Do you ever feel like THIS at work?

Unless you work for a charity, hospital, or other organization that has a "feel good" quality to it and allows you to make a difference in some concrete way, work can feel hollow for so many of us.

I'm thankful for my job and know the reason why I give 40+ hours of my time each week to my company is to support my wife and myself. I actually like what I do (writing, editing, proofreading), but sometimes I'm left with a nagging feeling of emptiness.

When I think beyond my day-to-day tasks and look at the bigger picture, I realize my job is mainly to help make the company money so that the big wigs can line their pockets. It's the bottom line -- literally.

Thankfully, this blog serves as a conduit through which I can not only exercise my creativity and share ideas, but make decisions on my own without having to navigate politics. In corporate, deferring to others -- sometimes to people who are less skilled and knowledgeable than you -- is par for the course.

There are pros and cons to each and every organization out there. While non-profits ranging from charities to schools might provide the sense of fulfillment you'll never experience in your corporate job, most face continual budget woes and are unable to offer employees the kind of robust salary and benefits package typically offered by Fortune 500 companies.

Small companies and start-ups are in a similar boat: while the lack of structure/red tape allow employees to assume more control over tasks, they usually don't have the resources to compete with the big boys.

Fortunately, we can do things on the side to fill this void, like donate to charity, volunteer at animal shelters, and so on. Still, it doesn't change the fact that our day jobs can make us feel like proverbial hamsters on wheels.

This is precisely what prompts so many people to start their own businesses. They tire of red tape and overbearing bosses and decide they'd be happier working for themselves. Why line someone else's pockets when they can fill their own?

I'm not saying everyone in the corporate world is bored, demotivated, and yearning for work that provides a sense of purpose. Many people are happy generating sales, creating spreadsheets, or going to countless meetings. Some are perfectly content toeing the line so long as they're being handsomely compensated for it.

Companies need to do a better job of making all their employees feel valued -- from the ones at the very top to the janitors and interns. 

Many place too much of an emphasis on seniority. As a result, the VPs are given the best projects and perks, not to mention most or all of the credit for every milestone.
Meanwhile, the rank and file feel snubbed, with little opportunity to move up the ladder. This explains why it's become standard in the 21st century to leave a job after one or two years. If people don't feel appreciated, they will bolt from the firm, sometimes when least expected.

The ideal job is one that pays well, provides a sense of purpose and opportunities for growth, offers a great work/life balance, stimulates you mentally, and involves a wonderful boss and co-workers. Chances are, your job lacks at least one of these.

The perfect job doesn't exist, but we can do our part so that we can get as close to it as possible -- whether that means working for a non-profit, leaving a corporation to take a higher position in a small business, or becoming your own boss.

As I tell so many of my friends, we should never settle for less. If you want to make more money or switch to an industry about which you feel more passionate, it's never too late to make the leap.

Don't be afraid. Be bold!

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