Have you ever felt like your days are never enough? Have you had nights when you keep postponing bedtime because you feel like you haven’t done anything during the day that made you happy? No matter how significant your job is for society, have you ever felt like you’d rather spend your time doing something else? Have you? I have. Everyday, for the past 6 years.
Today is a conversation about having a job I do not love. I will be sharing about how I started it, keep up with it, survive it, ace it and how I plan my my future with it. Read ahead!
Many People are Forced to Jobs They do not Love
I envy those who are doing what they enjoy and love the most everyday. If you are one those who are doing your dream job right now, you are one of the lucky ones. You see, most of the time, majority of the people in our society are forced to take up jobs they never even imagined doing in their wildest dreams. This issue is multi-faceted. There are gazillion reasons why this happen to people, but in my opinion, the most common cause is poverty. To iterate, how many poor people are forced into being a Sex Worker to afford their daily meals? How many middle class people are forced into in-demand jobs abroad such as being a Caregiver or Domestic Helper just to provide a better life for their families? How many rich people are forced into becoming a CEO of their own company just to continue the legacy of their family? Too many and unfortunately, I am one of the them.
I currently work as a Software Engineer in Japan. I might be jutting down my bitterness about my job right now, but I am not complaining because despite my situation, I am completely aware that I am quite luckier compared to others who have the same problems like mine. This article is never about complaining and bitterness. This article is about hope, and I hope you look at it that way, too.
How did I ever come to be a Software Engineer? Well, let me start by saying that I was born into a poor family. Long story short, people like me can only successfully graduate through college with the help of free education, scholarships, part-time jobs, or charity from relatives. I got and did all four. When I got accepted in the University of the Philippines Cebu, the only scholarships available are for BS Mathematics and BS Computer Science. I’m quite a Jack of all Trades type of person, but I have the least interest in the Sciences. But again, people like me do not have the luxury to choose, and so I forced myself to BS Computer Science for the whole 4 years of college. ComSci is not an easy course and everytime our college professors tell us; “If you don’t like the course, shift!” Easy for them to say. I just sucked it all in and fought with all of my might. I finished strong because I should.
I tried to Escape
After graduation, I tried to escape. I wanted to give myself the chance of doing something else. After 4 years of studying ComSci, I concluded that I cannot imagine my life doing it forever. So I applied for Master’s Degree scholarships abroad. While doing that, I got a job at a Call Center company to generate income because after all, I am the breadwinner of the family. In the end, it all failed. My plan to escape failed because the truth dawned on me again. As the breadwinner of the family, I need an income that will be able to support our needs. After 4 months, I woke up from my delusions. I am well-aware that the IT industry pays well, and all I need to do is go back to ComSci, commit to it. So I did.
I pushed through my journey as mighty as I could. From the very beginning, I was well-aware that I didn’t like the job, but I also know that I still need to be competent with it and that I also need to enjoy, to be able to survive this journey with flying colors. With that, instead of planning how to escape my destiny, I planned on how to survive as easily as possible.
Surviving a Job I do not Love
Quitting is not an issue for some people. Many have the luxury of quitting and starting from scratch again. However, there are people like me who cannot afford to quit. I couldn’t afford to take unpredictable risks. Quitting for me means not putting a hot meal in the stomach of my family, not being able to pay for the education of my sister, not being able to pay the debts of my parents, and many more. And so I pushed on because for now, I know I just need to survive.
In the past 6 years, I can conclude that there are 3 ways to survive a job you do not love, and these are:
1. Master Your Job
I know. It’s difficult to bring yourself to study about your job if you do not love it. I was like this for 4 years, I was hesitant and I didn’t like digging more about the job. I just do what I am expected to do in the moment and then I forget everything when the job is done. Because yes, I didn’t care. That hesitancy and that procrastination to learn, led me to difficult moments; I hated the job more because I didn’t have the expertise. Tasks are harder to do because again, I don’t have or I easily forgot the knowledge. I dreaded that 4 years. I didn’t have the motivation to be excellent in my job, and that sprung to other difficult challenges.
It was 2018 when I realized that tasks become easier when you master the knowledge of it. It was my Japanese mentor who made me realized that. So I started striving to become excellent in programming, in testing, and in everything that the job requires. I spent 1 year of rigorous study, and after that, everyday at the job seemed easier, lighter inside. I no longer feared Code Reviews because I can now easily explain my work. I no longer feared Research and Development because I already have the skills for it. Of course, I still didn’t like the job but everyday at work became easier to bear. So, master your job. You may not like doing your tasks but at least these tasks will become easier and faster to do when you have mastered the skills for it.
2. Create Your Passion Projects
Passion projects are individual initiatives fueled by things you are actually passionate of. For us whose passion are not in our jobs, we require an outlet where you can pour ourselves into during our free time. This is the purpose of Passion Projects.
Passion Projects need not be extravagant. These can be small things like Gardening or big projects like creating your own non-profit organization. These projects can be anything as long as they make you happy. As for me, I am a Multipotentialite, meaning I have a lot of interests and I am passionate about a lot of things. So, I manage my time to do things that I love. For example, I publish blogs weekly, I study languages everyday, I push for my advocacy for the Education, Human Rights and the Environment in between, and I study Music over the weekend.
Create your Passion Projects. Don’t worry if it is big or small. What matters is you’re happy with it.
Rest is most important. The stress of doing something you do not love affects you double. Going home from work will always feel heavy. Getting up for work will always feel irritating. Your body will feel heavy throughout the day, and sitting down on your bed after the hard work feels like heaven. I know. I know that feeling and I understand. So I implore you, rest as much as you can.
Rest do not always mean sleep. Rest also means traveling, playing outside, reading books, whatever it is that makes you feel relaxed. Refresh as much as you can, so that when work is demanded from you again, you will have the physical and mental energy to continue.
These 3 ways have helped me greatly over the past 6 years. I know, some people say that you should not just survive, you need to live. However, there’s no need to sugarcoat it. We are just barely surviving everyday, and that’s the truth. Using the three ways above, I felt like I’ve however lived my life for me instead of just surviving. I hope it does the same for you, too.
Escaping a Job I do not Love
As difficult as this may sound, but it is definitely possible to escape a job you do not love. I believe that because as I try to survive everyday with this job, I am also not giving up the dream of finally doing something I love someday. With that, as early as now, I am already planning my escape.
How you’ll escape a job you do not love depends on the reason why you are even in there in the moment. Your reason can be anything, such as guilt, conflict, responsibility, etc. As for me, my reason for putting up with this job is money. I need money to make not just my dreams, but my family’s dreams come true. And so, I am building my plan around that. I am hoping to save up enough money to be able to finance businesses that will allow me and my family live sustainably without me working on this kind of job. That is how I get my freedom and that goal is what I look at with great focus and determine. Someday, someday I will get there.
So, what’s the reason why you keep up with this job you don’t like? Pin point that reason and use it to devise a plan for an escape. Believe that one day, things will get better. After that, focus yourself into devising and executing your escape plan that will get you there, to the place where you want to be.
Sharing this personal struggle today is quite easy for me. For years, I’ve already accepted the fact that I just can never bring myself to love this job. And I believe that there’s nothing to be ashamed about that. Things happen. People who cannot find there passion or people who end up not doing their passion exist. That happens because our society is just not fair. So you, yes you. I hope you keep hope. I hope you keep pushing. You are going to make it out, because you can.