There’s a stark paradox about work.
Everyone wants an easy work life. They want it to be enjoyable, easygoing, and fun. But is that really a reality?
Since when was work meant to be fun? Work is work. That’s why we get paid for it. Hobbies, sports, and pastimes are fun, but we don’t get paid for those.
Higher value job – more pay
Money doesn’t grow on trees – even for large corporations. Employees get paid to bring value to the company (in excess of the cost) and to grow the company.
If you want a higher salary, then you have to generate more value for the company. This typically means you have to take on more responsibility, direct reports, and stress and work longer hours doing harder, less enjoyable tasks.
Very few jobs offer a high salary – without significant sacrifice. Higher salaries correlate with increased sacrifice.
The ‘perfect job’
People chase the perfect job. But even the best jobs are only good 70% of the time.
You can’t avoid the hard things in life. And often, the hard things are actually the things that bring the reward.
Trudging into an office, managing politics, dealing with bosses, setting boundaries, and negotiating deadlines, arent the annoying inconveniences of work. They are the work!
They aren’t things you should avoid. They are the exercises that equip you with the skills you need.
Don’t follow your passion
People expect to be engulfed by a passion before they commit to a job or career. Passion will only appear, belatedly, after many years of honing your skills.
If you’re waiting to find a fantastic job before you dedicate yourself and hone your skills, you will miss out. Only once you are good at what you do, will the more profound understanding and appreciation of your craft appear, and the passion will follow.
Avoid the easy life
Everyone wants the perfect life, big income, and an easy job. But as Mark Manson says – that’s the easy part:
“If I ask you, “What do you want out of life?” and you say something like, “I want to be happy and have a great family and a job I like,” it’s so ubiquitous it doesn’t even mean anything.”
Instead, he suggests that “the most important question of your life” is:
“What pain do you want in your life? What are you willing to struggle for?”
It’s easy to dream of being a top violinist, football player, or Wall Street CEO – but there is little consideration of the cost—the 10,000 hours of training and tribulation, plus the sacrifice of easy-time with family and friends.
Understanding that rewards don’t come without sacrifice might be an unpleasant realization, but it’s an important one.
The irony of a ‘perfect job’
Lying on a recliner at a beach with a cocktail in hand is not a job. A real job challenges, expands, and rewards.
A perfect job is one that helps us grow as a person.
And the only way to grow is to be thrown in at the deep end, manage discomfort, and survive and thrive when faced with challenges.
There is no growth without challenge.
Challenge is hard in the present but rewarding in the long term.
In that sense, relaxing on a beach with a pina colada would be the worst job in the world – offering stagnation, lack of purpose – and hangovers.
The question for your business
Is your team avoiding the challenge, or embracing it?