Morrissey nailed the British attitude towards work when he sang:
I was looking for a job, and then I found a job
And heaven knows I’m miserable now
A handful of Londoners I know are passionate about their work (all of them self-employed). A minority of content, sensible people treat their jobs as a means to an end. Mostly, though, people complain. In shops, on buses, at the gym, they moan about the commute, the politics, the gossip, the tea-round, the reports, the boss, the admin, the atmosphere, the expectations, the air conditioning, the meetings, the colleagues, the parties, the salary, the prospects, and the tedium. Yet they get up every morning and go to work.
The most common justification for this self-defeating behaviour? “Because not everyone can have their dream job”.
True. But just because not everyone can have a job they love is no reason for you (and you, and you, and you) to not try. There are people who can’t afford food, but you don’t let that stop you eating, do you? The plain fact is a lot of intelligent, educated, able-bodied, skilled, geographically and socio-economically privileged chose to play the victim-of-circumstance because it is easier than changing.
I’m not talking about conscious compromise of the: “I hate my job but it pays mad money so I do it anyway” sort, but the inexcusable: “I hate my job and want to do something different but I can’t.”
Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of the time, “can’t” is bullshit. It’s a euphemism for “won’t”, or “I’m scared”, or “I don’t know how”.
Each of those is a legitimate sentiment when honestly held and expressed. Otherwise, it’s a pitiable excuse.
I know because I’ve spent most of my adult life making excuses and mistakes, copping out, compromising, and selling myself short. Until I realised there is no fairy godmother in the wings. Nobody is going to give me permission to live my dreams. If I want job satisfaction I must choose to be satisfied.
I have options – lots of ’em. If I choose to not exercise them, fine, but I cannot pretend they don’t exist. It is dishonest, and disrespectful to people who are genuinely struggling.
People who are working for sheer survival don’t have time for self-pity.