You get up early, get the kids ready for school, leave for work. Work all day – you’re happy about the pay, but the job isn’t exactly exciting. You rush your lunch down so that you can attend a meeting that some idiot put at 12pm. Back to your desk, there are a lot of telephone messages and a ton of new e-mails for you to answer now. It’s nice to feel like you’re needed, but do you feel like “What’s the point to it?”
It’s quite a natural process, particularly if you’re finding life a bit repetitive and tedious, and all of a sudden just realized that yours is kinda boring. We should all have goals – but there’s a point where more money, a better car, a nicer house, stuff for the kids isn’t going to be enough. It’s not going to get you where you want to be, and that’s why it seems a bit pointless, because your real goals, the ones you have not yet realized do not involve those things. So you’ve sort of mentally checked out.
Have you always wanted to teach people? Always thought wouldn’t it be good to go to the other side of the world, raise funds, build a school and teach people in it? Or how about you would like to be in a position to give money away? To live above all the materialistic stuff, and just help people who need it? Those things are certainly close to my heart, and if your job is a means to an end where your goals are concerned, you’ll probably be more present and do a better job.
The thing is though if you really don’t like that job. Find another way – change yourself – look for ways to find funding, write to people and explain what you want to do. It only takes one to say yes, and your life is changed forever.
The thing is now, given this new purpose your time will be taken up finding out about it, what you have to do, what you have to learn, what is costs, where it is, who knows about it, if you know anyone, or know anyone that does. This makes life exciting – and let’s face it, its too damned short to spend it hating it – much better than you’re happy, and that you can make other people’s lives better into the bargain.
I don’t know what I want to do
You don’t know what you want to do exactly, but you do know that what you’re doing is not something you want to continue long term? In that case, you need to examine what you enjoy doing, or what makes you feel good when you do it. Sounds selfish, but really it isn’t. If you had ten times the energy because you’re doing something you love, its what you should be doing.
Or what if you know that teaching or leading people is something you enjoy but you don’t have the experience to do it. Well, you have the enthusiasm, so you’re halfway there. Is there some qualification you could do? Could you volunteer for an organization and get some experience? Could you straight out ask the people who fund this type of work if there is any way you could get into it? Can your existing skills be used temporarily to give you experience in your new purpose, so that you can transition away from it later?
I can’t afford to do that and keep paying the bills
This is the reality for most people, but nothing in life says that you need to work in the job that you’re currently doing to pay the bills. What is sensible is to find out what you need money-wise, then look to alternative ways to get it. Could you do what you want to, which would involve a small pay cut, but do it part-time, and then work some other job using some of your other skills as well? Are there grants for this that you could request use of – if so, what are the conditions.
Not many people will break away from the comfort of a paycheck to do something that may not pay well. And there are organisations that need people who will, and that means that there is an opportunity there, where people appreciate you, you just need to work out the bit that allows you to pay the bills after it all. It might be worthwhile talking to the organizations that do this sort of work – they might have some ideas for you that will help you to work it out?
It might even be that you just need a change of job – from what you’re currently doing into something with different skills. The same ideas apply – the only extra challenge here is if you’re getting paid there are probably a lot of other people with the skills who will be happy to work for less. So then it comes down to how much you want to do it. I recommend you go for it and work out the shortfall after. If you’re really good at whatever it is that you do, it might be that you could also set up your own business and do extra of whatever it is in your spare time.
Whatever it is that you really want to be doing, you really should be at least making plans to do it. Make those plans realistic – set out where you are now, and what you need to be where you want to be. And put in place action plans with dates to begin and end, cost, what it is, and then go about working through the list. You’ll be through it quicker than you’d believe.
If you’re into doing humanitarian work, I hope that someday I meet you and we build a school together, fund a big project, or save an endangered species that most people are unaware of. Whatever it is, live your dreams, but make them a reality.