I’ve spent most of my life searching for that dream job- the one that would make me happy and fulfilled forever.
I used to imagine myself in various positions. Sometimes I’d try them out, other times I’d talk to someone in the profession to see what the day-to-day reality was like. But no matter how interesting they looked, I just knew that something would inevitably happen a few months or maybe a year in…
I’d get bored.
I know from experience that jumping around between interests is something I do regularly- every few years or so. It’s a pattern. I get really curious about something and I dive in with almost infectious enthusiasm. I work hard till I’ve reached a certain level of mastery and then I lose interest and move on to the next thing.
This used to worry me. I would stumble onto something new and think: maybe this is it, maybe this is the thing I’ve been looking for, the thing I’m meant to do! But sure enough, the pattern would continue.
‘Conventional Wisdom’ Tells Us that Boredom Should be Endured
People really do seem to believe that working an unsatisfying job is simply something that we all just have to deal with- that it’s part of life. I’ve heard things like: “no job can be all fun all the time,” and “we all have to do things we don’t like sometimes”.
But why? Why??? Maybe this is radical of me, but I do not believe that we should be required to spend the majority of our time here doing boring, menial work that doesn’t matter to us. It’s a complete waste of time. Time! Which is the one thing we cannot get back.
Am I Really Just Self-Sabotaging?
Getting back to my pattern of enthusiasm followed by boredom… What is that? Do I secretly believe myself to be ‘unworthy of happiness’?
I’m sure others have thought it. I mean, I’ve gotten shocked and pitying looks from people when I explain how after three years of law school, I’m not planning on doing the bar or being a lawyer… ever.
But you know what? I’m okay with that because I’m super excited for my next adventure. I know that I’m not self-sabotaging. You know what I’m doing? I’m listening to myself.
It might not look like it to the outside world, but I have indeed completed something. In fact, I got precisely what I had come for: a certain level of mastery.
And that’s what drives me. I don’t need to pursue one job for life. I feel fulfilled simply by tackling a new challenge and becoming proficient at it. That’s all I need. What drives me is the challenge of mastering something new. Once that’s gone, I have no further reason to stick around.
And you know what’s cool? Being proficient at many different things has it’s benefits. Even just running Puttylike, I find myself using most of the skills I’ve acquired from jumping around over the last ten years. I get to write, do web and graphic design, audio production (as I work on my forthcoming podcast), and even lawyerly type things like registering Puttylike as a business entity or applying for a trademark.
We Should Listen to Our Bodies
Maybe boredom a purpose. Maybe it’s our body’s way of warning us that we’re in danger. Maybe when we get that feeling that it’s time to MOVE, we should listen to ourselves.
Perhaps this pattern of jumping from interest to interest is not some sort of shortcoming, but a gift. I mean, we get to experience so many different things! How wonderful.
Chris Guillebeau says that “the time to leave the best job in the world is right before you get tired of it”.
And I agree. Lets stop perceiving the need to change direction as a shortcoming because it’s actually a really awesome trait to have.
How Does This Work in the ‘Real World’?
Okay, so people are probably thinking: should I just warn my boss when he hires me that I will be quitting soon?
Well, no. You could just quit a year or two in. Or you could look for short term contracts or ‘opportunity jobs’ with deadlines, like teaching English overseas.
But this is precisely why I advocate self-employment and unconventional lifestyle design. I’ll be delving more into freelancing and entrepreneurship in future posts. I mean, how amazing would it be to create your own dream job for yourself again and again? Yup. Pretty freakin’ amazing.