From the time we're young we're asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up?". It's cute to ask little kids this because their answers are never the devastatingly boring or unfulfilling jobs many of us end up in. Imagine if instead of 'A fireman! A gymnast! An astronaut!' Their replies were, 'A customer service agent who takes angry calls all day!' Or 'Someone who reports on murders and car break-ins!'. Not as cute.
I've never worked at a call center but I've reported on murders and car break-ins and it's not what I imagined I'd be doing when I decided during college I wanted to be a reporter. This is clearly an obvious part of small-market television so I'm not sure where my head was in the clouds, but we all have misconceptions about what our jobs will entail. Our expectations and spirits are so high when we start a new job but they quickly get brought down to reality by meetings, people who say 'We've always done it this way' and generic office bellyaching. It's so easy to get wrapped up in it all. In his book, 'Do Over', Jon Acuff talks about people who forget they chose to be employees and how it affects their sense of entitlement. Remember, he warns, the company doesn't owe you anything.
Does that make you cringe? I am exactly the person who would burn a book with a page like that in it, lucky for Jon Acuff and the book, I was listening to it on Audible making that actually impossible. To me, that's like saying if you don't enjoy being around your significant other -- just put on a smile and expect less of them and everything will be just fine. I think it's okay to expect a lot from your work environment and the people you share it with. It did make me wonder though, what if we treated our jobs the same way we do our personal relationships? When we feel stuck in a relationship, we blame ourselves. When we feel stuck in a job, we blame the job.
What would happen if you took it upon yourself to improve the areas of your job you disliked? What drives you nuts? Could it be fixed by a simple, frank talk with a boss or co-worker? I'm completely an extrovert but for some reason when people linger in a conversation with me at work while I'm trying to write it sends me into full-on introvert mode. Even after they leave, I fume for what seems like an eternity about social cues and how some people just don't get them. Instead of wondering why they're still talking to me when I clearly still have one headphone on to show that I'm 100% not committed to the conversation...maybe I could take the headphones off and be completely involved for the bulk of it -- then tell them I need to get back to it when I need to. Work is a strange place, you're thrown into a place for 8 hours a day with people you'd rarely spend time with outside of the office [except for those non-mandatory, mandatory office parties]. During workdays, I don't think I spend 8 hours awake with my fiancé, how weird is that? I spend more time with my co-workers than the guy I want to spend the rest of my life with. That alone should push me and possibly you to really evaluate the relationship we have with our co-workers and our jobs. Nobody would ever suggest you just complain about your significant other for hours on end and stay with that person, but with jobs we turn a blind eye. It's okay to dislike it, it's work! Should it really be that way?
*This post went a totally different way than I planned. I chose the quote in the photo because I think it's a great message; we get so laser-focused on who we are and what we are or are going to be that we rarely leave any room for the future to be unplanned. In 'Do Over', Jon Acuff said he never would have thought during his 20s that his job in his 30s would be to Tweet or blog because Twitter didn't exist and blogs weren't a thing. Who we think we'll be doesn't always line up with the real deal and that shouldn't be considered a failure...it's just life.
Have you read 'Do Over' yet? If you're deciding between reading or listening to it, I would go the Audible route, Acuff is a really solid narrator. What's your favorite motivational book to read or listen to?