Recently I have embarked on the fantastic and maddening journey of finding a new job. I have been saying I’ve wanted a new job for a few years now as I wasn’t feeling very satisfied with the 9-5 I was working, however never really took any steps toward achieving that…until they told us our location would be changing to out of the city. Since then it has been a tiring and disheartening process as I scour Indeed and LinkedIn for any interesting postings. This has caused a sudden shift in my identity as I scroll through pages of various open positions that I would have never thought I’d like but now seem drawn to them.

I, like many people, have always been told that a 9-5 job in a big company is the dream and that being miserable for 20 years will be worth it when you’re old and feeble. As I’ve gotten a bit older, a few thoughts countering this mentality have started manifesting in the back of my mind and I don’t think they’re planning to leave any time soon, so I figured I’d share them with other’s in my generation who may be feeling the same way.

I don’t really like the notion that work should be laborious to be considered valid. Many times after expressing my dismay at my job, I’d been told that “you gotta do what you gotta do”, but I refuse to accept that. Of course, every job or career takes a bit of undesired effort, but there’s no reason why you can’t find a job you actually enjoy working hard at. At times I feel judged when I say I want to leave my fairly high paying office job for a smaller company that seems a bit more enjoyable to me, as though I’m insane to choose joy and enthusiasm over money. It has become accepted to equate money with eventual happiness. I say eventual because the idea is that you work hard to play hard at some point in the future. But what about the present? The moment we are in right now? Is it worth feeling underwhelmed presently for the possibility of feeling happy in the future? Anything in the future is hypothetical. The question is, do I want to be definitely miserable now or hypothetically happy in a few years?

I cannot deny that there are obvious steps to take in order to secure certain things for anyone’s comfort and preservation (ie. A home to live in, money for food and clothing, etc.), but are those steps always meant to be taken on a rocky road? A road filled with burning hot coals, knowing that at the end you might transcend into a state of fulfillment? For some people, that possibility is enough to trudge on, and that’s completely admirable. I am all for working toward a goal despite how difficult the journey may be. I begin to feel a bit annoyed when the opposite mentality is looked down on. Enjoying every stage of your life should not be seen as silly or irresponsible.

I don’t know what’s harder to come out and say these days; that I’m an atheist or that I don’t like working in an office job. The latter seems to disregard a very strong, wide held belief just as much as the former. It’s basically blasphemous against the “American Dream” to say a corporate environment is not for me, and I’m beginning to really understand the weight such a statement holds. Not only does it make me seem frivolous and childish, but many times it is taken by someone in the corporate world as condemning their life and profession. That is not at all the message I want to convey when I say it or as I write this post.

What I would really want readers to take away from today’s post is that it’s okay to want something different. Something different than what you were raised to think was right or what other’s find valuable in their own lives. We all have one life to live and it seems silly to spend most of it being unhappy and knowing it. Another one of my New Year Resolutions is to find a job or career more suited to my values because even if the hours are longer or the pay is completely awful, I’ll still enjoy waking up in the mornings knowing that there is a meaningful day of work ahead.