Do You Like Your Job?


NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- On this last Monday before Labor Day, as the summer lies dying and new school year begins for us all, a question has bubbled up in my mind: Do you like your job?

In my work, I meet a lot of people. Some are young. Some are older than they look. Most of them do not like their jobs. Some do, though. And it's possible that it has nothing to do with the job itself.

I had a drink with the marketing director of a very large advertising agency the other day. She's in her mid-twenties. That would seem to be a very good gig, right? She doesn't like it.

"It's a good job, I guess," she said. "It just turns out that it's not what I want to be doing." She wants to be painting, it turns out. Which I suppose is about as far from marketing as you can get.

A young man I know has a very good job working for a movie company. He loves movies. He wants to make them, in fact. But he doesn't like his job, either, because he "doesn't like to work inside." That's going to be a problem going forward, I think, unless he wants to be a farmer.

I heard some news last week about a young woman who used to work here. Since leaving, she's had about four different jobs in different businesses. She didn't like any of them. So she's going to business school this fall. I think that's tragic.

A guy sent a resume to me the other week. Actually pushed so hard to speak with me that I figured that to resist on the matter was worse than submission, so we scheduled a call. He's an attorney. Been working at it for 15 years. He's now in his early 40s.

You know what that means. If you're not where you want to be when you're 40, a certain kind of depression/panic sometimes sets in. He's got it. What does he want to do? Anything but being an attorney.

That seems to be a common attribute of many who don't like their jobs. When you ask them what they'd rather be doing, they get kind of glazed over and thoughtful, and then they tell you some variation of the theme, "anything but what I'm doing right now."

When asked what they are good at, they often reply, "I can do a lot of things." If you had a product you were trying to sell to people, would you put on its label, "It can do anything!" I don't think so. What is it? A breakfast cereal? A floor wax?

There are, of course, many people who DO like their jobs. They may not tell you so, but they do. Some are even attorneys, although not very many. The thing is, it's tough to say, "I love my job," because on most days, even if you love your job the details of it worry, aggravate and oppress you. Especially Mondays.

How about you? As we prepare to celebrate our national holiday honoring labor (as well as Labor), how do you feel about yours?

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