hate your job

“Oh, you hate your job? Why didn’t you say so? There’s a support group for that. It’s called everybody, and they meet at the bar.”

~Drew Carey

On hating work…

7 years ago I landed an awesome job I hated.

I had just arrived in San Francisco after a year being a tour guide and running a business in Sevilla. Reverse culture shock had hit me like a pitcher of sangria at 5am. I had no idea what to do but I knew that all I could think of was going back to Spain.

I had all kinds of aspirations. Start this, run that, travel here, live there.

Then society set in…

“Ok Scott it’s time to get a real job. You’ve been playing in Spain long enough. Find a big safe company with a solid training program. Do a few years there and follow your career.”

I didn’t know what to do so I listened to everyone else. I found a ‘good job’ at the kind of big Fortune 500 company I was supposed to have. I was ecstatic. A real job that everyone could be proud of. Awesome.

The excitement lasted all of about 16 days. From day 17 on it was all I could do to not break a keyboard over my head. It turned out my job role was based on a process that was already automated for most of our competitors. I was officially doing monkey work.

I could finish my work in 3 hours (on a busy day). So could everyone else. But since I had to be there all day I found myself filling time with screwing around with coworkers, emailing, chatting and spending way too much money on Starbucks.

I learned from the best. The envioronment encouraged it. I was using 6% of my potential, max. The company was wasting their money on me and I was wasting my time on them.

Despite having realized all this two weeks into the job, do you know how long I stayed?

7 months.

For some that might sound short. For me it was an eternity.

Side note: OK so I may be making it sound worse that it was- I doubt it, but it’s possible. It was an important education for me and I’m glad it happened, so I can be sure it never will again. And if any of my old coworkers are reading this, I had fun working with you all. It was just the exact opposite of what I was meant to do. May our paths cross on greener pastures…

I do not want you to suffer the same fate.

Too many people do.

There are 3 times when you’re most susceptible to tuning out your heart and only listening to others:

1. After college
2. After grad school
3. When you get fired

If you are currently in any of the above stages, be VERY careful. Listen closely.

Transitions are scary. They are foreign so we look for guidance. The problem is we don’t know where to look. In college we spend four years studying something often as a result of some under-thought, 15-minute decision. Then as we graduate we search by two main criteria: money and status. Then we dive in blindly.

Business School is even more dangerous. You have even more money and status on the line (especially if you have debt). All your colleagues are getting fancy jobs (or seem to be) at all the big banks and firms. You can’t help but size yourself up against them. Since everyone else is going for the big job, scarcity sets in and you’re triggered to follow the ants. Not good.

When you’re fired, panic and despair are usually the first emotions to hit. This causes pure short-term thinking. Now money is the only thing on your mind. Not to mention the chatter among family, colleagues and friend groups along the lines of ‘oh I wonder what he’s going to do now’. We reach for anything we can find.

No one knows your success.

In all three scenarios somehow we lose our thoughts. Without knowing it we replace them with those around us. The problem is no one knows your success. They don’t have a clue what you want. How could they? You might not even know.

If you assume they do then ‘career purgatory’ is your next stop (as a client eloquently puts it).

Hating (or not loving) your job is a tragedy because:

  1. It doesn’t have to be that way–even if drastic change isn’t immediately practical, small changes can still make a huge difference.
  2. The world is better when people do what they feel they are meant to do–if you have a fulfilling day at work are you more or less likely to be smiley to the woman serving you lunch, or more energetic with your kids that night? That’s what I thought. Fulfillment is contagious.

Wanting to fire yourself downright sucks. Trust me. I have been there. I’ve also identified the road that got me there. I’ve outlined it below.

These are the actions and beliefs to avoid like the plague. While modeling success is life-changing, knowing what not to do (i.e. what leads to failure) is nearly as useful. Pardon the negativity but the world needs a massive pattern interrupt.

There is a place for your unique talents and the world will thank you for finding it. We all will.

Beware the following…

If you want to do work you love, do not do the following (or how to hate your job):

1. Do it for the money. You know it doesn’t buy happiness. It never has. Yes you need to eat, but contrary to popular belief, you can buy food with money you make from doing things that matter. It might not start out as big money. But if you stay true to it, it will likely become big. And if it doesn’t, who cares. It’s not about the money. It’s about fulfillment. Most things done purely for money, don’t provide fulfillment. Most fulfilling things you’re truly dedicated to, provide money.

2. Do it for the title or status. Who cares if there’s a PhD, MD or CFO next to your title. What people think of you does not effect long-term enjoyment. It starts from inside. If you’re doing it to sound good at a bar or at the sports club, that’s generally a sign to hit yourself over the head.

3. Do it because your family did it. Just because your three brothers, both parents and your uncle were doctors, does not make that your purpose. It’s just one of the unlimited options. Keep looking.

4. Do it because it’s the most prestigious job out of college. Do you even know what prestigious is at that point? That’s what I thought. You’re just taking someone else’s word for it. When I got out of college everyone thought investment banking was the best job ever. Right up until a few of them found themselves sleeping under their desks 4 days a week. Go for excitement, not prestige.

5. Do it so people won’t think you’re an idiot. So what if you wanted to be a neuroscientist when you were little. Now maybe you love teaching yoga and helping people stay fit. So what if your rockstar grades weren’t necessary to do what you’re doing. You know how to really look smart? Spend your time in a way that matters to you.

6. Only do work related to your specific job role. Big companies often have tightly defined job roles. If you are in charge of stacking boxes, are you really going to do nothing but stack boxes? Find a way to add more value. See if the boxes could be designed more effectively. Get creative. How could you grow any other way? My first job was nonstop number crunching but I loved branding and positioning, so I worked with my boss to understand how and why customers bought the products we managed. It made us both better.

7. Don’t understand yourself. It’s quite possible to go four years through advanced education, and perhaps through your whole life, without learning a thing about the most important subject. Take the time to know you. Do the work. That’s exactly why I created Live Off Your Passion. If you haven’t checked it out already, it’s worth a look.

