Is your job really "you"? Does it make the best use of your talents and skills? Do you feel it’s the best way to spend your time? Or are you working strictly for the paycheck?
With unemployment so high these days, especially here in Nevada, you’re probably feeling lucky to even have a job, and perhaps a bit guilty for wanting to complain about it.
My friend Linda Molony, who writes and performs stand-up comedy under the name Linda Lou, worked for several years in the field of corporate outplacement where she taught job search skills to people who’d been "downsized" or "identified as redundant" or whatever the euphemism of the day is. As a result, she knows a thing or two about jobs and the workplace.
Today I want to share Linda’s perspective on how to survive your day job until you can make your living doing the things you really want to do.
For most of us, work means spending a big chunk of our lives in a place we’d rather not be. Maybe you’re "really" an artist or musician and need a day job to pay the bills until you can start making a living from your art. Maybe you’re in the profession you actually went to college for, but it’s not what you expected and you know in your heart that you’re barking up the wrong tree. Or maybe you’ve been in a career for several years and have come to the realization that the bloom is off the rose and it’s time to move on.
Ultimately, it would be wonderful to be able to make a living by sharing your God-given talents, instead of your apparent talent for tolerating menial work or a difficult supervisor. But the reality is, unless you’re a Kardashian or a self-made millionaire, you need to work so you can have some kind of quality of life beyond 9 – 5.
I can’t stress this point enough: Your mission is to get through those 8 hours in the most painless way possible while you continue to identify and develop your God-given talents and strategize exactly how you’ll be able to capitalize on them.
To do that, it’s important that your job doesn’t sap every bit of your time and energy so that you’re too tired at the end of the day to pursue your real-life goals. If you’re completely wasted after work without an iota of energy, it’s time to put out the feelers for another opportunity. On the other hand, if you spend every night channel surfing on the couch or wasting time on the Internet, you have to put an end to that right now. If you don’t, you’re not serious about making a move. End of story.
Okay, what if you really don’t like your job? How do you get through those 8 hours as painlessly as possible?
First, remember that no experience is ever wasted; everything fits together in the big picture of life. Identify tasks you do in your current position that somehow make use of your talents and the skills that are somehow related to your ultimate goal. In my case, the skills I use in my day job as a technical writer/editor help make my creative writing tighter and crisper. In comedy, you have to get to the punch line in as few words as possible—in tech writing, you have to express the content as economically as possible, too. See the connection?
Second, look for conditions of your job that you consider to be favorable. Maybe you have a short commute, a pleasant work environment, the ability to work autonomously, a fair and competent boss, awesome coworkers, the opportunity to play with the latest technology… the value you assign to your job depends on what’s important to you. Focus on the positive and appreciate the good. It could be a lot worse—ever get a pedicure?
Finally, be thankful for what you have. Never say you hate your job. The fact is, you can’t live without it or you would; you need the money and most likely would be in dire straights without the paycheck, right? So don’t complain about where you are right now; that’s not a smart way to spend your energy. Spend your energy lining things up so you can make a move.
You’ll find your job will be more tolerable when you identify what it actually means to you. You’ll no longer feel like you’re compromising your values; you’ll find that you resist it less. You’ll realize that you stay in your job not out of a sense of resignation, but as strategy; it’s a stepping stone to your next level of personal or professional development.
What? You still don’t know what you want to be when you grow up? Don’t feel bad; you’re not alone. The comedian Paula Poundstone has a great line; she says the reason we’re always asking kids what they want to be when they grow up is that we’re looking for ideas.
If that’s the case and you still have no clue, it’s time to become more aware of what your God-given talents are. What do people compliment you on? What do you like to do? What do you do better than 99 percent of the rest of the world?
The bottom line: Identify your talents and share them with the world, including the job you’re in right now!
Visit Linda’s website at www.vegaslindalou.com
Be sure to check out my new bestseller, Discovering Your Personal Power: 27 Articles of Inspiration, based on the columns I write here for Mesquite Local News. Available via download through www.Amazon.comand www.BarnesAndNoble.com
Nikk Zorbas is a performance coach, author, recording artist, and creator of "The Reveal, Dream Big, Never Quit" program. He splits his time between Las Vegas and Mesquite. His monthly column appears the first Monday of every month on www.MesquiteLocalNews.com. For more information, visit his website at www.DiscoveringThePowerOfYou.com.