It’s a question I’ve been getting asked a lot lately and I keep asking myself the same thing because I don’t really know. For a while I did some deep thinking about what I want to do but I couldn’t really think of anything that inspired me. What I want is to wake up in the morning and be excited to go to work. It’s something that I haven’t experienced in a while and I did a brain dump of what causes me stress and what makes me excited about a job. I found this really helpful to see it written down on one page because it helps me look for certain words in the job description and avoid ones that I knew didn’t bring me joy.
I remember feeling confident walking into my office at my first job after graduating college. I was able to multi-task and take on more work than was expected. After just a few months of learning procedures and the day to day, people referred to me as the go-to person and relied on me to have the answers. There were days that I stayed at work late because I didn’t want to go home because I enjoyed getting work completed. Over time, the job got easy and with my free time I realized how isolated I was being alone in my office all day. There were busy days during the summer season but the winters were long and it made me realize how isolated I was.
I left that comfy desk job with normal hours to work in retail because I could not sit at a desk answering phones for much longer. Those 9 hour days flew by and I didn’t mind the weird shift hours. The job was the right amount of repetitive that I felt confident going into work because I knew what to expect. I was surrounded by people who were there for stupid questions and encouraged me constantly. Over time, my bosses saw my potential and taught me how to be a leader and learn about store operations. I was being groomed to climb in the company and getting promoted. But those late nights at the store and working on every holiday made me ask if I was going to do this forever? As much as I loved waking up for work every day, even with those 5am alarms for those early morning shifts, working retail isn’t something I could do long term.
Then I was the customer, not the employee behind the register. I was making more money than I could spend and had a prestigious title that my mom loved to tell her friends about. It was a dream job and I was running around all day making things happen. When I was working retail, from the minute I walked in the doors, the repetitiveness allowed me to fold shirts, clean the store and ring up customers at the register without much thought. I knew what I had to do and the days were so busy that I didn’t have time to do much else. Fast forward to my desk job and I would walk into work with a long to do list with 8 hours to get it done. Some tasks seemed daunting and others couldn’t be completed until someone sent me an email so I had to wait with the task haunting me. In the morning, I just wanted to sit at my desk and slowly drink my coffee to start my day. Instead, I spent most of the day overthinking and my to do list only gets longer and longer no matter how hard I try to accomplish it all.
So here I am asking myself what I want to do. If I could describe what I’m looking for, it would be a mix of walking into work feeling confident, knowing what to expect and with fun coworkers. Is there a job out there that has that work life balance we are all looking for? I want to be confident but comfortable with where I am. Is there a way we can wake up early to enjoy our morning before we go to work instead of feeling rushed? Can we go to work to do our job and walk out the door at 5pm with still energy after work to do other things? Or even step away from our desk for lunch with friends without feeling guilty about the work that isn’t getting done…
I came to realize that the dream job is only there if you make it. That work life balance is only there if you put up boundaries. Those relaxing mornings are only there if you go to bed early and set that morning alarm. Create a list of what you need and what causes you to overthink. Find a way to create the life you want because the truth is, it is a lot easier to make it happen instead of creating excuses why you can’t. What do I want to do? I want to be happy and I’m going to find a way to make it happen. I’m just still working on it.