8. Don’t try to learn new skills and become an expert in your field. It’s easy to follow in the haze of an inefficient workplace. Same thing every day. Do something about it. Find a way to do your job in 7 hours instead of 8 (or in many cases 2 hours instead of 8). Use the rest to make yourself better.

If you don’t have a job, don’t wander around begging for one. Go out and get some freakin skills. Attract employers. You know, you can job hunt while you become an expert. A year and a half ago I decided I didn’t want finance to be my only skill, so I decided to do everything I could to learn about online business and building a career around work you love. I now get paid real money to help people on just that. In many people’s eyes I’m an expert (it’s all relative). That only took a year. In many cases it can be much shorter.

9. Appear busy just to impress people. Either be busy doing things that matter, or leave so that you can do things that matter. It is not acceptable for presence to be a show of hard work. That trains laziness. Many large companies still do it because they don’t have another easy way of accountability. Work your ass off, show your boss what you did. If you have to stay then pick up another activity at work so you can keep growing. If ass-in-chair time is all that matters, do everyone a favor and quit. There is a better place for you.

10. Do work that someone less skilled could do. Just because it’s inside your job role, does not mean you have to do it. The possibilities with outsourcing are incredible. If you can’t outsource it, then find a colleague who really likes the task and trade with them.

11. Don’t use your strengths. You can waste your life doing things you’re naturally bad at or you can wake up excited each day doing things you’re naturally awesome at. Know your superpowers and use them.

12. Waste the company’s money. Don’t fill the rental car tank with Premium just so you can get more airline miles on your company credit card. I don’t care if everyone else does it. Treat the business as if you were the owner. If you aren’t willing to do that then go find a place where you give a sh*t.

13. Waste your time. Just because your job only takes 3 hrs to do, don’t sit on Facebook the rest of the time. Find a way to be useful or leave. Get better at something.

14. Stay if it’s miserable or because you can tolerate it. This is NOT a reason. Complacency and boredom are the mother of dead dreams. Figure out an escape route immediately.

15. Don’t get to know people in other divisions. You are not your job. You are you. Make friends. Learn what people do. See what excites you. If you’re about to fire yourself then maybe you’ll know where to go next.

16. Be around people who hate their job. This is the most infectious of all. Complacency breeds complacency. Boredom breeds boredom. Misery breeds misery. The good news is that passion breeds passion. You are the average of your peer group. Surround yourself with passionate people. You will become one.

Finding Freedom.

In just under 7 months, I learned to do all of the above. I was good at it too.

Then I woke up.

Once I hit my breaking point, I had to get the hell out of there and find something I could actually screw up (read: someplace I could have an impact).

I swore not to take another job for at least 3 months. Instead I went to school on myself. Then I found some inspiring friends starting a cool preventive healthcare company in Santa Barbara. I joined up as one of their first employees. I’ve been building and running businesses or working with founders and small companies ever since.

As soon as I started doing something that was me, I stopped caring an ounce about what people thought of it or how it compared to others. I had found my own yardstick. Nothing else mattered.

Having seen the promised land, I could never go back. You won’t either.

Listen to Yourself – Not ‘Them’

Don’t take what ‘they’ say for granted. They are not you. They do not have your same goals or values.

The topic of your life is much too big to model off what you find in a book, read on a blog, hear from a peer or get told in school. It’s fine to take those as data points. But refusing to do your own experiments is what leads to sleepwalking.

Wake up. Be interested in walking a different path. Then start walking.

Look for what excites you. Period.

It’s out there.

Hate Your Job? Need Help?

If you are currently stuck in a pile of meaningless work and desperately need a change, there’s a good chance our community can help. That’s exactly why we created the Live Off Your Passion Guided-Discovery career course – to help you discover your passions and build a career around work you love.

And as a fun side-note, it managed to win #1 Personal Development Product of 2011 when it first launched! We’ve since enhanced and built upon it numerous times, and you are welcome to try the course out risk free if you think it would help. Here are all the details.

Image credit: h.koppdelaney


  • http://www.perfectingparenthood.com Perfect Dad

    Awesome post. Being in a company where you are underutilized and unhappy is terrible! I especially love your point to not “Waste the company’s money”. I was in a job for a long time that was only ok, and I saw people make decisions they wouldn’t make at home — like not flying two hours later to save the company a few hundred dollars for a cheaper flight. It always enraged me inside because these people showed a real character defect. Be true to what you know to be right inside. It doesn’t cost anything and you avoid soiling your integrity.

    Very good post, thanks!

    • http://liveyourlegend.net Scott

      Love this quote of yours: “It doesn’t cost anything and you avoid soiling your integrity.” I am going to start using that. It is so important to think like an owner wherever you are. If you can’t, then go somewhere else. Simple as that!

      • http://www.transformationalmotivation.com Mohamed Tohami

        You are talking about me :) I’ve been in the exact same situation, before I finally made the leap and started to pursue my passion full time.

        I believe the worst job in the world not the stressful one. Too much stress will force you to take action and get out of the hell.

        The worst job is the comfortable, yet unfulfilling job! You are working less hours, doing a repeated process and getting paid enough. It is a very difficult decision to get unstuck.

        You should wake up for your calling. As Craig Valentine, 1999 world champion of public speaking, said, “Are you too good to be great?” Good is the enemy of the Great.

        Don’t follow a career. Instead, follow a passion and feel the pride.

        • M.Thomas

          It’s right. A good job is the biggest trap. Because it is very hard to leave a well paid but boring workplace. I’m in the same situation from 18 months ago… When I tried to get out, my salary was increased… and I’m still struggling how to quit.

          Never take a job only because it’s well paid!

          • Adam

            Oh man, you just nailed it. That is EXACTLY the situation I’m in. I tried to quit my useless job and my salary got doubled, plus bonuses, plus 100% covered healthcare for myself and my spouse. Every day is torture but I need to pay the bills. I’m working on the escape plan but it’s longer term and I’m trying to figure out how to stay sane in the mean time.

            I changed careers to get into this job and I can’t wait to change again to get out of it.

            Live and learn.

  • http://www.scottfox.com Scott Fox, ClickMillionaires.com

    Hey Scott,

    That funny Drew Carey quote got my attention and I loved the rest of this post, too.

