In my past jobs, there was always something I couldn’t stand about them.
When my misery at the thought of staying outweighed my fear of the unknown, I’d leave for what I hoped were greener pastures.
Except usually the pastures were only greener for a short time, and then a pack of dogs would run over, piss on the grass and turn it yellow.
I’m not sure what the dogs represent in this metaphor.
I often felt that my inability to enjoy what I was doing was my fault. Or due to character flaws that I’d never be able to fix.
Which I guess would mean that I was the pack of dogs pissing on my own green pastures?
It took a long time for me to realize this, but those crazy-making things about my jobs were actually clues pointing me toward what I needed my work to look like all along.
- The feeling of meaninglessness pointed to the fact that I need my work to have purpose.
- Being annoyed with stupid questions meant I need to work with smart, sensitive people.
- Being exhausted at the end of the day from dealing with too many people meant I need to honor my introversion by having time to work in solitude.
- Winding up bored easily meant I need to be able to use my creativity at work.
- My low bullshit tolerance and belief that silly rules don’t apply to me meant running my own business would likely be a good fit.
I wasn’t the pack of dogs killing my own grass, I was on the wrong pasture to begin with.
Don’t get me wrong. Do I have some rough edges that could use smoothing? Hell, yeah. Who doesn’t?
The point is that I wasn’t unhappy at work because I was broken.
Remember the Puzzle Pieces? Our personalities and gifts and strengths – by their very nature – mean that some work will fit and some won’t.
It’s a process. You think you know what shape work you need, so you try it.
Maybe it fits and maybe it doesn’t.
All you can do is to notice what did and didn’t fit so that next time you can look for a Work Piece that fits better with your Essence Piece.
Most importantly, an ill-fitting Work Piece doesn’t indicate a problem with your Essence Piece.
But it can show you more about what kind of work will fit you. And that’s true whether you work for the Man or have your own business.
What can you understand about the kind of work that’s fulfilling to you – who you serve and how you help them – by looking at what’s not working now?