Seth Godin once said, “Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.”
The more I read, and reread that quote, the more it becomes entrenched in my brain as an idea that everyone should live by, hanging on to each word as a true testament for living the life we actually dream of living. Why?
We live in a world where the majority of our time is spent at work. Making money, paying bills, and living in a sea of college debt. I’m going to guess that 80 percent of our time is spent
working in order to live comfortably, while the other 20 percent of the time is spent doing things that we feel rewards us for all our hard “work”.
For some of us, that 20 percent is spent on a beach in the Caribbean, while for others it’s being at home where we can hypothetically relax, unwind and not think about… you guessed it, work.
Godin has a point, though. What are we escaping from, and what decision did we make that put us in a position where we feel we need to “get away” from the life we created?
In a conversation I had with my Dad over the weekend, he brought up the recent pool of
applicants entering the job field – millennials. In other words, yours truly. He had a subtle
trepidation about the number of incoming resumes with what some might call, career jumpers. Five months here, three months at XYZ, and seven months working abroad. Not to mention the switch from Finance to Fashion to Food Security.
With great curiosity, he inquired not only about job stability, but also about candidate
trustworthiness, fearful of how quickly someone can walk away from a permanent position. My response seemed to be somewhat defensive, but truly reflective of the society I’ve been brought up in.
In honest fashion, I told him if he was looking for someone who would be there long term to try increasing the number of years of experience required for the position — inevitably an older
applicant. The difference between hiring someone from Gen Y and Gen X is substantial, it just depends on what the job is and what the position means internally for the company.
Gen Y has been raised by Gen X, living with the hope that we can grow up and land our dream job – and we really believe it. That doesn’t mean we are going to end every job within a few months, unsatisfied with the position, reluctant about the field and angry about the pay.
However, we are naturally drawn to expect more from the companies we get hired by, and if we feel unfit or unhappy by the position, we aren’t afraid to make a change. We’ve begun to
understand that the 80 percent of our time is valuable. Too many times we see individuals land in a position, working countless hours for something they actually hate. They’re unhappy, but
reluctant to make a change.
I think the greater mistake is not recognizing you have the potential to control your own
happiness, and find a job that doesn’t have to be called work. Of course you’ll have some days where you can’t wait for the day to end – but don’t settle for that on the everyday. Ultimately, we want to be recognized for the talent that we have, instead of filling a job that really is meant for someone else. In my opinion, this is just a natural progression of the job market.
Maybe I am just optimistic, but at the same time, you can’t fit a square peg in a round hole.