    I did the same thing as you – super duper job right out of college but I was out of there after 9 months. There’s nothing worse than wanting to contribute but being blocked by your predefined place in a hierarchy.

    Luckily things have gotten better for me ever since. As Samuel Goldwyn famously said “The harder I work, the luckier I get.”

    • http://liveyourlegend.net Scott

      I loved that quote too Scott! I almost didn’t include it because I didn’t want to discount the post–Im glad I did. You clearly sorted your path out nice and quickly and I’m damn glad you did. Who would have thought that however many years down the road, that’s why this site would exist (other readers: Scott’s book, Internet Riches, is what inspired and taught me to create this site).

      Being stuck in the hierarchy is brutal. It works for some but if you’re an entrepreneur, there’s no way!

      Keep creating that luck. The world needs it!

  • Life’s too short

    It’s a real treat getting your emails. This one came at a perfect time since all I’ve been thinking today is that there’s not a single thing in my job that excites me. I’ve been here for 8 months and was planning to endure it for another few months but after reading your article I’ve changed my mind.

    • http://liveyourlegend.net Scott

      This is music to my ears! Sometimes all it takes is a little nudge to get someone over the edge and into a world where they can really put who they are to the best use possible. That is one of the biggest goals of this site. Congrats on your decision and keep us posted with your progress!

  • http://almostbohemian.com David William

    I’m sitting in my cubicle reading this right now, and damn I gotta tell you, I hate this job. I hate being in an office. I hate playing this game. I don’t get paid enough and I am killing myself staying here. I finished my Masters and now I have nothing left to get out of this place but a mediocre paycheck.

    I’m blogging about it now. My life. To try to escape my hated 9-5 life. I am needing to quit. I need a new job. Thanks for this post and for letting me rant. Okay I’m done.

    • http://liveyourlegend.net Scott

      I am sorry to say that this post had me laughing out loud David! I know your situation is critical (as is any where you are not doing your Great Work). But the fact that you are willing to write and think what you just did means that big things are surely ahead. Once the idea is planted in your head and you realize there is a better way, the transition usually isn’t far off. I wish you well with it and please let me know how I (or any of us here) can help. That’s why I’m here!

  • http://[email protected] Jacque

    Hi Scott,

    I’m a subscriber, and each time you post, I quietly read your blog from my desk at work that faces a wall. I am a college graduate, a poet, working as an administrative assistant — a role I had when I was 20. I’m 43 now, with 3 kids and a husband. I read your posts and feel inspired, and fired up, and incredibly…scared.

    Two unfinished Master’s degrees have led me to finally know what I DON’T want. So, I applied to a third program and am waiting to hear. This one is aligned with my passion, but is more school the right thing to do. More debt?

    I have not followed my passions. They continue to collect dust. I want desperately to do something else, but I have little mouths to feed now. My family should not be excuses not to leave. They should be the inspiration to get out. But how? Leo did it, and he’s shown us the step-by-step, but I’m still not seeing my path after all these years.

    Glad you have done all of this while you are young and you are sending out these positive messages to the world. Hope they settle inside my soul and grow something amazing. I’ll keep you posted.

    • http://liveyourlegend.net Scott

      I consider you my exact target audience Jacque. I am so glad you’re tuning in from your cubicle out there. You are who I’m writing to. I want to help you reclaim those dreams any way I can.

      As for your next degree, I’d give another read through How Business School Killed The Entrepreneur from a couple weeks back. If you know your passion (or at least have a good idea) then don’t wait another day to start spending time sharing it with the world. School is likely just another way to defer getting to work on it!

      If that means only a few minutes a day then fine. Maybe it’s through a website or a local school. Whatever it is, get started! When is NOW a good time?

      If you really want to put some concrete steps together, get in touch and we can make some things happen. It is possible. I assure you.

      I bet the world could use a bit more of your poetry…

      We’d love hear some if you are keen to write back.

      Onward!

    • Micky C

      I know this post was quite a while ago as was your post Jacque but I would love an update…

      Go ahead and make my day and tell me you took the leap.

  • Yossi

    Great post. We need to be reminded every once in a while that life is too short for us to live other people dreams. May we all find the courage and the place that will make us better , and by doing so , improve the world around us a bit

    • http://liveyourlegend.net Scott

      That’s the amazing part Yossi. When you live your dreams, you inspire those around you to do the same. The world is better as a result. That’s how one person, every person, can literally change the world.

  • http://www.stopandbreathe.com Jason from Stop & Breathe

    I’ve gone up and down this road a couple of times. After university I followed my heart and spent years living and working abroad, doing juggling, magic and comedy shows of all things. It was actually a lucrative, fun an exciting career, but with all of my travel I lost touch with family and friends. And forget about holding down a relationship for any length of time.

    I decided I had to “settle down”. I fell in love, married and started doing all the things I “should”, including a respectable job with a desk. I thought I was happy, but over many years I realized my dreams were slowly drifting away.

    I have now received the wake-up call and am making changes. It can’t be done overnight, but I’m always making progress and the dreams are within reach again – some of them I’m living now.

    Your post is a great warning for those who are following the path someone else wants them rather than their own. Thank you for sharing.

    • http://liveyourlegend.net Scott

      Jason, it sounds like you’ve been following your path since the beginning and that’s all you can ask for. You know when it’s time to seek something else and you do it. From what I’ve learned from you over the months, there’s no question big things are ahead!

      Next time you’re in SF, let’s get out for a swim in the bay for sure.

  • Matt

    Good article Scott, you really summed it up in good way. It is helpful to identify the problem. My first job after college, I hated it after the first year. We basically did the same thing over and over again. Finally when the industry had a down turn, I was “let go” and I had a hard time containing my smile. Others were yelling at the managers. It set me free. I stumbled into construction a few years later and it was awesome. Building things and creating is really fun and rewarding. I climbed the food chain and now I have my own company.

    But it has turned into this ugly beast that I don’t really enjoy anymore. So these days, I am reviewing my life and trying to get back to the fun days of carpentry and the art of building homes. I feel half as happy as I used to, and that is not acceptable.

