For many of us, Labor Day signals the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year. While it might be just another long-weekend to most of us now, it began back in the late 1800’s as a labor movement to improve conditions for Canadian and American workers.
My understanding is that the Toronto Printers Union was instrumental in creating significant changes. One of the issues they were fighting for was the introduction of a shorter work week; more specifically a nine-hour work day.
After 3 years of lobbying, the union went on strike and marched to Queen’s Park in protest. While changes were not immediate, the “Nine-Hour Movement” began to spread across the country.
Today, Labor Day may be more about celebrating the last days of summer, BBQ and back to school, than a tribute to the labor force of the past. But those early pioneers have had a tremendous impact on our current conditions in the workplace.
Has Anything Changed?
You’ve seen the statistics haven’t you? Over 70% of the employees dislike their jobs and find them unfulfilling. Why is that? I suppose there are countless reasons why people hate their jobs…here are some that I hear about.
- a difficult boss
- office politics
- poor management
- gossip between co-workers
- never-ending drama
- monotonous duties
- endless meetings
- unmet expectations
- long hours
- lack of boundaries between work and personal time
- sense of isolation between work and company outcomes
- lack of recognition/ appreciation from boss
- not using strengths on a regular basis
Would you add anything to this list?
Finding Fulfillment in Your Work
If you are feeling stressed, anxious or discouraged at work, it could be due to any of the reasons listed above. But what I have learned is that fulfillment in our work happens when the following 3 things are present:
Passion: are you passionate about what you do? what do you love to do? what are you doing that causes you to lose track of time? do you love what you do?
Proficiency: what are you good at? are you confident in your abilities? what do you find easy to do that others find difficult? on what do others ask for your help? is there a clear connection between your abilities and your job requirements?
Profitability: do you feel appropriately compensated? are you making the income you hoped for or need at this stage of your life?
The challenge is finding work, whether as an employee or entrepreneur, that combines all three of these aspects of work. You can’t find fulfillment if only two of these are present.
Passion + profitability – proficiency = stress
Most people feel overwhelmed at one point or another, especially when starting a new job or business. But there are countless ways to improve your knowledge or skill level today. Formal education is only one way to do it. There is a book, podcast or online course for just about anything you can think of. This “First day of school” serves as a reminder that you’re never too young or too old to learn.
One of the best ways to manage stress is to be as prepared as possible. Set aside some time and money if necessary, and work on yourself. It’s a great investment. There is always more to learn so the process never really ends; embrace it. Never stop learning.
Passion + proficiency – profitability = a hobby
There are incredible stories of people taking their passions and turning them into a business idea. But not every hobby has a market. Sometimes a hobby should just remain a hobby. Maybe it’s so specific that it doesn’t lend itself to becoming a business. Or maybe, if you spent all your time on your hobby rather than Saturdays, it would become less fulfilling. Too much of a good thing, perhaps. Allow your day job to fund your hobby and your ability to enjoy it. That’s okay. If you’re not bringing home the income you want, maybe it’s time to consider a side job or business.
Proficiency + profitability – passion = boredom.
Some people know when they are children what they want to do when they get older. Some struggle their entire lives to find their passion. But just because you are good at something doesn’t mean you should do it. Doing something just because you’re able to or because others expect you to, could lead to boredom and dissatisfaction. If you’re not passionate about what you do, why are you doing it? I’m not suggesting that you quit today. But we have access to information and opportunities like never before. It might be advancement with your current employer or a new role within your current company. Or maybe you start devoting 10 hours a week to a new business idea…put a plan together…take action. Start something on the side that excites you and see where it goes.
What do you think?
Does your work bring together your passion, proficiency and income? Why or why not?
Feeling stuck? Not sure what to do next? Life coaching can help. Contact me to arrange a free 30-minute discovery call. Lets talk.