I’ve been hearing more and more job seekers explain that it is time to make a change because their current position feels too much like work. They want to be more excited and have fun on the job. Unfortunately, it is called work for a reason.
While it is great to be passionate about the mission, to enjoy the people you work with and to be motivated and challenged by many aspects of your job, it is still a job. I have been Director of the Graduate Career Center here at Northeastern’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business for more than eleven years. I can honestly say that I love my job. I enjoy working with the students and our employers. I have a great team of professionals who make a difference for our students every day. I don’t dread coming to the office but it is still work. I work hard and sometimes there a very long days. There are parts of the job that can be tedious or frustrating. I do not always have the resources I would like to do everything I want to do but overall it is a great job.
There is an unrealistic expectation that work should be fun and that your colleagues should be your best friends. Having been through a couple difficult mergers in my career which resulted in many people losing their jobs, the ones who had the most difficult time dealing with the changes were those who had no other interests or priorities in their lives. It is important to enjoy time with families and friends. It helps if you have hobbies, volunteer experiences or physical activities in your life. That balance outside the job helps you keep perspective.
While it is ideal to believe in the mission of your company and to know that your work makes a difference, it is still work. If it is not fulfilling all your needs, think about whether the job is truly the issue or whether it is a symptom of having the rest of your life a bit out of balance.