    Some days I want to be a writer or policeman or go into sales. Time to look at my values and take the bull by the horns. Thanks for a great article, it has helped me to focus on what is important in my career.

    • http://liveyourlegend.net Scott

      Awesome Matt. I love hearing how you’ve followed your path every since that first job. As long as you’re always dong what fires you up most, I’d say that’s a life well lived. Sounds like it’s time for the next adventure. Perfect–enjoy it!

  • http://www.mediapizzabox.com Drew

    You really do write some quality posts Scott. Pinpointed exactly those moments when you let anxiety take over and make a decision based upon perceptions, instead of what you really know to be true.

    I’ve played this scenario out over and over again in my head, about graduating next year without a solid direction, and then taking a job that I’m “pretty good at” and can tolerate, instead of putting everything I have behind my own business/adventure. That’s why I’m working so hard on a couple of projects right now, so I can have something to support myself while I explore. I’m going to make it work. Not sure exactly how yet, but I will.

    I love how well you’ve positioned yourself. The hard work you put into this is so clear.

    • http://liveyourlegend.net Scott

      Thanks Drew! It definitely wasn’t always like this. I had less direction than you did out of university for sure. Then I tried some things, learned more of what I liked (and what I hated) and now I could not be happier with where I am.

      The fact that you’re already building things and know what you’re excited about is worth it’s weight in gold no question. Even if you have to get something part time or short-term to make things work financially, as long as you keep the passion alive with your project, you won’t let that fade and sooner rather than later your passion project will be your main project. You have some fun ahead no doubt!

      Please report back as things start to come together.

  • http://www.busyjack.com George Mihaly

    Hey Scott-Great post. It’s always fun to read when you feel that the blog was written for you specifically. I’m a 24 y/o college grad turned yoga teacher who recently got a “real job” and was “let go” about a week in. Fortunately, I left with a $1000 airline credit that was intended for a work trip, a few days paid vacation, and immediately got re-hired by the snack food company that I was working for before the desk job. I’m putting the ideas together for my second LLC and taking this recent turn of events as a sign for bigger things to come. Thanks again for the wisdom. Cheers -George-

    • http://liveyourlegend.net Scott

      My pleasure George. I love hearing how fitting this post was–that’s what I’m always going for in what I write. My wife quite the corporate world a couple years ago to become a yoga teacher and hasn’t looked back.

      Funny how being fired can end up being just what the doctor ordered. Take the medicine and have some fun!

      Report back on what you end up building.

  • http://savizsharing.wordpress.com/ Savi

    Wonderful post and your guts to start something your own. I have lots of guts and i changed many companies in span of 2 years. Just i was experimenting what excites me. Finally i landed on Testing profile which excites me but i am not sure about my passion. But one day i will find it…

    Thanks,
    Savi

    • http://liveyourlegend.net Scott

      Thank you Savi. It’s been quite the adventure so far. As for finding your passion, I plan to do a lot of work this year on helping people sort that out. I’d love to get more of your thoughts if you’re up for it.

  • http://www.livetowritewritetolive.com/ Werner

    I’m in a similar spot as David William in that I’m sitting in my cubicle reading this article. However, where David hates his job my position is worse – I’m complacent. The job pays very well, the work is easy, I’m surrounded by good people, but the work is boring. Like David, I hate being in office and I hate the politics and the galactic waste of time in meetings.

    This post provides the impetus I need to wake up and assess where I am and to find what I’d rather be doing.

    • http://liveyourlegend.net Scott

      Agreed that you’re in one of the most difficult and dangerous positions. The good news is that you know it and now you can do something about it! Start with finding something that excites you and spend an hour a week on it. I mean truly excites you. Then let it grow until that’s the only thing you have time for!

      Onward!

  • http://www.thedynamiclife.com Hugh

    What a fantastic post, Scott. I really enjoyed reading the entire thing. Life’s way too short to waste even a day doing something you’re not passionate about for someone else’s benefit. I forget where, but I just heard this quote recently and it’s about what other people think about us:

    The 18-40-60 rule. At 18, we care what everyone thinks about us, at 40, we stop caring what everyone thinks about us, and at 60, we realize that no one’s ever been thinking about us at all!

    Also, a typo from the grammar-geek inside me: …more energy for your kinds at night…

    Thanks again and keep up the great work!

    • http://liveyourlegend.net Scott

      You’re speaking my language Hugh and love that quote!

      Just fixed the typo too–thanks!

    • toedragg1

      I realised no one really thinking about me last yr on my birthday!!! hahaha, i sounds depressing but it was a relief and a powerful realization…I finally was able to pull myself from the center of the universe.

  • Marion

    You could add recently divorced to that list of susceptible times as well! Got divorced at 40 after being an at home mom for over a decade. Its taken me five years and I am just discovering your truths here. Not so easy with kids and a mortgage….but I am persistent and the kids are growing up and I am thinking outside of the box more and more.

    Thanks for the post

    Marion

    • http://liveyourlegend.net Scott

      That’s where it starts Marion. Once the seed gets planted in your head it’s tough to stop it. Impossible in fact. Let it grown and pay attention to the things that get you fired up. That’s where it starts. Congrats on taking the next stage by storm!

  • Lisa

    Thank you, Scott! This is a beautiful post, and it feels like it was written FOR ME. I’m planning on telling my boss tomorrow that I’ll be leaving my job – which I don’t like – in the near future to study something I’m truly passionate about. I’m scared and tormented by doubt – this post couldn’t have come at a better time. You are a true inspiration.

    • http://liveyourlegend.net Scott

      YES! Hat’s off to you Lisa for taking the leap. Big things to come for sure.

      So what is this passion you’re pursuing??

  • Stella

    Great post, Scott! I’m in a horrible job (I hate it!) – and, in this moment, I can’t leave it. You give me inspiration.

    Thanks

    • http://liveyourlegend.net Scott

      Permission granted Stella! Let me know how I (or anyone else here) can help. Happy to.

      Congrats!

