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VOL. 45 | NO. 37 | Friday, September 10, 2021

Don’t love your work? It’s time to look elsewhere

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Labor Day was designed to both honor and recognize the American labor movement. It’s a nod to the works and contributions of workers in the United States. But, let’s face it. As you celebrated Labor Day this week, could you confidently say you love your work?

The pandemic has given us perspective if nothing else. In particular, it’s been a huge reminder of what’s most important. But the theme of pursuing happiness persists.

I recently made a new friend who is smart and accomplished. He has a long career of jobs that would impress anyone. We’re the same age. But there is one thing that’s very different between us. This friend is dying of terminal cancer. He hasn’t known about it for long, and he wasn’t given much time.

We spend most of our lives waiting for a future point in time. We’re waiting until our work gets better. We’re waiting for another time to travel. We’re waiting to take risks. We’re waiting for a promotion. We’re unhappily trudging through life, waiting for a future. The pandemic has made that trudging a little harder and a little heavier.

And, unfortunately, that future we’re patiently waiting for is not guaranteed.

Although the story of my friend is sad, it’s also inspirational. He is using his time to pursue the things he loves. He’s traveling, surfing and spending time with friends. He’s living without fear, and he’s no longer doing the things he hates. There’s no more time for an unhappy job or an unhappy life. He is pursuing his happiness.

If you don’t love your work, perhaps it’s time to reevaluate what you’re doing. Companies are being more flexible than ever. Many jobs are remote. And, some companies are adding in new perks to help their employees with work-life balance.

If you’ve ever wanted to work for a company that’s not located near your home (but you don’t want to move), this is the time. If you’ve ever wanted to move but haven’t been able to because of your job, this also is the time.

Steve Jobs famously said, “For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself, ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘no’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

This is a simple, important concept. We’re all going through a period that feels out of control, and like there are fewer choices available to us than we would like.

We might feel stuck. But don’t lose hope. In the same way that the pandemic has closed doors, it has opened new ones.

Look for those new doors, and redesign your life so that you can pursue your own happiness.

Angela Copeland, a career expert and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at copelandcoaching.com.

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