Looking beyond your job

It seems that everyone wants to offer you one stop shopping.  Your cable company wants to sell you cable television, internet access, and local phone service.  Your bank wants to give you a checking account, sell you a mortgage, be your stock broker, and handle your life insurance.  And your supermarket not only wants to sell you any kind of food you might want, it also wants to be your florist, your pharmacist, your bank, and your video rental store.

While these attempts at offering one stop shopping can offer convenience, they don’t always provide the best goods and services, or the best prices.  When you want the best bread, you may have to stop at a good local bakery in addition to the supermarket, and the cheapest stock transactions may come from a discount broker rather than your bank.  You can get a lot from one stop shopping, but you can’t get everything.

Because we spend so much of our lives in our jobs, it is important to find a job that satisfies our own individual needs –  (Newsletter #7 A winning “Success Formula”).  But just as it is rare to find a store that truly offers one stop shopping, it is not always possible to find a job that satisfies all of our needs.  In such cases, it is useful to remember that while a job is an important part of our lives, it isn’t our entire life.

You don’t need to get everything from your job.

If you’ve decided what is most important to you, and can’t find a job that provides it all, consider what things you can get outside your job.  If you love traveling and meeting new people, you may find a job that allows you to travel, but if you can’t, perhaps you can find a job with sufficient vacation days to allow you to travel on you own.  If you have a strong social consciousness and giving back to the community is important to you, you may find a job with a social service element, or you may find that you are otherwise more suited to a different kind of job, and show your commitment through donations and volunteer work.

I had one potential client who contacted me because she was dissatisfied with her life.  Although she enjoyed her work as the leader of a new product development team at a technology company, she felt there was something lacking, and wanted my help in discovering a more satisfying career.  She was in her early forties, and was afraid that if she didn’t make a move now, she would be stuck with a vague dissatisfaction for the rest of her life.  But when I talked to her during the initial free consultation, I discovered that despite her professed dissatisfaction she actually loved her current job, since it met most of her needs – the opportunity to work on a variety of intellectually challenging tasks with smart people.  The only problem was that the job provided no outlet for her strong artistic instincts. 

Rather than working with me to attempt to find a new job that would use her skills, allow her to continue to work on a variety of intellectually challenging tasks with smart people, and would also have an artistic component, I suggested that she look for an artistic outlet outside of work.  She had always enjoyed paper crafts, and she decided to commit herself to taking at least one class in paper crafts a month, and devote more time to this hobby while continuing at her job.  She never did become a client, but I still count her as one of my successes, since she told me several months later that she was now happy in her life and her job.  She had it all, even if she couldn’t get it all at one stop.

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