  • Polya

    Hey Scott,

    Thank you for posting this. I am fresh out of college. You know what that means.
    However, I have been reading your blog, Zen Habits and other inspiring books for a while. Also, I have come across some great people in my life who made a connection with me and helped me dream of doing something awesome.
    Right now, I am surrounded by people who mostly do stuff to get by. I know that is not what I need in life, but it’s been hard to avoid thinking the opposite sometimes. A year has passed since I have finished college and everyone seems to be wondering why I am not working yet. Thank God, that I have parents patient enough to let me stay at home and try to find a job where my heart lies.
    It is spring time, creative energy is high and lots of ideas are brewing. Perhaps, I will find it soon…
    I want to be self employed, I am a visual artist, I want to be a performer, I want to become a yoga trainer. On top of that, I want to become independent enough to start a family in 5 years (yes, have a kid… that means getting married to my current boyfriend) and get myself a puppy, a kitten and a maybe bird. That’s it!
    And I really hope to inspire my boyfriend to search for a job that makes him happy. He has been a cook for the past 6 years, but he is starting to despise working in the kitchen because it sucks up your life and health too fast. Hopefully, we can lead a simple and happy life together soon.
    Wow. That was a rant! :)
    Thanks!

    • http://liveyourlegend.net Scott

      Incredibly excited for you Polya! The fact that you have a real vision is the biggest first step to sort out. And to have supporting parents is such a gift (I am fortunate for how mine brought me up as well). Now all that’s required is working your ass off and meeting as many amazing people as you can to help make dreams reality.

      Let me know how it goes!

  • http://www.livetowritewritetolive.com/ Werner

    I’d like to add one more to your list of times when you’re most susceptible to tuning out your heart and listening to others:

    4. When you have children.

    They often take precedence over everything else.

    • http://liveyourlegend.net Scott

      Excellent addition. Kids take precedence, as they should!

  • http://www.wordsprout.com/emmanuela Emma Mujica

    Thanks for the words of wisdom, Scott. It came at just the right time. Due to University budget cuts, I may be leaving a comfortable job soon. It’s a job that has allowed me the time to get to know myself and explore my deeper passions, but I’ve only been using about 15% of my potential doing work here. It’s time to delve into what I love and to grow to my maximum potential instead of getting stuck back on the rat wheel to nowhere.

    • http://liveyourlegend.net Scott

      Sounds like things are happening just as they should Emma–awesome! Any job that gives you a feel for what you love and what you hate, is time well spent. Now it’s time to put all those things you’ve learned about yourself to work! Enjoy and keep us posted.

  • http://www.stepanp.com Stepan

    That was a beautiful post Scott;I am left dumbfounded and I feel like a tool. It’s my last year of high-school–and after 7 semesters of working for those rockstar grades–I don’t know if University is right for me. I had business ideas and sold stuff ever since I was five, I loved websites and made money building a design firm from grade 9, but I still deluded myself into believing I wanted to go into medicine…I have 4 months left, but I don’t know if it’s worth it to stick it out any longer.

    I worry about my English marks fluctuating by a couple of percentiles and have trouble starting essays, I worry about AP Calc ( The only reason I took AP courses were because they were harder), and I stress over Chemistry, when I should be worrying about changing the world, providing for my family, growing my business, having fun with girls, and travelling.

    • http://liveyourlegend.net Scott

      The way I see it you are incredibly ahead of the game Stepan. If I were reading and working on the kinds of things you are right now when I was in HS, I can only imagine what I’d be doing right now.

      The most important thing is don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Just keep learning and doing the things that most excite you. Still find time for school and university because even though it’s likely they won’t be super helpful in finding your passion, they will teach you the importance of social interactions and working with people. That’s huge-and a lot of fun. Not to mention, you will have plenty of fun with girls in the process ;).

      Keep on your path–it’s a powerful one!

  • http://www.writechangegrow.com Thea Easterby | Write Change Grow

    Great post Scott
    I can definitely relate to the 3 times when you are most susceptible. Two of the worst choices I made in my career were when I was fired (thankfully that has only happened once when I was much younger) and when I came back from 8 months travelling overseas and really needed to earn some money. Definitely not the best time to be making important career decisions. Unfortunately I learnt the hard way!
    Cheers
    Thea

    • http://liveyourlegend.net Scott

      The good news is you learned! Awesome to hear you got out abroad to do some exploring too. Nothing beats that! I can’t wait to go back…

  • Philip

    Great post. I took three years out during college to follow a curiosity and loved every minute of it. I then went back to finish college and didn’t have a clue what to do next… so default thinking set in. I got a “good” job in management consulting and pushed to work with entrepreneurs to try to learn from them. Thinking back on it now, I should have just gone straight to work for one of them rather than trying to observe from the sidelines. Anyway, I got there in the end and now run my own business. I guess the point I’d like to add to your topic is the idea that the journey may not be linear and that’s completely fine. In other words, it may take a few goes to figure out what you want and you can only really know by trying different things. Also, what you want may be a moveable feast that shifts with your priorities over life. Kids is a good example of a priority shift as mentioned by a previous poster. That’s been my experience so far. The book that put me most at ease about this when I was starting the ‘trial and error’ period was What Should I Do With My Life by Po Bronson. Well worth checking out.

    • http://liveyourlegend.net Scott

      What Should I Do With My Life looks awesome. My wife has read it and I’ve read bits of it. I couldn’t agree more that we are not meant to do one single thing for our whole life. As long as we are doing what excites us (and we believe we are most meant to do) right now, then that’s all that maters. That will shift and morph with our learning and experiences and life events and that’s all great. It’s how it’s meant to be! The fun thing is that you never actually “get there”.

  • Aaron

    Hi Scott.

    I am a Drew Carey fan, and when I saw the quote, I nearly laughed out loud and proceeded to read your post. Your post spoke to me on many different levels, particularly when you mentioned how you “went to school on yourself”. I am in the process of doing that now, where I am making an inventory of my skills, my interests/passions and my job experiences to create a new career for myself by the end of this year.

    I am hoping to have this “inventory” done within the next month and a half. I am 41 and definitely in a job which neither excites or inspires me. Your post made me realize, again, how important it is to do what you love even when the money may not be there to support you. Keep up the great work, and thanks for writing this post – made my week!

