Why So Many People Are In Jobs They Hate - The Definitive Guide to Self Improvement

Why So Many People Are In Jobs They Hate

It’s gotten to the point where it has become the norm in our society to complain about your job at the end of your day to your friends and family.

It’s normal. This is how it’s supposed to be.  That’s how life is.  There’s no other way around it.  You can’t escape it.  That’s why it’s called work they say.

Somewhere along the line it happened.  It just did.  You took a job and you got “stuck”, but you stayed with it even though you hated it.

You dread the thought of going to work Sunday evening.  Your stomach sinks as you pull into the parking lot Monday morning.  You count the seconds until the clock hits 5 in the afternoon.

How did all this happen?  How did the young kid you saw in the family album, smiling ear to ear, without a care in the world, filled with hopes, desires, and dreams, how did it all go wrong?  Where did it all go wrong?  When did it all go wrong?  Can we track our steps back to the source of the problem?

To do that, let’s paint the typical life that the majority of people go through.

You come into this world as a crying baby, you slowly learn how to walk, everyone tells you how cute you are, you go to school, you act in a school play, you play handball, you go to middle school, your body starts to change, you get curious about the opposite sex, you hang out with your friends, go to the movies, etc.

Then high school comes along and you start hearing the whispers from the adults.

“What are you going to do when you grow up?”
“What college are you going to?”
“What are you going to major in?”

The college conveyer belt begins.

“Get a degree and you’ll be set.”
“College is the answer to career success.”
“College will get you a high paying job and respect from the rest.”

With all this constantly being preached to our high school kids, and no other options being put on the table, they automatically begin to follow “the path”.

They get into college as an undeclared major or choose a “safe” major until they decide what to study.

This is where the paths of each student seemingly start to diverge, but in reality, are all part of the same path that most people go on.

Some students go to law school or med school because that’s what their parents told them to do.
Some students major in engineering for the money.
Some students major in computer science because it’s the current “hot trend”.
Some students major in liberal arts.

Case in point, all of them graduate and they begin to reap the seeds they’ve sowed.

The seeds of conformity. 

And who can blame them?  They don’t even realize it until its too late.

The student who became a lawyer or doctor soon despises it because it was not his choice to make, but he feels trapped due to the enormous amount of loans he has taken out to finance his education so he feels he has no choice but to press on.

The student who went for the major that proves to pay the most money, soon realizes it’s not all about the money.  Money does not buy happiness.  It enslaves people.  It takes away time from them and their family.  The MTV lifestyle he saw does not exist in reality.

The student who majored in the hot trend is a mix of the above two.  He made the choice outside himself AND for the money.

Then come the students who major in liberal arts degrees, degrees that people on the outside deem as “useless” (i.e – “What are you going to do with a degree in philosophy?”) and they bitch and moan about how there are no jobs and soon realize that a college degree does not entitle you to anything.  They find that work experience and marketable skills comprise of the other side of the “college coin” that nobody ever mentioned to them.

And one of the most unspoken things about the glories of college education that inevitably “shock” college graduates is the debt they incur and must pay back after they graduate. The average is roughly the same as paying off a loan used to buy a brand new entry level luxury vehicle with no money down.

Authority figures ranging from parents, to teachers, to counselors had good intentions when pushing students toward the college track because that’s what worked for them, for their generation, but not now.

Case in point, there’s a lot of post college disillusionment going on these days and rightfully so because most people felt they were “lied” to when they were young.

A couple months after they graduate from college, they sense that something was wrong with “the system”, that it did not deliver what it had promised them.

In an ideal world the educational system would be set up to “fit” each person with their ideal job/career.  It might help identify potential entrepreneurs and encourage them to start their own businesses.  It might help identify potential architects, designers, analysts, etc.

Using this approach, society AND the individual would benefit. 

You would find the best fit for the best person while they are still young to set them on the right track and society in turn would get the best workers for the best jobs and the best entrepreneurs for the best businesses and the individual would be happy doing the work they were suited for, and doing a stand up job at it as well.

But again, that’s in an ideal society.

The educational system is outdated now.  It is failing our children.  It needs to be fixed.  Colleges are proud of the fact that they don’t offer courses that will help in real life.  And you’ll find that after talking with a lot of college graduates, that they never applied what they learned.

That’s not to say that all college is bad.  College is great if you’re specializing in something – medicine, law, engineering and then there’s the intangibles of college that also help – network connections, job fairs, life-long friends, potential marriage mates, etc.

The educational system itself hasn’t failed completely; it’s just the mindset surrounding it that has failed as it has become outdated.

If the educational system has failed to keep up with current events, where can the solution be found next?

Again, in an ideal world, it would be the corporation.

The more corporations begin to realize that more than 80% of their workforce absolutely HATE their jobs, the more they realize this hatred leads to loss of time and money and productivity, the more that companies begin to realize that happy people are productive people and that happy people are those who like what they’re doing, the more they will start to invest in products and services geared toward fitting the right people in their companies with the right jobs within their companies, and the more happier both companies and workers, not to mention shareholders, will be.

Again, in an ideal society, all this would be great.  But as we all know, we are not living in an ideal society.  The world is changing too fast and the system can’t keep up.

