What is it that makes the ideal job? Is it the location? The salary? The people you work with? The responsibility involved?
As a 21-year-old back in 1999 I remember the lyrics to the song “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)” which told us all:
“the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t…”
As a 21-yea- old working as a Sales Assistant at a (now closed) water cooler company, it rang true, and today as a 35-year-old working in banking it’s still true.
There is a tipping point in life where you find you can no longer switch careers easily.
Your skillset may become increasingly untransferable, your wage may be too high to successfully switch to something new.
You may just find that no one takes you seriously if you haven’t found your niche in nearly twenty years of working. Not that that helps anyone. I never for one second imagined working in either sales or finance, yet that is something I’ve done for a long time now, and something I’ve had varying degrees of success in. But is it what I want to do forever? Maybe. With the right company. The right support. The right salary.
Historically I’ve moved jobs for a better wage only to find myself hating the new job with a passion, which has only served to remind me how important it is to be happy at work.
In fact, my current job was chosen primarily as it was a company I had a lot of faith and belief in, coupled with the fact that it was close to home. Had I have known today what I knew when I joined then perhaps I’d have taken a different route. I certainly wouldn’t have taken the massive drop in pay which still haunts my overdraft to this day.
But it’s also true to say that I don’t know - and never have known - what I want to do with my working life.
I often joke that I just want to be loved. It’s a sentence that slips out in a pitiful tone, and one that is never delivered with any sincerity, though I dare say it has a basis of truth.
I want to know I’m doing well at a job. Success for me equals happiness. When that success is missing, I hate working. Perhaps that’s the salesman in me. It frustrates me massively to see colleagues wasting opportunities. I bite my tongue when I hear the company talking about steering away from targets. I worry that the future holds bad news.
It’s ironic for me that at a time when my personal life has never been better, my work and finances have never been worse.
I wouldn’t trade the good for the bad, of course, but I wish there was something I could grab onto that I could enjoy and that would reward me accordingly.
For now, all I can do is listen to old advice.
If nothing else, I wear sunscreen.