    • http://liveyourlegend.net Scott

      My pleasure Aaron! You are in the most exciting place to be and congrats on taking the steps to go to school on yourself. Learn, experiment, soak it in and let it take you where it does. The fact that you’re committed to this path means only good things will come. Please report back with your progress and get in touch with me if there’s anything specific I can help with. I love this stuff!

  • http://www.nextsmallstep.com Albert l Next Small Step

    I spent a few years freelancing and loved the immediacy of being paid for a specific product. I also loved the freedom of not being beholden to anyone once a piece of work was done.

    I was eventually lured back into full time employment. I don’t hate my job and I work with some amazing people. But the very thought of being expected to work for 8 or 9 hours a day continues to rankle.

    • http://liveyourlegend.net Scott

      It’s hard to beat that freedom, no question about it. The good news is that you are many steps further than most in getting right back into it if you feel that current gig you’ve got doesn’t make sense at some point. Nothing beats having options–even if you never use them. Reduces stress if nothing else. Let us know if you decide to spin off again. Either way, it sounds like you’re digging what you’ve been working on. That’s the important part.

      Also, maybe the solution is working out a remote work schedule for a couple days a week. If you do good work and impress people (and I’m sure you’re doing both) then a reasonable employer will welcome it under the right circumstances.

      Get creative. What do you have to lose? Worse case is you’ll be back to where you are right now…

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  • Rafat

    Hi Scott,
    Your article is touching my heart, many of us having same feeling about there job, but we are having fear of leaving our job as others are fascinating where we are? same case with me i am just tired of my job of customer sevices, same routine work with no growth i have been there since 6 years but i want to do something creative something that is more valuable for me, a couple of days back i resign with my current position. I want to start my fashion designing bussiness but i am having fear as i am not experienced in this filed so will you help me how to cope up with my fear or inablities?

    • Scott

      That’s exactly why this site exists Rafat. I hope you’ll stick around for the adventure as we dive into it!

  • http://careared.com/ Careared

    This is an excellent article. I found myself in this same position when I was working as a lawyer at a law firm. I was one of those people that was way too influenced by others’ perceptions and ideas of my “potential” and playing along with that game led me into a career that I eventually discovered was completely incompatible with my ideas of a fulfilling life. I had a lot of law school debt to pay off, but I eventually quit my job and never looked back. It really disheartens me that so many people fall into the trap of work that is absolutely meaningless to them under the illusion their life will be great with a certain degree of money and prestige. I write about this on my website: http://careared.com/.

    • Scott

      Right on! Congrats on taking the leap and never looking back. Nothing feels better. Glad you swung by to share!

  • MSc. Student

    Hi Scott, i’m facing exactly this kind of conflict right now in my life.
    It seems that you’ve written this to me, lol.
    To tell you the truth, i’m finishing grad school, so we can just imagine how many people find themselves in this situation.
    Do you know what is really hard for me and it’s difficult to solve? This thing “find your purpose, find what you really like”. If you have the option to continue to grow on a field which is ok, and this can be even better in your phD overseas, or to choose some area you never tried, like the industry, what will be the best option? It’s difficult when you haven’t really experienced the other options, but still have to choose! Right? Should i expect some magic feeling and intense passion about something?

    By the way, excellent post! Keep up with the good work!

    • Scott

      Great question. When the passion hits, you will feel it, no question about that! But it does take a lot of experimenting and testing to see what sticks. That’s what life is for as far as I’m concerned. That’s exactly what this site is dedicated to. You might enjoy checking out the Find Your Why workbook that’s in the Epic Work Toolkit: http://liveyourlegend.net/email-updates

      Check it out and let me know what you think!

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  • http://www.paperklutz.com Gracii

    This article is nice. If you know what you want. I feel like Sisyphus, every day at my job, pushing the rock up the hill, only to be crushed by it at 5pm. I would love to change careers, but literally scared to death. I’m not afraid of hard work, just getting “blocked” and not being able to create.

    • Scott

      Well you’ve come to the right place Gracii!! I hope you join the community and check out the Epic Work Toolkit: http://liveyourlegend.net/email-updates. That will get you started. I’m here to help!

  • Rachael Malai Ali

    Love this

  • Marivic

    Hi Scott. Nice post! Congratulations! I am married with 2 kids in the Philippines. I came to Dubai to help my bro in law and his wife run their novice recruitment agency. I was very happy and excited taking the next step after my almost 15 years 8 to 5 job in a government agency. Since this is my first time to travel outside the country, I feel that my passion to earn more,start saving and investing in mutual funds for my family is just a step away. But after 3 months, i discovered a lot of the many wrong marketing strategies of the company, from 7 people, now we are only 2 in the office. My in laws always finds fault towards their staff opposite their battle cry to help fellow Filipinos (or probably an scape goat to pay few employees only, since the company has not had a gain for almost 2 years now. I have no enough money to pay for my ticket, with a very meager salary i get ( my agreed salary was not followed), one thing i am considering is to immediately settle our old accounts in the Philippines before i go home. Until one day, i thought of calling my former agent in Canada to pursue my husband and my pending application for a temporary work permit. She responded and my LMO is now in processed. Much as i would like to get out of the system, i can’t for i have yet to wait for the approval of the LMO so that I can apply the visa here in UAE (which is far more cheaper than having it applied in the Philippines. I am no longer happy with my stay here. I am wasting my time. I can’t even go out or engaged myself in some online marketing activities to augment my salary because their eyes direction is all at me. Well, I have to be responsible for this decission and immediately find a way out. I knew i will leave UAE by December this year or January next year, but the everyday situation of boredomness is tearing me apart. Wish i will be extra patient until that time comes.

    Regards..

  • LQ

    Thanks for this… I am literally sitting at my hell job right now and you’ve really given me motivation to change things.

  • Emma

    I’ve just quit a job I’ve been in for a year this morning.

    In the end I didn’t even have the guts to phone in or explain to them face to face why I no longer could stand to go in. I’ve become so miserable, depressed, anxious due to the repetition and mind numbing boring, stressful duties I had to go through every day. I’d wake up just wanting eight hours to be over and when you start wishing your days away like that I just know its not a good sign.