Up to a certain point, you can blame the education system and all the proponents of it for putting you on the college conveyor belt.
Up to a certain point, you can blame the economy for putting you in a job you hate.
Up to a certain point, you can blame “the capitalist system” in general for your troubles.

But the hardest pill to swallow is that it’s up to YOU to find the job you love.

And that it was always up to you to do it.  You were just too young to have realized it.

The trouble is nobody thinks for themselves and it’s hard to blame them because we are not taught to think for ourselves at a young age and it becomes that much harder to acquire this habit later on in life.

We are taught to conform. Individualistic thinking is discouraged.  It’s dangerous to have people think for themselves in society.

And it’s not a conspiracy.  It’s just the natural mechanics of any society.  Look at any society and you will find this to be true.

Nobody is going to tell you the kind of job you love to do and in reality, nobody can do it for you because only you know yourself the best.

You need to take some time to do deep introspection. Look within first, then without to find something that matches.  If you do it the opposite way, it’s a crapshoot.  You might get lucky but chances are, you won’t find a match.

The common thread here on why so many people are in jobs they hate is because they conform in the sense they are taught the “look outside and automatically accept philosophy”, not the “look inside, then look outside to see what matches” individualistic type philosophy. 

Imagine you’re in a shoe store and you buy a pair of rugged hiking boots that fit well above your ankles.

But you want to play tennis with these shoes.  It’s not going to help is it?  Plus the size of the shoe you bought is about 4 times too big.

Would it not make sense to decide FIRST what kind of shoe you want to buy based on the activity you plan to use it for?
To measure your size shoe to find the size that fits right?
To determine the color and style of it to match your own personality?

How ironic it is that we practice this “within, then without” philosophy when we buy our cars, our shoes, our clothes, but when it comes to something that we will be doing for half of our adult lives, we never apply the same philosophy. 

Some people still don’t understand the importance of this “within, then without self introspection” philosophy and they start job hopping, wandering around, hoping it will all work out.  Get some jobs as an administrative assistant, get a job in sales, marketing, customer service, hoping to find that “it” and while it may work sometimes, it takes a lot of time just because it’s like a blind man groping around every which way.  True it may work and help, but it’s a long shot.

Still others cling to their jobs they hate like life jackets, afraid to take risks, to leave the safe job, and further compound their misery by piling themselves up in debt racking up purchases with their credit cards after being led to believe from advertisers that it will make them feel better about themselves. They still have the conformity mentality.

So what to do now?

Nobody is going to show you the way.
Nobody can really show you the way.
They can guide you, but it’s up to you to do it.

The system has failed.  It’s up to you to create your own system.

The very first thing is to start thinking for yourself.  Question things. Question the norm.  Look within.  Start doing things for yourself.  This will be extremely hard because you’ve been conditioned your whole life to not do this.   Go down paths you truly want to go despite what your friends and family will think about you.

To help with your journey, here’s the very first article I wrote on the blog that garnered worldwide attention on the day of its release:

How to Find What You Love to Do

And the follow up book that was created as a result of huge demand from that article:

How to FINALLY Find What You Love to Do AND Get Paid For Doing It:  The DEFINITIVE Guide to Finding and Successfully Pursuing Your Passion

Know that your path may look like a zig zag to yourself and to those close to you, but look at from sufficient distance and you will see it’s really a straight line leading you to where you want to be.

We have to think for ourselves.  The sooner this is taught to our children, the better.  Unfortunately, it’s simply not in society’s best interest to do this.  Society functions well when there is conformity.

That’s not to say that the whole “go to college” mentality is bad.  There is a glass ceiling for those without a college degree.  Having a degree can open up a lot of doors and opportunities.

The point is to look within first, then without, in order to find a college and a major that matches accordingly.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with going college.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with not going to college.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with deciding to forge your own path after high school.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with any of the above choices provided it’s based on the inside – what you believe in, what kind of life you want, what you stand for, what you think you can do well, etc.

Some people lie down and give up, sticking to jobs they hate, and rationalize it any which way to make themselves feel better, but that proves to be futile.  Who are you kidding?  Your working life accounts for half your adult life and you’d be a fool to think it doesn’t impact other areas of your life.  Your health, your friends, your family, relationships, finances, etc.  It impacts all of it.

Would you spend half your day in an environment that is “toxic” to your mental, emotional, and even physical health and expect it not to impact your life?

I recently read on Yahoo that people spend $30,000 for a wedding.  Keep in mind that a wedding lasts a single day. In fact, it lasts less then a day.  They hire a caterer, wedding planner and plan for months, sometimes even years in advance and go all out.

It just goes to show you how powerful conformity is.  People will spend $30,000 on a wedding that lasts for a single day because that’s what others are doing or that’s what wedding planners tell them they should do, but they will not spend $30 to invest in books, articles, tapes to help them find what they want to do for the rest of their lives.

Self introspection and the ability to truly think for yourself is probably one of the VERY best investments you can ever make in your entire life.

Don’t ever conform to other people’s wishes.

Look within and life will conform to your very own.

Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someoneShare on RedditShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+