My job doesn’t make me happy

Nope. My job does not fill me with joy, I do not feel inspiration welling from every pore, and my job is not my “dream come true.”

But I love my job. I really truly love my job.

This is my view every single day, and goshdarnit I like it.
This is my view every single day, and goshdarnit I like it.

“But Olivia,” you might ask, “how can you love your job if it doesn’t make you happy?” And to answer that, I’m going to tell you why I can’t identify with Elite Daily or Buzzfeed or Thought Catalog anymore.

There are countless articles on those sites telling young people to pursue their dreams and not to settle for the mindless drudgery that an office job would surely offer. Millennials (of which I’m one) praise each other for sticking it to the man and making their own paths. And all of that does sound great! More power to you for holding out for what you really want!

Maybe it’s my practical streak, but that just doesn’t work for me. Traveling with no money and crashing on friends couches doesn’t sound adventurous and fun to me- it isn’t the lifestyle I want. I enjoy having a steady paycheck, a comfortable apartment, and decent hotels to stay in when I travel. Maybe I’m just an old soul.

Earning that steady paycheck means putting in my time from 8am-5pm (with a lovely hour long lunch break) and doing things that aren’t on the top of my fun-list: running statistical analysis, cleaning data, writing code, formatting Excel sheets.

So no, my job does not fill me with ecstasy every time I contemplate the work that I do. But there are so many reasons I love my job despite that:

  • The people I work with totally rock. My team, my department, and pretty much everyone in this company is smart, kind, interesting, and sometimes totally dorky. Just my kind of people.
  • My boss is the best boss I could ask for. He encourages me to create my own assignments and pursue whatever project on the docket that I have the most interest in, and he’s always pushing me to take on harder tasks. He’s my biggest cheerleader and he makes sure I know it.
  • I get to leave at 5pm. There are the occasional days where I have to stay a little late, but when I leave at the end of the day, I’m done. My evenings and weekends are entirely free for me to spend the money I earn from 8-5 Monday-Friday.
  • My company takes care of me. I never realized how much a good insurance plan would matter to me at 23, but it really does. And having more vacation time than most people at my level doesn’t hurt either.
  • My company takes care of the community. The CEO has a big emphasis on giving back to the community that has given so much to us, so there are constant volunteer opportunities put together at work. Food drives, toy drives, environmental clean up crews, making food for hungry children, you name it and we’re probably involved in some way.
  • I feel like I’m learning. I had no intention of coding when I left school (I hated all my CompSci classes with a fiery passion), but now I’m determined to become the team expert in anything that might require coding. Having that goal and feeling like I’m learning and improving ensures that I’m never bored.

Working at a company that fits my values like this has proven to be much more valuable than working somewhere simply because the work itself is enjoyable. I’ve found that it’s not so much about the work you do, it’s about who you do it with and the attitude you approach it with.

It was never my childhood dream to become a research analyst and do statistics and coding all day long, but it’s meant that I get to earn a living that supports my lifestyle, and gives me the free time to pursue the hobbies that I love. I don’t want a happy job, I want a happy life.

My job does not make me happy in itself, but it gives me the freedom to create a whole life that makes me happy.

I’d much rather work at this company in corporate America and enjoy my life than scramble to make ends meet while chasing some dream Buzzfeed told me I wanted.

Check out my follow-up to this here.

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