The lifestyle pastors of professional America will tell you to find a job that fulfills you. Find your passion. Don’t worry about the money. As long as you’re doing what you love, that’s what matters.
I don’t find that to be helpful advice. For those of us who don’t really have a passion, the subway of indecision carries us along with no convenient stops. Sure, we stare out the windows at the beautiful scenery and consider the possibilities of our various interests, but none of them seem quite right. We get bored in the brevity of our attention span while the thing we thought we loved so much loses its luster. Perhaps the problem lies not in the imperfections of an average job, but the imperfections in us.
If you choose a job based on whether it makes you feel happy, you may find yourself wandering aimlessly for the rest of your life. Granted, your ideal job is probably one in which you take pride, which embodies your values. And if you can find said job, that’s great. However, if you spend our whole life trying to find meaning in the work you get paid for, you will easily miss the meaning outside your profession.
If I depended on my jobs to give me meaning, I would lead a depressing life. But I find meaning outside my jobs: in taking care of my body through yoga, in building relationships with others, in reading and finding new things to learn. I find meaning in drinking in the golden sunlight, in delirious dancing during an all-nighter, in wrapping myself in blankets. In some ways, it doesn’t matter what I get paid to do because I find fulfillment in other ways.
Yes, there are such things as bad jobs. There are toxic environments and disrespectful people. It is important to find a healthy workplace, and to do something you deem worthwhile. But you don’t need to make your job an ultimate goal, because there is so much richness in life outside the workplace.