One thing I’ve noticed anecdotally with many people in the generation younger than me – those who are currently in their early to mid-twenties – is an assumption that work should always be great and fun and rewarding. If it isn’t, something is “wrong” and the solution is to quit and look for a new job or even a new career. It’s a wholly unrealistic expectation, and if it’s not adjusted could set one up for a miserable career.
Everyone dislikes their job sometimes. Everyone has rough days and rough stretches. And I mean everyone. That includes the athlete or celebrity you look up to, the real estate mogul, the ultra-successful entrepreneur, your favorite teacher, or your successful uncle.
Recently, despite us having a great year as a company, I’ve had some of those days/weeks. There have been some employee issues, some shipping issues, some server issues. Most of the time I’m working on projects that excite me in one way or another, but there has been a lot of stuff this year that I’ve had to do just because it was necessary and I was the right person to do it. And, if I’m being honest, the next 3-6 months include more of the same, although hopefully not exclusively. I’m not all that upset about it though, in part because I know that each project that I don’t want to do is ultimately good for the business, but also because that’s just how it is sometimes and there’s no sense in obsessing on the negatives when life and business are pretty good overall.
I’m not suggesting that one should stick it out at a miserable job in perpetuity. Just that you have to recognize when a job is going to be less than desirable for a period of time, as opposed to forever. And to also step back and understand that sometimes you’ll learn a useful new skill or have a memorable experience or bond with a co-worker, even when you’re doing work that you’d never choose to do.