Sunday, February 22, 2009

No Job Joy?

"The best way to appreciate your job is to imagine yourself without one."
Oscar Wilde

Peering into a mouth filled with stained teeth and bleeding, puffy gums is high on the list of things I don't want to do. Working at a slaughter house might be slightly above it, but singing in public and bookkeeping are only marginally below.

What some of us consider repulsive, dirty jobs, others find easy and often fulfilling. My friend Marilynn has been a dental hygienist for nearly 30 years and loves her work. She is skilled with those silver tools and cares deeply for her patients. The mere thought of her job sends shudders down my spine.

Another pal, Maggie, is an accountant. While tax season can be—well, taxing—she enjoys her profession immensely and wouldn't trade it for anything.

Several friends love to sing and do it with joy at church or Karaoke night at the local bar and grill. They'd love to get paid to do it; you couldn't pay me enough. I know people who would rather shovel manure than speak in public or write for publication. Hard for me to relate to that!

There is no "good" job or "bad" job from a universal perspective. When we are good at something we tend to enjoy it more than something we struggle to accomplish. Finishing the day with a job well-done powerfully impacts how we view our work. If we do it well and especially if our work is appreciated by others, the appeal of our profession can skyrocket.

Whether you're a mortician or a movie star you don't have to take much time to ponder about your level of job satisfaction. You know immediately when asked about it. If the thought of your job doesn't bring a quick smile to your face maybe you should look at some other possibilities.

Things to consider:

  • Rate your job satisfaction from 1—10
  • What do you like most/least?
  • Is it the specific company, your boss/peers or the actual work you dislike?
  • Why have you remained for this long?
  • What sacrifices are you willing to make to find a job you like better?
  • Do your skills or your training/education qualify you for other types of work?
  • What would make a job more appealing than your current work?

After giving it some thought (if you decide that you're ready to make a change) give yourself a list of small steps to take and a timeline. Dreading to get up in the morning is no way to live. But also remember that there is lawn work to be done on both sides of the fence, so don't forget to look at the real picture before making any permanent changes.

If you've jumped ship, enjoyed a job others hated or are caught in the trap of a job you hate, share your thoughts here.

Diane Markins

*Please visit for an encouraging devotion for parents.


Anonymous said...

Hey Diane, good topic. I jumped ship for a year, for what amounted to a "sabbatical" in the Midwest. Found my work there to be incredibly rejuvenating. So sometimes we don't need to change everything, just a piece of it. In any case, it's always important to seek God's guidance and direction. -- Doug

Diane Markins said...

Thanks for chiming in. It takes such courage to do what you did but I'm sure you'd encourage people to dig deep if they were in a miserable situation and feeling a nudge from God to try a new direction.
So glad you were drew on the leading and strength the Lord provided and that it worked out so well for you.

Linda S Fitzgerald said...


I've had many rewarding responsibilities in a long career. For me, it's rarely been the responsibilities that got to me; but the 'politics' involved. Hospital social service delivery was very rewarding, but hospital politics are among the worst. I find that when I discovered my true purpose; then everything I do is a joy - even though long hours, etc. My experience with folks is that when they find their real passion & apply it to something that fits their true purpose - then whatever it is - they find joy in doing it!

Great post!