I’m a little embarrassed to say just how much happier I am now that I have a job I love.
Of course, only I would see being happy as a reason to be concerned.
I shouldn’t be embarrassed. Given the amount of time one spends at their full-time employment (that’s is to say, most of my time), it makes sense that if my job makes me happy I’ll be happy most of the time.
So why am I being hard on myself?
Because I’m a person who believes that it shouldn’t be your job that makes you happy. Your job should not define who or what you are.
At least, in my head I believe that. In my head, I know that’s true.
Ironically, when it comes to other people and their jobs, I believe it whole-heartedly. I see that their job is simply a way to provide for themselves and their families. That it doesn’t make them a better or worse person if they have the coolest job ever or no job at all.
I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to see that for myself.
Because even though I know my job is far from the most important part of my character (that my job doesn’t really have anything to do with my character at all), sometimes, usually when I’m working a job I don’t like, I forget that.
I’m trying not to let this be too painful of a realization for a couple of reasons:
1. I know that when you get right down to it, I have my priorities in order. I put my job somewhere in fifth or sixth place in terms of the things that are most important, and even then only because we need it to support ourselves.
2. I know I’m not actually a bad person for caring about how much I like my job. I do spend the majority of my day there, and I’m a better person all-around if it makes me happy.
I think the reason why this revelation is at all disturbing is that I don’t feel comfortable having my happiness depend on anything that could be fleeting. And lord knows jobs aren’t exactly rock-solid these days. If I’m forced to go back to a job I don’t enjoy as thoroughly, what does that mean for my mental health?
Fortunately, I’ll always have things outside of work to truly fulfill me. Things that if I didn’t have them, even a dream job couldn’t compensate for. (I’m lookin’ at you, spirituality and relationship with my husband.)
So maybe (probably) I’m looking at this all wrong. My job isn’t making me happy — it’s just contributing to my happiness. And I guess I can settle for being the type of person who lets her job contribute to her happiness.
I’m curious how other people feel about this. How crucial is the date of your career to your personal contentment? And once you’ve assessed that, does it bother you?