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AIBU?

To ask what you do for a living if you genuinely love what you do?

263 replies

waterfallswillfindyou · 23/01/2023 21:32

Like many people, I'm not fulfilled by what I do for a living. At all.

I was chatting to a doctor the other day who loves what she does - even with all the crap that NHS staff put up with - and it really hit home how I've never had that feeling. Work has always been a means to pay the bills. The money is nice, but I'm starting to struggle with not finding it rewarding, and am considering taking a pay cut for job satisfaction.

If you actually love your job - you're not just doing it for money - what do you do, please? And is it the role you actually love or the employer? (I have been wondering if working for a charity I believe in might be the answer, and am doing the sums to see if I could afford to live on third-sector wages.) I feel stuck, and I'm looking for inspiration to start researching a career change.

(Even if it's not something I can actually do, still interested in your answers. I've spent my whole adult life expecting everyone to be miserable at work, and now I'm wondering if that doesn't have to be true.)

OP posts:
ginswinger · 23/01/2023 23:28

Fabric and yarn shop owner. I spend most days chatting with people about sewing and knitting, doing it or thinking about it. Very rarely does anyone have a cross word to say and people genuinely enjoy being in my shop. Some people call it their happy place.

ODFOx · 23/01/2023 23:29

I'm in pharmaceutical development and academia. In my early career I helped develop the anti-HIV reverse transcriptase inhibitors which has stayed with me as probably the most influential thing I've done albeit over 30 years ago!
In 2020 we were repurposing drugs with known anti fibrotic effects against COVID.
Since then we've been using all we learnt during the rush for COVID drugs to better understand fibrosis, viral loading vs infectivity, and a range of other research projects. I find my job interesting and rewarding. Also very tiring and I am at an age and stress level where I am very much less tolerant of others than I was a generation ago. So I'll give it a 80/20 love it/counting down to retirement 🙂.

MakingMarlsAndOtherThings · 23/01/2023 23:31

Sewing/fairisle knitting teacher running workshops and offering maker space on my own purpose built premises (no beginners, no children).

After years of failing to please them one way or another I could never have an employer again.

madamecake · 23/01/2023 23:33

Wedding Cake Designer. Used to work in IT and would sit dreaming about baking cakes all day and now I actually get paid to do it.
A bit of a salary drop but the job satisfaction and creative outlet is amazing, I can’t ever imagine not making cakes, even with a lottery win.

Mumsanetta · 23/01/2023 23:33

Lawyer! Would probably still do it if I won the lottery.

PousseyNotMoira · 23/01/2023 23:34

waterfallswillfindyou · 23/01/2023 23:13

Are you able to share some more details about your path to charity CEO, please?

Sure! I got a law degree and a Masters in the Humanities. Then I went to work for an arts non-profit as a membership officer and basically just worked my way up.

I moved organisation roughly every three or four years for the next 15, as I’ve found that’s the best way to progress quickly (as opposed to inch your way up the ladder), increase earning potential and get a breadth of experience (people who spend a decade at one charity tend to have less flex on their way of operating, in my experience). And I always applied for roles that were a few steps up the ring from where I was and that I could do circa 60% of (if you’re reading a job description and you can already do all of it, you should be aiming to be that person’s boss).

I think what’s key is figuring out what you want your career trajectory to be and having an actual plan. Write it down, have a strategy, map out your KPIs and and a timeline. Lots of people seem to just do their jobs and wait for careers to happen to them, which isn’t generally an
effective approach unless you’re landed gentry or something. However, lots of people don’t want careers, and that’s fine as well.

Highdaysandholidays1 · 23/01/2023 23:34

I'm an academic/lecturer, love my area, and could bore on about it for England. Student interactions fulfilling; got good at teaching after many years. Have a love/hate relationship with writing, would do it anyway even if I won the lottery, but might write something else. Lucky to have such an interesting job.

sammyjoanne · 23/01/2023 23:36

I work in procurement for medical supplies for the past few years. I like the job and find it fine, just not as challenging now. I alwasy like learning something new.
I did used to have my own ghost hunting events company and I LOVED that job. going all round the uk to haunted places. It just did not pay very well and sometimes it was difficult to sell tickets at certain times of the year and we would work without pay some nights. It didnt pay the bills and had to give it up in the end. Still do it as a hobby, but loved every weekend going to all these amazing places.

blackpearwhitelilies · 23/01/2023 23:39

University lecturer. I do love it, but am v v tired. If I won the lottery I’d stop!

PousseyNotMoira · 23/01/2023 23:39

Warmwesterly · 23/01/2023 23:17

@PousseyNotMoira would you share what sort of Consultancy you do now?

Strategic development and change management. I come in and create the framework, then I toddle off and let everyone else do the work. 😊

waterfallswillfindyou · 23/01/2023 23:41

PousseyNotMoira · 23/01/2023 23:34

Sure! I got a law degree and a Masters in the Humanities. Then I went to work for an arts non-profit as a membership officer and basically just worked my way up.

