Wake Up Call: When You Don't Love What You Do

The title may mislead you, so let me start this post by getting the elephant out of the room: I do love what I do. I enjoy the hustle every single day and, while there are moments of frustration and setbacks, those are toppled by the moments of success and the potential for the future.

With that aside, I want to talk to the people who seem to feel either blah about what they do or just outright hate it. The inherent hypocrisy doesn’t elude me, but I have just had enough of people being unsatisfied so I’m taking advantage of my bi-weekly soapbox to vent about it.

We have choices everywhere, and it is just about time that we all took responsibility for our choices and stop letting our negative attitudes leak out and affect other people.

As a support person for our online scheduling team, I talk to a lot of different people every day, all of whom do different things. Many people love their jobs too, but others are almost always crabby and it just has got me thinking that maybe we need a wake up call.

I am guilty of having bad days and coming into the office in a bad mood. There’s no other way to put it besides owning up to it on those days. It isn’t my co-workers’ faults. Why should they have to deal with me acting like that? It feels worse to know that I let my negative attitude slip out and impact the office atmosphere. It does not matter how bad my weekend, night, or morning was, I should set my own standards high enough that I don’t want to let my mood affect other people.

The good thing for me is that those days are few and (getting) far(ther) between. And yet, for a number of people, they hate what they do and they only care to kind of conceal it when they go into the job.

These people often feel like the world has uniquely conspired against them. They may feel depressed, lonely, overworked, underappreciated, and constantly anxious. They feel like the ability to quit their job and really start doing what they love is always a few months down the road.

Because of these consistent feelings, it gets harder and harder to cover up the “bad mood days” so that the people around them aren’t negatively consumed by them, too. And so they try, but over time less and less effort is put forth toward trying and they reach the bottom of the pit.

I’m 25 years old and have, hopefully, at least another 75 years on this planet (although I’m going for another 225). Life seems really long from this vantage point and it would seem longer still if I insisted on making the journey a miserable one.

In case you’ve been holding your breath, I’m not about to give you the end-all cure for “How to be happy at any point doing anything”. This isn’t a build up to some great revelation I know about life that makes me satisfied with my day to day. This is a wake up call.

To the people who want to moan and complain but don’t want to take responsibility or make a change, no one is going to be able to help you. I say this as if this is a generic statement, but it really only applies to the people who, when they’re in a bad mood then the whole world is caving in and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. These are the friends who complain about something, you sympathize, offer a different perspective or a piece of advice, and they immediately jump in and say why that won’t work for them.

You know if you’re this type of person, and if you’ve just been waiting for someone to call you out on your behavior, consider this it.

No one can decide how you should feel about something. Only you can. When things go wrong, are you apt to take the disempowering perspective? If you do have a negative perspective on something, when someone offers you another way to look at it do you immediately dismiss it?

If that sounds like you, all I’m saying is it’s all on your shoulders to make the decision to start reacting differently. No one else can or will make the shift in perspective for you. That’s all you, buddy.

I love Catherine Collaut’s blog and one of the best insights I’ve gleamed of late came from her. She makes the point that while the grass may be greener on the other side, it is definitely greener where it’s been watered. You don’t have to be a Pollyanna and make believe that your situation is all hunky-dory when it isn’t, but when you notice that train of negativity going on in your brain, can you at least make sure that you’re doing something to water your grass so it’s greener later on?

Another good phrase to live by (and in a similar theme) is it doesn’t matter if the glass is half full or half empty so long as you have a pitcher to fill it up. That’s from happiness expert Shawn Anchor and it has stuck with me ever since I first heard it.

Because, it’s so true, right? We get so caught up in the current situation (the glass that’s in front of us) that we miss the opportunities that are within easy reach (the pitcher in the middle of the table).

So I know I said I wouldn’t give an end-all cure to this pre-disposition for negativity (and I won’t because I don’t claim to have one) but I will just go ahead and offer two pieces of advice for how to move along the path of making these shifts.

Own up to your decisions

Own up to your decisions

Advice #1: Start owning up to your choices

Whether you’ve made the right choice in a given situation or a horribly wrong choice, own it. The choices are yours and you shouldn’t give those choices away by blaming the extenuating circumstances on someone else just because you didn’t (ultimately) like the outcome.

Owning up to your own choices is one of the biggest steps any person can take toward self-empowerment. Don’t give that up just because you’re embarrassed of the choices you made and their effects. At least you made a choice! That alone is empowering.

It may not have been a great choice, but it was yours! Use it to your advantage. Learn from it. Grow from it. Just don’t give it away.

Go against the grain and be optimistic

Go against the grain and be optimistic

Advice #2: Stop validating others when they’re letting their own bad days negatively affect everyone else

I don’t really know what sparked the new trend of saying “haters-gonna-hate”, but I would like to turn it on its head and say “likers-gonna-like”.

There’s this odd phenomenon with people that exhibits itself in two ways: (1) your roommate comes home from a long day and is going on and on about how awful people were at work, the traffic, the cashier at the grocery store. You respond in kind with “ugh, I know people on the road are just idiots. My day sucked too”. I think they call this misery loves company.

The second phenomenon happens when: (2) your roommate comes home and has had an awesome day; she/he got a great review, traffic was pretty light, and is feeling great. You respond with “well, I could just never get a review like that because of XYZ and traffic’s never light for me because of the direction I come from.” I don’t know what they call this exactly, but let’s just go with total buzzkill.

I would like to propose that there’s always a third option available for you here, too. By taking it, you’ll be watering your grass or refilling your cup (whichever analogy works for you). No matter what kind of day your roommate has had, you can respond in a way that brings both of you to a higher level.

When your roommate comes home from a bad day, don’t validate it by all the ways your day went wrong to. Figure out a way to express empathy without identifying with their misery. Instead of parroting your roommate, just say “I feel ya. Glad you’re home now and can find some time to relax! Home is your haven!”

When your roommate comes home from a good day and you’ve had a less than optimal one, instead of trying to bring him/her down with you, see their good day as a ladder you have the opportunity to climb up. See it as a chance for you to celebrate something because a person you’re close to is happy. We can feed off of people’s happy emotions just as easily as we can feed off people’s negative emotions. We just have to give up our want to identify so strongly with how bad the world seems on rough days.

So while haters may hate, go ahead and be a liker and bring people up a level.

If you are having a down in the dumps kind of day and this post hasn’t rung a bell for you to choose to be a better version of yourself, that’s on you. You can make the choice at any time to be the type of person who brings the world up a notch, but make no mistake: only you can make that choice.

I hope you’ve enjoyed your wake up call.