The Cost of Hating Your Job

It’s easy to feel trapped in a job you dislike because you’ve grown dependent on your salary, but there is a way out. Career Guide Lucy Watson suggests a different approach to the familiar questions of money and work.

How many people do you know who dislike their job, but fail to do anything about it? I’d wager – quite a few.

The sort of justifications I typically hear are:

“Personal fulfilment is all well and good but the bills need to get paid.”

“Career change is a luxury I can’t afford.”

“I’m just one of those people who works to live, not lives to work.”

Dig a bit deeper, and the typical limiting beliefs which underlie these reactions are:

  • Work is about bringing in money – not enjoyment
  • Fulfilling jobs don’t pay

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not trying to say money isn’t important or desirable. We all need to keep a roof over our heads, put food on the table and many of us will have family who are rely on us. (And beyond those bare essentials, it can also be kind of handy for buying the nice stuff too…)

But I also know people who live in £2m houses, yet buy their shoes in Primark. And those who own £20k worth of bicycles, but drive a £500 old banger.

So beyond a certain basic level, money is all about priorities. Hence the question we really need to ask ourselves is: how much is enough?

Believe me, it’s a very, VERY, tricky one.  It’s tied up with our life stage, our aspirations for the future, our attitude to risk as well as the people we currently hang around and work with (see my post on Groupthink).

It’s frankly way too big a question to do justice to in a blog post.

But to get a different perspective on the cost of changing career, I’d like to introduce a thought experiment:

If you’re working full-time, you probably spend well over 50 per cent of your waking hours at work or commuting. And if you’re under 50 without the luxury of a gold-plated final salary pension, you probably need to carry on until you’re pushing 70.

Of course those remaining free hours are not exactly free either. You’ve got to sort groceries, do the laundry, get the boiler fixed, do the washing up, make the occasional trek to Ikea –  and all the other general household stuff that few of us would consider deeply rewarding.

So the number of hours we have truly free, to invest in genuinely pleasurable activities of our own choosing starts to get remarkably few. (Quite how few depends on our family situation, work demands, sleep requirement etc. Personally I know I’ve often been down to under 10 hours a week).

So here’s a radical thought – what if you could double, triple, maybe multiply five-fold that hedonistic allocation of time?

If your work was doing something you loved or found deeply fulfilling, that’s exactly what you’d be doing.  Indeed if you’re aged 40, with a 45 hour wo rk week, that’s another 11 years’ worth of waking hours to enjoy (based on retirement at 70 and 16 waking hours a day).

So what would you pay for an extra 11 years’ worth of life to spend as you please?

If you are serious about career change and committed to building a fulfilling and rewarding career, I encourage you to contact Position Ignition for a free consultation to discuss how we might be able to help.

We also recommend that you take a look at some of these very useful resources:

  • Make Your Career Change Happen
  • 100 Essential Career Change Tips
  • Career Change Workbooks

Lucy Watson is a Career Guide with Position Ignition as is passionate about helping people identify and achieve their true potential. Prior to training as a coach, she had a demanding career in strategy, both as a consultant and in senior corporate roles. She sees her work as a career guide as bringing together her coaching and strategic skills to help her clients create their whole life strategy. She is by nature an adventurer who loves exploring the outdoors – although her travels are somewhat constrained these days as Mum to a boisterous pre-schooler!