You guessed it: our jobs.
Want to know why our jobs make us this way?
Because we spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about how miserable they are.
Unfortunately, far too many of us fail to:
- Break out of these negative thoughts and redirect our attention towards things that actually make us happy
- Cultivate hobbies outside of work
Instead, we think of our jobs as the be-all and end-all of our existence. We count on work to fulfill us in ways that are unrealistic.
Ideally, we all want jobs that pay well, involve working with great co-workers, and keep us mentally stimulated.
While such jobs certainly exist, we'll always take issue with some aspect of our jobs. As I've said before, no job is perfect.
Relying upon your job to fulfill you is a recipe for disaster.
As we well know, things at work can change in the blink of an eye. You might get laid off. The great boss you have today can leave or be replaced, and his successor can make your life a living hell. A promotion or reshuffling of priorities can leave you with less-than-glamorous work -- or more of it than you can handle.
While I think it's important to like our jobs, we should never regard it as a panacea for boredom, loneliness, or anything that may be lacking in our lives.
That's why hobbies and interests outside of work matter a great deal. I've come to accept that I'll never get enough mental stimulation from any corporate job. That's why I'm considering getting a master's degree. Even if I'm not in school, I keep busy with books and blogging.
Many of us put tremendous pressure on ourselves to find the perfect job, and spend all day lamenting the fact that it seems to elude us.
This is no way to live. Instead, we ought to focus mentally on things we love -- mountain climbing, cooking, pets, travel. Mull which countries you want to visit, what breed of dog you want to adopt, which new dish you want to cook next.
These are positive things we can look forward to -- ones that put us in a good mood and allow us to share our passions with others.
So, next time you find yourself grappling with negative thoughts about work, turn your attention to those things and activities that make you feel good and alive. Why give a job so much power over you?