Dear Lola,

I am unhappy at my job and desperately want to quit. There’s nothing specifically wrong with my employment – I like both my boss and my coworkers, which is more than some people can say. It’s the job itself that I no longer enjoy. The work is boring and there is no feeling of accomplishment when I complete a project. I’ve merely completed a task and earned a paycheck and then I move onto the next task. I’ve talked to friends and family about this but many of them point out that I earn a great paycheck and should be grateful for it. Am I wrong to want to leave a ‘great job’ when I have no real complaints with it?


Withdrawn Worker

Dear Withdrawn Worker,

I’m actually rather baffled that you state you have no ‘real complaints’ with your job.

Unhappiness is a real complaint!

Yes, you like your boss. Yes, you like your coworkers. However great both of those things are, they are only a part of being happily employed. The other part is job satisfaction – of which you currently have none. Instead of waking up each morning and dreading the coming day of unfulfilling tasks, you need to find what will make you happy. We’ve all been asked a certain question starting from childhood and now I’ll ask it of you again.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

What are you most passionate about and what careers are available to fulfill those desires? Will you need schooling to move into your new career path and how will you pay for that? Is there an on-the-job training program that you could enroll in? Once you have the answers to these questions, you can begin to move your plan forward. Until then, keep your current employment and think of your paycheck as a means to a brighter future.

Now let’s address the advice you received from your friends and family.

Imagine if a loved one came to you and said they were unhappy with their marriage and they wanted to leave. There is nothing wrong with their spouse, but they are just unhappy in the marriage and see no future in it. I’m sure you would tell your friend to leave so that each person could find happiness with someone they love. Now imagine a friend came to you and said they were unhappy with their house. The house has a roof and a garage, but they’re just not happy with it. You would encourage them to move somewhere they enjoy. Now apply this to a friend who is unhappy with their car, or their personal style, or their choice of vacation destination. In any instance, would you tell your friend to continue to be unhappy instead of changing their life for the better? Of course not!

That your friends and family push your happiness aside is unhelpful at best, and harmful at worst.

People have a tendency to focus on the size of the paycheck when deciding if a job is great or not. I am giving your family and friends the benefit of the doubt that they want the best for you but are worried about your finances should the new profession not be as lucrative. Careful planning should help to reassure them that you have thought through the changes you want to make.

Money is only one currency in life – and it doesn’t buy happiness.


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