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Hot Take: You Don’t Need to Love Your Job

Nowadays, you frequently hear about influencers, go-getters and girl bosses encouraging people to make their passion their work. For some people, this may be what they want and is what works for them. However, I think a lot of us (myself included) have been swept into the hustle culture bullsh!t and may have lost the plot. Yes, it’s important to have a career that pays the bills and gives you some spending money — but for most people, it’s actually quite healthy to not revolve our lives around our jobs. 

In many ways, the pandemic has reshaped how we perceive the world. Spending a lot of time on our own, reflecting and appreciating slowing down has awakened many people to realize that hobbies, pastimes, quality time with loved ones, etc. are what truly brings fulfillment and joy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that loving your job makes you a money-hungry workaholic. If you do have a career you thoroughly enjoy, more power to you. I’m also not saying we should settle for a job or career we hate and dread. Finding a career field you are interested in and landing a job you’re content with is the goal I’m proposing. You work, get paid and spend the rest of your time focusing on meaningful areas of life. 

On a deeper level, there are increasingly and alarmingly high rates of anxiety and depression globally, but especially in America. Here, our culture is largely individualistic and praises hard work and discipline. While these are both valuable things, they also cause significant amounts of stress and despair. Some may feel trapped working on or being in a career they dislike simply because it will make them a lot of money. Others may have loved their jobs at one point, but have grown tired and are now burnt out. In a capitalistic, fast-paced society, we are taught that our value lies in our work and that above all else, we should take a great deal of time and energy in our work. Reworking those schemas will take time. Ultimately though, when we slow down and focus more on our own peace, happiness and wellbeing, a lot of things change. How we carry ourselves, how we interact with others, our health and capacity to help others grows. 

All of this being said, I do want to acknowledge that there are a lot of careers, like teaching, being a doctor, nurse, etc. that require a lot of personal sacrifice and diligence. Dedication in those fields is inspiring and commendable, and that should not be disregarded. Nevertheless, if you are someone who experiences high stress levels, general unhappiness and dread having to dedicate too much to work, you do not have to lose yourself to be valuable in our society. Re-prioritizing and rethinking our careers may feel scary and uncertain, but it can offer us so much in life. 

Lily is currently in her fourth semester at UMKC's in their Masters in Counseling program. Whenever she can be with friends she is, when she's not she enjoys reading and doing yoga. Lily has a passion for human rights, mental health, pop-culture and writing.
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