We all have bad days. When I have them, I find myself asking a lot of questions. Why do I get up at 5am? Why do I skip breakfast? Why do I in a hurried frenzy spill scalding hot coffee all over myself? The immediate answer is simple. I have to go to work. But that’s only partially true. The outer layer of the onion if you will.
There are many reasons that we go to work. Let’s start with the obvious. Money. It’s kind of important, right? For me, it’s important in more ways than one. I give advice about money, so people will have more money, so I can manage their money, and in turn make money. Wow. You may read this and think that I’m obsessed with money. I’m not. In fact, I rarely think about my own money. I spend way more time helping others with their finances than I do on my own. Just to clarify, I’m not wealthy. It’s not that I’m in a position where I don’t need to keep an eye on things. I am middle-class America.
But there was a time when I agonized over money. What’s my balance? Why is every light in the house on? Gas is $4 a gallon!? It’s not fun, but I think everyone goes through it for at least a season. Some of us spend a lot more time there. Some of us never get out. The longer we remain, the more we begrudgingly drag ourselves out of bed and shuffle off to work. Let’s be honest, that’s no good for anyone. When your job becomes merely a means to an end, you are in trouble. “I owe, I owe, so it’s off to work I go!”
Wouldn’t you like to go to work because you believe in what you are doing? Wouldn’t you like to go to work knowing that you are great at what you do? Wouldn’t you like to feel a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment from your vocation? What if you went to work because you wanted to, not because you had to?
The truth is, there is joy in work! Unfortunately, we tend to miss out on it. It’s hard to enjoy your work when the sole reason for your toil is paying minimum payments and catching up on past-due bills. It’s hard to serve your employer, your co-workers, your clients, or patients when you are just treading water. If you are in this situation, I would like to challenge you.
Instead of feeling sorry for yourself and giving up, do something about it. Don’t resign to the lie that you will always be in debt. Work hard to get out of debt. Get help if you need to, there are countless resources. Don’t go on feeling like you are not progressing in your career. Expand your skillset and make progress. It’s time to get off the hamster wheel! It’s time to change the way you think about work. Instead of thinking about your job as a means to an end, think about the greater purpose you are serving. Instead of going to work to pay the bills, think about how you are using your talents to get out of debt, to take care of those who depend on you, to put others in a better situation.
You may just find that your change in disposition makes you a more effective employee, a more productive member of society. Work may be a means to an end, but maybe the end in mind needs to change. Remember, work is a blessing, not a curse. We were designed to work and find joy in our vocation. I’m not saying that our work should define us, in fact, I think the opposite. But we should be grateful for the work that is given to us and strive to do the best we can. There is more at stake than just a paycheck.