    It just feels like all my joy and passion for life has drained out of me. Reading some of your posts have rung so true. I’ve been through this before – left one minimum wage job in a complete spontaneous mess just to scramble for another one and to get stuck in the exact same rutt again.

    I live my fiance and hes so angry with me because he said its shows no care or responsibility to him to just leave without another job to go to but I honestly feel like I couldn’t stand another day in that place, I’ve just been so tearful lately.

    I hope I can take on your advice and not make the same mistake again. I really know what its like to hate a job! Best of luck to everyone in their search and journey,
    loads of love,
    chin up,
    Emma.

  • Sarah

    This article has truly been an eye opener for me. Instead of careers after college, my situation is college itself. For the longest time, I’ve heard nothing but “So-and-so went to college for this degree, you need to also!” or “Sarah, you need to get your degree in this to be successful!”. For too long I’ve been living by everyone else’s expectations and when I don’t live up to them, I hit the most hardcore depression ever. I have even considered dropping out all together when I started failing and actually, I have a window on my PC open right this instant in the process of dropping all my classes. But reading this, I forgot to take the most important course in college and that’s the course on ME! I have to live for me and do what’s best for me because they are not the ones that will be living the rest of my adult life. Thank you for the insight! You are in every sense of the word, a life saver!!!!

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  • Trixie

    Hi Scott,

    Amazing site. You verbalized everything I’ve been feeling these past couple months. Fresh out of Engineering School I got this nice paying desk job 5 months ago and it has been killing me. I just gave my two-week notice today, I don’t have another job lined up but I can’t stand another minute of it. My boss tried to get me to stay by saying that “everybody hates their job including me” and that “you just have to deal with it.” Your blog has inspired me to help him before I go. You’re never too old to get out of the mundane and pursue your dreams.

    Hopefully in a couple months the police academy will call me and I could fulfill the dream I’ve always had. Until then I’m getting a job that I at least like.

    Thank you Scott!

  • toedragg1

    This post is interesting, it is actually the first post I have ever left a comment on in my life!!! But it resonates with me as I am currently debating making a move. My situation is unique in that I actually love my Job, but it is hard on my body, it takes me away from my family and friends for 70 percent of the year and eventually I wont be able to do it anymore because my body wont allow it. So that being said I believe it might be easier to transition out while I am younger, then to wait till I am completely unable to perform and then attempt to sequay out. Its a very difficult spot to be in, and the anxiety associatted with not knowing if i am doing the “right” thing has robbed me of fully enjoying the last 2-3 yrs of what most would consider one of the greatest jobs on earth. It can be miserable doing your dream job too, there are other parts of life that should be considered. ..and maybe appreciatted even if your job is not awesome, if it allows you to be close to home, with family and provide resources to those you love, then maybe its worth it….

  • Sabrina

    Hi Scott,

    This blog was amazing! I too spent a year in a position I did not like. I felt like a “gerbal in a wheel job” if you know what I mean. My husband is in the USAF, and we are currently stationed in South Georgia. Before that we were stationed in Germany where we had wonderful friends, and I had a wonderful career that was meaningful and fulfilling. Since being here in the deep south, I decided to go back to school which I love, but it’s not enough. My friend who’s a supervisor at my old job in Germany wants me to come back. To give you a little background, have a career in the medical field, and I have two small girls. I loved being over there and have been thinking about taking the kids and leaving, and maybe my husband can meet me there or something. I don’t really care for this part of Georgia much. The people here won’t even leave their backyards. We’ve been here for almost four years, and I don’t think I could stay another year in this awful town! Do you have any advice for me? And oh, Spain is awesome!

    ~ Sabrina

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  • http://thruhikingonmymind.com Guy Picard

    Tell me if I’m crazy. Here’s my dream. I want to sell everything I own including my car. I want to keep everything I need to survive inside a backpack and go long-distance hiking for thousands and thousands of miles.

    This is something I’ve done before.

    In 2007 I hiked the 2,650 mile Pacific Crest Trail.

    Since finishing that hike, my life has been a mess. I have failed at every business venture I have tried because I just don’t have passion for whatever I do anymore. I guess I just don’t want to be in the world of “the sitting” anymore. I want to be in the world of “the walking.”

    The problem with my dream of long-distance hiking is that it doesn’t make money. It’s a hobby. Or, at least I haven’t figured out a way to make money doing it. And I’ve been searching for a way, believe me.

    So I have two questions for you: 1. Will your program help me? 2. Am I crazy?

    Guy

    p.s. Your blog is spectacular.

    • Deb

      Do what you’ve done best. Walk, then write about it.

      • leslie

        YES!

    • Leslie Winn

      What about doing both? When you are traveling, maybe you could be a tour guide for other tourists, then when you have made some money, move on to a different place and do the same? I don’t know…just an idea. I like the writing about it idea too. Good Luck!

  • Jen

    My Bachelors Degree in Political Science qualified me to find cubicle jobs that did not utilize my skills at all. No one cared about my GPA or my ACT scores. I was just to sit at the desk and get my work done. I would be done before 10 am everyday. Then I would be told to “look busy.” I asked for other tasks at the company and was told “no, it is not your department.” They were actually paying me to sit and surf the internet. I was not fulfilled. The only thing I looked forward to at my job was Monday mornings. I baked on Sundays and brought in baked goods to work on Mondays to share with coworkers. The treats would disappear very quickly and everyone thanked me. My passions were to bake and exercise and solve puzzles. I decided enough was enough. If I couldn’t have a job that utilized my brain power, I would find a job that utilized my passions. I found a job as a nanny. Its not fancy or prestigious, but it makes me happy! I can bake and be outdoors and do puzzles and games with children and help them with homework. I have been asked to interview for more desk jobs, but I will NOT even interview anymore. Money isn’t worth it. You cannot buy wasted time back.

  • Brad

    Not another self-promoting “find yourself” expert blogger sharing his “worldly wisdom” [eyes rolling] Find a job you love — got it. Do you think this is something new?

    Google Narcissistic Personality Disorder. You still have plenty to learn before you are qualified to teach anything.