I moved organisation roughly every three or four years for the next 15, as I’ve found that’s the best way to progress quickly (as opposed to inch your way up the ladder), increase earning potential and get a breadth of experience (people who spend a decade at one charity tend to have less flex on their way of operating, in my experience). And I always applied for roles that were a few steps up the ring from where I was and that I could do circa 60% of (if you’re reading a job description and you can already do all of it, you should be aiming to be that person’s boss).

I think what’s key is figuring out what you want your career trajectory to be and having an actual plan. Write it down, have a strategy, map out your KPIs and and a timeline. Lots of people seem to just do their jobs and wait for careers to happen to them, which isn’t generally an
effective approach unless you’re landed gentry or something. However, lots of people don’t want careers, and that’s fine as well.

Thank you so much - food for thought.

I've been hesitant to value any transferrable skills, so I think I need to reflect on this more and consider applying for jobs where I don't hit 100% of the job description.

I'm really annoyed at how many interesting sounding jobs don't have a salary banding - I can't figure out if they could be a good sideways step, or if I wouldn't be able to afford to run my home on them!

OP posts:
dragonsandfairies · 23/01/2023 23:41

I've just left a job I loved, community carer.
Not one day did I wake up and dread going to work. I just can't afford to continue. The cost of fuel and maintenance on my car ate into my ridiculously low wage.

I've got a office job now which I start next week

CheshireSplat · 23/01/2023 23:42

Hi OP

I know you were asking for success stories but I was in a similar position last year and took the plunge to the NFP sector from a brutal corporate job. Similar profession (law not accountancy). 40k pay cut but it hasn't solved the void I feel. I guess you won't know til you try but I thought this would be the answer to my need to do more meaningful work, but it hasn't turned out to be this way. I don't regret it because my previous job was making me ill, but the move hasn't solved all my problems as I was expecting it to. Adding in perimenopause and mid life crisis isn't helping to be fair.

DesignerOnCall · 23/01/2023 23:47

I'm an interior designer specialised in sustainable residential design. I love my design job but dislike the other jobs that come with running your own practice - hopefully 2023 is the year I’ll outsource the admin!

waterfallswillfindyou · 23/01/2023 23:48

CheshireSplat · 23/01/2023 23:42

Hi OP

I know you were asking for success stories but I was in a similar position last year and took the plunge to the NFP sector from a brutal corporate job. Similar profession (law not accountancy). 40k pay cut but it hasn't solved the void I feel. I guess you won't know til you try but I thought this would be the answer to my need to do more meaningful work, but it hasn't turned out to be this way. I don't regret it because my previous job was making me ill, but the move hasn't solved all my problems as I was expecting it to. Adding in perimenopause and mid life crisis isn't helping to be fair.

Thank you - I'd be a fool not to listen to all sides, and I appreciate you sharing.

I think I'd be in quite a similar position. The jobs I've been looking at so far would involve that kind of pay cut (at least), and I think I would be bitterly disappointed to feel still empty inside.

I feel like I'm searching for something, and work seems like the most obvious thing to tackle because I increasingly hate it. I can feel my motivation slipping each day.

There are things outside work I enjoy, so it's not as if I'm walking around in a perpetual state of depression. But work is definitely dragging me down, and I'm starting to think life is too short.

OP posts:
caringcarer · 23/01/2023 23:49

Foster Carer. I love my foster son. He has been with me since he was 5 and 16 now. He feels like my own son.

PousseyNotMoira · 23/01/2023 23:51

waterfallswillfindyou · 23/01/2023 23:41

Thank you so much - food for thought.

I've been hesitant to value any transferrable skills, so I think I need to reflect on this more and consider applying for jobs where I don't hit 100% of the job description.

I'm really annoyed at how many interesting sounding jobs don't have a salary banding - I can't figure out if they could be a good sideways step, or if I wouldn't be able to afford to run my home on them!

As women, we are often conditioned to devalue and doubt ourselves and our professional abilities. There was a study a few years ago that found men would apply for jobs for which they were grossly unqualified, while extremely qualified women would only apply for jobs for which they were 100% qualified (even a slight shortfall and they’d deem themselves unworthy). It holds us back and it’s a hard mindset to get out of.

When reading a JD, remember that they are describing their PERFECT candidate. It’s all in there, everything they want (although tempered to be within reason, hopefully). There is no expectation that they’re going to get that person. That person doesn’t exist or, if they do and they’ve any sense, they’re applying for the next rung up. Apply for roles that stretch and teach and prepare you for what’s next.

Also, if roles are advertised via an agent, ring them and ask them what the salary band is. If it’s the charity itself that’s organising sans pay grade, then they’re unlikely to be an organisation you’d like working for, anyway.

