The difference between wanting to work and having to work

I grew up seeing people around me, regardless of their age, feeling completely disheartened about their jobs. Even though they loved their careers for some reason they made their jobs sound miserable; whether it was their boss, the company, the workload, co-workers or discrimination. Oddly enough they would still put up with it and keep the same job for years. When I asked why, their answers were always the same: “Most people do not like their job. But let’s face it, you have to get a paycheck somehow.”

When I entered the workforce, I guess, somehow some of those thoughts were still embedded in me. -Even if I don’t love the job, as long as I am getting a paycheck that’s what counts.- I lasted a couple years in with that thought, and I was completely miserable. I was going to lose my mind thinking about the fact that this was going to be life until I turned 65.

Having a job that I did not particularly enjoy, or even worse a job where my work environment was not good; and wait desperately for Friday every week just for two days off was not my idea of an enjoyable or successful career. When I knew deep in my heart that I was made for more, that I could give more, and that I could do something to change my life, and people’s lives around me.

But honestly it was terrifying, because all I could really think was that maybe everyone had always been right and that this was how it was supposed to be. And why leave something that is technically somewhat of a safety net? What if I leave and not find anything better?

But I jumped…and I can attest that there was something better. That my paycheck now feels like a gift, for something that I would do on my free time if needed. Instead of reparation for whatever psychological damages I’ve suffered from the previous month. That if I need to donate extra time, I don’t hesitate, because it is something I believe in. I see change happening and I see the good that we are achieving. Instead of counting down the hours until I can leave and wonder if this is what life will be like for the rest of 40+ years. I want to get up every day to do something that impacts my immediate world; and I am not desperate to skip work just because it is mentally and psychologically drainful.

There is a difference between having to work, and wanting to work. I am extremely blessed, lucky, and thankful that I took a jump without knowing what was on the other side, and now I am able to get up, excited to go to work, and tell you to jump too.

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