It’s no secret that the trend nowadays is to start your own business. To ditch your stuffy office, your boss, and pesky coworkers for FREEDOM. To be able to work for yourself, roll out of bed whenever you want, and go to the beach mid-workday. To be able to travel the world without ever asking to take a vacation day. I mean, that sounds AMAZING to me!
But that isn’t necessarily the reality of owning your own business or being an entrepreneur. That’s only what Instagram or Facebook tells you. Owning a business is constant hard work and long hours – at least in the first several years. There are no days fully off for a lot of business owners; even if you have a team, you’ll always need to be around for support in some capacity.
Having your own business and being your own boss definitely has its perks and can be extremely rewarding and fulfilling. And the fact is: it’s not a lifestyle everyone is willing to live. Some of us want to go to work, do our jobs and go home scot free.
But with social media and our peers basically telling us to hate our traditional 9-5 jobs to the point where we end up daydreaming about quitting and traveling the world (ha, I wish, too), it’s difficult to really feel like you’re in a good place. It’s easy to become cynical and to detest college degrees and wish we’d dropped out and started a YouTube channel years ago.
I’ve definitely been in this situation. I was at a point in my life about eight months ago where I felt like I needed to create a business out of every idea I had. The point was: I felt like I wanted out of my 9-5. I felt like I couldn’t travel as much as I wanted and I hated answering to people. And best of all: I started to question whether or not I even liked healthcare and public health.
But about two months ago, a reality hit me right between the eyes: I’m currently in a job today that I DREAMT about having just 5 years ago. Five years ago, I was graduating from graduate school and searching high and low for a job to start my career – I was frustrated and not getting called in for many interviews. I felt jealous of anyone who had a job.
This reality is what brought me back down to Earth and into a state of gratitude. I remembered where I came from and why I set out on this path in the first place. You see, when you’re consuming social media all the time, it’s easy to get caught up in what other people are thinking and doing to the point where their opinions suddenly align right with yours or you start questioning your own decisions and life.
It’s easy to want what other people have – or what you THINK other people have based on a photo or 15-second video. But, you cannot measure your career to someone else’s in real life or on the Internet. And, you shouldn’t love or hate something just because it’s a cool thing to do!
I was beginning to let all of those things affect me, so I set out to figure out if it was possible to fall in love with my day job again. If you want to start to love your day job again, ask yourself these questions:
Why did you first accept the offer?
And don’t say “to pay the bills!” Because there are thousands upon thousands of job ads out there. There had to be something about the one you’re in right now that felt good and felt like the right thing for you. Think long and hard about this. I remembered that I accepted the offer at my current job because I wanted to gain a certain skillset and I saw opportunity for growth and career advancement. Whatever your reason, this is the “why” that propels you forward.
What are your triggers?
What makes you see red at work? Is it the people? The terrible work hours and commute? Susan, with her annoying and untimely requests? The scant paid leave policy? As soon as you know WHY you’re feeling resistance or just plain grumpy, it’s much easier to get past it. If there’s something you can do about your trigger, get on it! Maybe you can switch your hours or maybe just setting better boundaries with Susan may help smooth things out for you. You don’t know until you try.
Do you feel valued?
Do you feel like your effort goes unnoticed? If this is the reason why you’re feeling like you hate your job, dig a bit deeper. I used to think that if no one acknowledged my work it went unappreciated and unnoticed. But, just because you don’t hear your coworkers or your boss shouting from the mountaintops, does not mean you’re not an asset. Asking for feedback is a great way to start a conversation about your contributions.
Are you burnt out?
If you’ve never been burnt out before, God bless! I realized I was experiencing burnout when I hated everything and everyone. I would be angry before even leaving the house in the morning and could not wait to get back home and go to bed. The very thought of having to put in any amount of effort was exhausting. And all of that can make you think you really hate your job. But, do you hate your job, or do you just need a break? Remember to ALWAYS use any days off or vacation time.
Are you enjoying your life outside of work?
Related to taking time off – what do you do in your spare time? Do you get home from work and plop on the couch for 4 hours every night? Do you spend your weekends binging Netflix and scrolling Instagram? Yes, working pays the bills. But understand that work is not the end-all-be-all. Also, work should not be something you tie your whole identity to. So get out there and do things that you enjoy and are good for you!
Is it time to move on?
Still feeling grim about your day job? It may be time to move on. If you’ve experienced no growth and received no appreciation for your efforts, it could be time to move on to another role more fitting for you. If having a 9-5 just is not doing it for you and you want out, it may be time to begin your entrepreneurial journey. Whatever you decide, make the decision for YOU. Don’t allow what Susie from Instagram is doing make you feel like you need to turn your career upside-down. And never compare your journey to anyone else’s.
Social media has a way of making us feel inadequate and it’s no wonder so many people are suffering from anxiety and depression these days. It has a way of making us rush and do a complete 180 degree overhaul of our lives when really, we may have just needed a small tweak or a mindset shift. Before you quit your day job and start a YouTube channel full-time, ask yourself why you started at your job in the first place. And, before you dive into the world of entrepreneurship, do your research! Don’t make decisions based off of what you saw on Instagram yesterday!
Quick note: this post isn’t to say that you should settle for less. If you want to start your own business and take over the world, do it! The world is your oyster. Just don’t settle for some other person’s version of a great career and life before consulting with YOURSELF first.