It’s a Choice

The conversation was overheard. A young woman complaining about her life. Her personal life, her professional life. Nothing was turning out the way she had hoped.

To some extent, we can all empathize a little. There is not a single person I know whose life has followed the precise plan they laid out for themselves when they were younger. If everyone’s life turned out exactly the way we dreamed, we would have a lot more movie stars and professional athletes in this world. If my life had taken the path I planned in high school, I would now be a wealthy architect living in a mansion of my own design. Obviously, that did not happen.

I found myself listening to this individual lay out her life’s grievances to an older lady when the solution to her problems hit me. I felt as it lit up above my head like a light bulb in a cartoon.

She groaned comparing her life to others, “I talk to these people who work there and they love their job. I wish I loved my job.”

Before I had the chance to stop myself, I blurted, “Then do it.”

Hopefully, she didn’t hear me. Or if she did, maybe she did not realize I was talking to her. Either way, the answer to her desire was so painfully obvious to me, I could not resist vocalizing it. If you want to love your job, then love your job.

Love is a funny thing. We often think of it in two senses - something we feel and something we do. It’s more than that though. Love is also something we chose. If you want to love something then you must make the choice to love it.

Let’s look at it from another perspective. I do not love playing basketball. I am short, uncoordinated, and have bad aim from the free throw line. When I do play, I get sweaty and my back hurts and I would rather be playing NBA Jam on the X-Box. I do not love basketball but I wish I could dunk. Spud Webb is only an inch taller than me and he could do it. I can’t even touch the rim. Dream all I want but I will never be able to make a slam dunk without assistance. Even if I chose to do it, it will never happen. But I could love basketball if I chose to do so. I do not have to be able to play the game to love the sport, I would only have to decide to love it, then do it.

This is why the girl’s dilemma wishing she loved her job seemed to me like it had an easy solution. If you want to love your job then choose to love your job. That is a choice only you can make. If you do not choose to love your job, you are going to end up an unhappy employee - perpetually disgruntled.

But, but, but ... I can hear your objections. I provide an easy answer. In theory, it makes sense. However, we live in the real world and simple answers are not always easily enacted. Some jobs suck. Some are miserable mindless tasks. Some supervisors are cruel micromanagers. How can you possibly choose to love something like that? How can you just love something you do not like?

I cannot tell you how, all I know is that it’s possible. There are people who I love dearly and can’t stand to be in their company. I don’t like to exercise yet I love how it makes me feel. I love eating salad even though I hate the way it tastes.

And I love my job. I do not always enjoy my job but I still love it. I love it because I am good at it and my unique set of skills seems perfectly suited for it. Because there are a couple hundred people depend on me and I have a boss who trusts me. Because it pays the bills and puts food on my table. Because it allows me to support my children financially and emotionally. Because it gives me the freedom to leave work when I have a sick kid or meetings with a teacher.

Most of all, I love my job because a long time ago, that is what I chose to do.

Do you wish you loved your job? Then do it. It’s a choice.

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