  • Blues

    Hey for these of you that hates your job, come help me at the factory! We have a 15 minutes break and we can’t rest a single second at work, we have to be fast as hell. Or you could go to McDonald too heard they don’t waste their time doing nothing on the computer, they work. Man what a dream, doing nothing on the computer, reading cracked, blogs, video gaming, and getting paid for this! This is awesome.

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  • http://postgradcasanova.wordpress.com Dave

    This is a great post. I’m very impressed with the overall quality content on your site as well. It can be very easy to stagnate and get comfortable at a job you hate. It can also be very easy to listen to everybody else, ESPECIALLY after college.

    I just graduated with an accounting degree and got accepted into graduate school for accounting. Had a crazy summer, came to a lot of realizations, and realized accounting wasn’t the right thing for me. So I declined graduate school. My friends think I’m crazy, my parents think I’m crazier. It’s hard to keep ignoring their inquiries and suggestions, but I know I have to do it.

    I think uncertainty is a beautiful thing and should be embraced. I’m not sure where my path will lead, but I’m sure of one thing. I love to embrace my fears and face them head on, because that’s when I feel most alive.

    Right now I hate my job. I’ve started a blog as well, still getting a feel for it. My biggest obstacle will be to overcome my inner doubts and to brush off the doubts of my parents and peers. I’m excited for the journey.

    • leslie

      Support you!

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  • Agi

    I’m working as an admin in big, sloppy managed company. I feel I’m not using my whole potential like e.g. I could be a guitar player, or graphic designer, or teacher of foreign languages but then if I become one of them what about the rest- do it as a hobby? I’m confused. I’m planning to ditch that job in March because of my financial situation. Is that OK that I don’t quit now and I’m waiting instead? I don’t even know what I’ll do when I quit, haven’t figured it out yet and it scares me. I have many talents but I guess I need way more perseverance than I have to evolve to some decent level. I’m full of doubts. I really envy people who have done something useful with their lives.

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  • http://www.greatlivingnow.com/ David Loker

    Awesome! I found myself in this situation as well, working for a number of large software companies. I bounced from one job to another without stopping to think about what I really wanted. Definitely the pressure from family and society was a big factor. Great post! Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=509404716 Traci Strong Burnett

    Honestly, money is an important issue. Not making gobs of it, but being able to take care of oneself and family. My husband and I owe roughly $170,000 in student loans. I work for the federal government making $43/yr (before taxes). We also have a baby on the way, due in July. My husband as of yet has been able to find work of any kind. While I hate my job, and would love to get out I don’t think it is really feasbible at this point, and may not be for several years. What are some suggestions for someone in a similar situation to mine??

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=692432323 Sofia Silva Eastmond

    This is great. I’m currently in a job that sucks the life out of me. I’ve decided to leave and find work I love. The thing is, I don’t know what that is exactly, so I’ve been taking steps around getting clear.

    First, I turned to my network (people that I’ve formed connections with in different countries – friends, previous bosses, etc.) and told them what I’m up to. I asked for advice and asked 3 specific questions: what are my perceived strengths, if they could teach me anything, what would it be, and what do they see me doing as a form of self-expression. The responses were really awesome and detailed and there were consistent, inspiring answers around my strengths which got me really inspired and reminded me of who I am in a way.

    So now I’m at that interim stage. I know I want to setup my own business (don’t know what it is yet) and I’ve signed up for a course to help me get started, and at the same time I am looking for an awesome job where I’m surrounded by awesome people so that I am happy while I get my own project off the ground.

    I’m excited and at times confused, but I know it will all turn out the way it was meant to. Thanks for the inspiration, Scott!

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  • Dave

    Wow what an article. I put up with harrasment, discrimination, complete disdain for the job after the company started making major changes a few years ago & started on me for doing the right thing after being injured on the job & not getting legal help, trying to get back to work, trying to keep the job everything. I was extremely conservative, saved the company money on several occasions, tried to do more & turn things around & make them happy, always try to give more than could reasonably expect from someone, be more effcient, be more effective. Then after it was all said & done they came up with some excuse to get rid of me, just like I found out they had done to several folks in different places, most who were older, established, & very good & loyal employees. The sad thing is a put up with this huge insurance company that bragged about profitting over 2 billion dollars during a bad year for the first 10 mos only, while on the other hand punishing employees, terminating employees, not increasing wages, cutting benefits, etc. The sad thing is I put up with it for several years, trying, & trying to make things right, being loyal, giving them my life & soul for over 12 years, then they got rid of me. Saved them a bunch of money too on my pension, benefits, etc. & they found a way to get 8 other people to do my job by taking just a day out of each of their lives on a rotating basis & of course their benefits were much less, they had no pension due to their ages & hiring dates, they were paid much less, etc. I just wish I had heard about you 1, 2, 5 years ago. Funny thing 30+, 20. not even 10 years ago would I have ever put up with that at all, certainly not for so long. But in todays times with a family to support I did it sadly to say. Had a left even a year ago I would have been financially, mentally, emotionally, you name it much better off by a long shot, but I tried. Sadly to say I am not alone out there & others have faired even worse & it sad that this apparently become commonplace in today’s society. Huge corporations demanding loyalty, but giving none, nickle & diming their best employees to death & catering to the folks that no how to work the system & do, no respect for their good employees, you name it, while filling the coffers of a few at the tope that are not just bringing in good wages which would be reasonable, or decent profit, but bagging rediculous amounts of money, etc. every year over & over again. Something ahs to give somewhere. This cannot continue indefinitely.

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  • WTF

    I was a lawyer, then became a high class hooker for 10 years and loved every moment of it. I am now working in an office again and hate it, due you most of you people who think that your boring 9-5 jobs make you so bloody special and as boring as bat sheit like I am now.

  • Anna

    Thanks for a great post! My story is similar to yours – fresh out of college I got what I thought was my dream job. With unemployment being a real threat, I felt so lucky getting a real, full time job. And within the field I wanted to work with as well! After little over a month I started clenching my teeth and telling myself to endure. The long commute left me exhausted every evening, I had to do menial work which ‘stole’ time from the tasks I actually loved doing, and I quickly realised that I didn’t like my boss.

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