I’m 24 years old. It’s been nearly 3 years since I’ve graduated from University. Following graduation, I noticed that a certain anxiety began to seep into the lives of myself and my peers: what do I want to do with the rest of my life?
As we moved away from the safe, structured environment of school and university, we were hit with the sudden realisation that the rest of our lives were left for us to decide. And this was terrifying. As we all entered our first jobs and got into the monotonous routine of work, this anxiety widened: do I want to do what I’m doing for the rest of my life?
The underlying issue was passion: Am I passionate about what I’m doing? What exactly am I passionate about? And how does this passion translate to a career that I can survive on?
When I asked people to describe their ideal job, the responses tended to touch on the following points:
Impact: People wanted to feel as if their work made a difference in people’s lives and had a positive impact on society or the world as a whole
Autonomy: For young, intelligent and ambitious people, rigid management structures and organisational bureaucracies were a source of frustration. People felt that they had a lot more to offer but were in an environment where that simply didn’t matter.
Money: Obviously. People want to survive, buy a house, raise kids and become financially secure. However, the view on wanting to earn more money is slightly nuanced. I know a lot of junior bankers who, despite having money thrown at them upon graduating, are willing to earn a lot less in order to have a more fulfilling job. This is not just for the idealistic reasons of wanting to lead a fulfilling life, but also in the belief that doing something you’re good at, and are passionate about, will eventually result in you being able to earn a large sum of money in the long-run.
But although a lot of my friends were so dissatisfied with their work, three years on, a lot of people I know have remained in their jobs. Some have remained unhappy, while others have become better at putting up with their work-life.
Changes in work culture have meant that the working day now encroaches into the night, the working week has blurred into the weekend, and down-time means being on stand-by. Your working-life is your life. And to dedicate your life to an endeavour that you feel no passion towards, hate, or at best tolerate, seems like a colossal waste of talent.
As your job becomes your life, hating your job can mean hating your life. It can breed such immense dissatisfaction with life’s current state of affairs and leave you bereft of hope for the future. The world’s once infinite possibilities narrow to the harsh present reality: the starved imagination struggles to comprehend anything else.
You start to wonder whether work is supposed to be like this or if you’re just complaining too much. One often concludes that the fault is in themselves and shift their efforts towards tolerating the situation rather than changing the situation.
Ultimately, you feel stuck.
12 Poems On Hating Your Job
It is always fascinating to see what people write about on HaikuJAM during the ‘in-between’ moments of their life. One topic that has regularly occurred is around work and what people feel towards their jobs. In the quest to find one’s life passion, here are 12 poems about hating your job.
1. “Bored at work” by Benjamin, Jee & Stefie
2. “Clockwork” by Olga, Pratiwi and Devika
3. “Untitled” by El Noche, Leela & Dillon
4. “Mountain Of Work” by TheSeriousClown, RitGen & Som
5. “Monday” by Zainab, Pandapuppy & Sofi
6. “Monday” by Heather, Alexandra & Kaylie
7. “Life Stops” by Merleene, Andy & Ryan-Lee
8. “We cast our nets” by Pey Pey, Gautam & Irfan
9. “Figuring it out” by Shabba, Tom & Khushneet
10. “Cups of Fortune” by Swarnim, Juliana & Kiara
11. “Work” by Crystal, Hani & Mark
12. “3 Idiots” by Praise, Pey Pey & Neer
Steve Jobs addressed this issue of finding your life’s passion and his main word of advice was “don’t settle”.. Specifically, he said:
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”
The thing that we always forget is how much of our life experiences overlap with others in the world. The default frame through which we view the world is exceptionalist: bad experiences are specific to me and everyone else has it lucky. The most humbling thing about the Steve Jobs quote is how the quest for ‘life’s passion’ is relevant to even those who seemed to have reached the pinnacle of their field. Moreover, ‘doing what you love’ doesn’t take a binary form. It’s something we must continually strive for.