Peckhaminn · 23/01/2023 23:53

Wow. So jealous of all you lovely people who LOVE your jobs. I've had 5 jobs and still not found my niche. Starting a new job in two weeks. Really didn't want to take it but it's a leap of faith so hoping this pays.

Coasterfan · 23/01/2023 23:55

I teach adult social care to people already in the sector so apprenticeships, diplomas and short courses. I love helping people achieve their qualifications and move into the next level qualification and/or the next level in the workplace. I love seeing people grow in confidence and also meeting a range of different people. There is a lot of admin and paperwork involved which I love less!!

I also write courses and I really love this part of the job, all the reading and research and putting together something interesting and engaging l!

I am self employed so I get to do a range of different things under the social care training umbrella so nothing gets boring and every day is different.

if I won the lottery or didn’t need to work for financial reasons I would set up my own care company with outstanding training opportunities and double the money carers currently get!

sobercuriouskind · 23/01/2023 23:55

I'm a Senior Social Worker in Adult Social Care. I love my job despite how complex and stressful it can be at times. I work in a fabulous team and feel valued every day. I especially love supervising students on placement and sharing my knowledge, skills and enthusiasm for the job with them. I love seeing the difference I can make in someone's life, who is really struggling and to think of creative ways to help them to help themselves. I've been a Social Worker for over 20 years and it is who I am, can't imagine what else I would do.

SouperNoodle · 23/01/2023 23:59

NotRainingToday · 23/01/2023 21:39

I work in biotechnology, making new cancer drugs. As in, designing and creating new immunotherapy drugs (not manufacturing them) that are better than chemotherapy and better than other treatment options.
Quite senior, quite well paid. I love it!

I would love to just sit and listen to you talk about your job! It sounds fascinating!

hilariousnamehere · 23/01/2023 23:59

Self employed photographer, mostly brand shoots for small businesses plus some portraiture and self portrait art photographs.

I love it, I'm really good at it, and it's the one thing I couldn't give up and I'm fairly certain I'll never get bored with. Which, given I had 17 jobs in 12 years before I took my business full time, is something of a relief!

I have two other side businesses too, one I've had for ten years and one was a lockdown project with family.

Income is not at all linear, I don't love the admin and finance side, and the last couple of years have been tough, but I love what I do and am still amazed I get to do it for a living as well as for fun.

Definitely wouldn't give it up if I won the lottery, but would shift to being able to also work with tiny startups/charities who don't have budget but still deserve brilliant images for their marketing, I reckon.

VyeBrator · 24/01/2023 00:01

Museum assistant and absolutely love it!

The money is pretty average but I feel as though I'm being paid to indulge my passion/hobby.

I'm 13 years off retirement and if/when I do, I'll continue as a volunteer.

redshoeswhiteshoes · 24/01/2023 00:07

I'm a junior doctor, and even though the work conditions are not great, I do love my job. I had the option of doing something else much easier with similar pay before joining med school but still wanted to do medicine.

Teenagehorrorbag · 24/01/2023 00:10

I have done a number of jobs in the past that I really loved, since the early 80s. Unfortunately times have changed and companies can no longer make profits without really squeezing everything, so I suspect many jobs nowadays are too stressful to be enjoyable.

I worked in a high street bank years ago - we closed to the public at 3pm and once we'd balanced the books etc we could go home! Officially our hours were 9 to 5 but sometimes we left at 3.45! That would never happen anywhere these days.......Grin. The job was varied and enjoyable, and there were loads of us so we had a great social life! I think that branch has about 7 staff now where had about 50.....

I worked in a city Head Office in the noughties as an HR partner to senior business directors. I loved that job more than anything - had great colleagues and social stuff, good pay and bonuses, (loads of holiday, private healthcare etc), plenty of autonomy to manage myself, and freedom to work from home when appropriate. I also travelled all over the country and spent hours in hotels, so left when I started a family. But it was the best job ever - much due to the culture and some amazing managers. I also got paid to do my degree equivalent qualification as part of my role. I left in 2008 before austerity hit - doubt things are the same these days.

I now work 9 hours a week in a flexible role at a local secondary school. I took the job 12 years ago when I had young DCs as it was WFH / evenings, and I still do it as it keeps my brain alive, I meet people and I learn about the education system. The money isn't much more than minimum wage, and DH keeps saying I should quit, but I do really enjoy it (apart from typing minutes....) and love having an interest outside sorting out my family.......!

I'm very lucky that I've never had to do a job I don't like - it must be soul destroying. (I left the high street bank in the mid 90s when it all became about sales and centralised all the specialised functions). I do think it's harder these days, and money is more key than it ever was. I'm glad I'm older and out of the rat race!

Sorry - lots of waffling and no advice. No-one can advise you because only you know what you really enjoy doing. I'm an office and paperwork kind of person, my DD is 14 and is dyslexic and hates the idea of an office. She wants to work abroad as a tourist rep - horses for courses!

Good luck! I hope you find something you love.

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