'beneath my abilities' as I do now because I didn't enjoy developing or managing anyway, and I didn't want responsabilites, but at 37 I'm still wondering what it is I should be doing with my life. Shouldnt I know by now?
I like crafty stuff, but at the same time I need to challenge my brain because once upon a time I loved maths and stuff. <sigh>

GinPalace Sat 21-Apr-12 12:18:44

I am 36 and about to qualify for a new profession. I will be so far behind on the career ladder it isn't funny. But I will see how far i can go and hope I enjoy my choice. It is worrying as having taken the gamble and retrained for 3 years there are currently virtually no jobs out there, so it could all be a waste of time. <waiting to see>

DillyTante Sat 21-Apr-12 12:27:01

Linnie, funny enough, you might like a blog post I wrote recently Psychocraft, like you, but without the maths! (apols for the gratuitous blog link blush just seemed apt)

ggirl Sat 21-Apr-12 14:10:50

lynniep I am 50 this yr and only started "the" job last august , know exactly what you mean about not knowing what you want to be yet.
Funy that we expect out school leaving children to know what they want to be smile

MarshaBrady Sat 21-Apr-12 14:16:50

Aim for doing work you love and enjoy. It will probably take some work and time to get there but it will be worth it.

As for more study- depends on whether it's actually possible to do it.

Mealiepudding Sat 21-Apr-12 14:29:34

Dilly, I'm not clever or insightful enough to add any suggestions, but I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed Psychocraft. It made me grin

WidowWadman Sat 21-Apr-12 16:38:35

Whenever I was unhappy or unfulfilled in a job I went to look for something else (obviously securing the new position first before leaving the old) - I spend so many waking hours at work, that I rather do it doing something I enjoy in an environment I feel comfortable in.

I've not been longer than 3 years in the same company without moving elsewhere either sideways or up.

ApuskiMcClusky Sat 21-Apr-12 16:56:59

Dilly, I recognise some of what you say - and I'm an Occupational Psychologist! Work life lasts a long time, and I always imagined doing different things during my working life rather than just one thing. In truth what I do has changed over time, but has evolved rather than radically changed so it doesn't feel so new or fresh.

Feel free to PM me if you want to talk occ psych.

ApuskiMcClusky Sat 21-Apr-12 16:58:16

And I think I need one of those MBTI badges!

DillyTante Sat 21-Apr-12 19:43:08

Thanks for all the replies, I was trying to spark debate as well as have people administer to my woes!

Apuski, tell you what, I'll swap you a MBTI badge for some career advice! Hey, I think you live near me actually. I seem to remember a name like yours at a local meet up. Am in my blog guise but will pm you and let you know my usual name (which you probably won't recognise anyway!)

DillyTante Sat 21-Apr-12 19:46:21

Widow, I think things are difficult for me in that although I want career change, I work pt & luckily my hours fit around dh's & we share childcare. So now is not a good time to move. But I like to be working towards something.

scottishmummy Sat 21-Apr-12 20:01:18

be pragmatic
what career do you want to do
will you need to you have adequate money to do this
how will new career fit in around you need to consider ft and childcare to get establised
how important is pt and current pattern to you?are you willing to give this up

and fwiw a book called screw work ets play sounds really daft and horribly middle class want to play.

nooka Sat 21-Apr-12 20:18:32

I don't think that we should all expect to have a job we love (and it is definitely not a 'right'), but I do think that we should work towards achieving that. My view is that I don't want to spend 40 hours a week doing something I don't enjoy. That said I think that you need to think both about the balance of your life and the long term.

Sometimes in the short term a boring job might be the right choice, so long as you have a long term plan to get somewhere better.

scottishmummy Sat 21-Apr-12 21:09:31

cant expect a job one loves
takes effort and hard work to build career one loves
and some jobs are notoriously hard to get a break in eg media,acting

KeemaNaanAndCurryOn Sat 21-Apr-12 21:12:01

I hate my job with a vengence. Not all of it, there are parts that I really enjoy, but the whole thing is a grind. I got into it by accident and now I find myself stuck it in so I can support the family.

If I could I would retrain to do something that I love.

Xenia Sat 21-Apr-12 21:27:23

I like what I do and am in year 28 of it and it gets better and better but I've made it what I want and I do a fairly wide porfolio of things. I own everything 100% too. That helps. Women often do better owning businesses than just being a hired hand.

savannasmum Sat 21-Apr-12 21:38:26

I have spent the last 4years doing jobs i hate.

I worked in the building before that and LOVED it, but then it hit the fan, i was laid off. Iv come to a point in my life where i feel iv done that now and i want to do something else. Iv spent alot of time dreaming about what i could do.

Finally left my job two weeks ago and set up my own business, and i got my 1st customer last week. It was a now or never moment. I'm on my own with a little one, so its a risky move, but i couldn't keep thinking what if.

JunesTune Sat 21-Apr-12 22:49:44

Thats brilliant savannasmum and quite inspiring - hope it goes really well.

Generally, I suppose whether or not you choose to change career depends as well how much you put your needs/wants/desires on an equal footing with those of your children.

I'm trying to write applications for jobs this evening and failing miserably. I am struggling to explain why I want the advertised jobs, asking myself do I really want this again, telling myself I've got no choice, getting infuriated with the bullshit and jargon and ending up totally confused. confused

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