What is the best job you’ve ever had?
If it’s the one you have now, congratulations—that sounds amazing! For the rest of us, the best job we’ve ever had might be a summer job during college with a lot of memories attached to it, or maybe it’s still in the future, a dream we are pointing toward.
Let me tell you about the best job I’ve ever had: Washing dishes at Chick-fil-A. Okay, so it wasn’t the BEST job I’ve ever had, but I really did love it! I got to work with my hands (which is good for those of us who tend to live inside our own heads), but I got to be alone with my thoughts. The expectations were clear, and I could easily see and measure my progress.
Even something as simple as dishwashing was profoundly satisfying for me because so many aspects of the job were connected to how I am wired. We were created to work, after all. Genesis 2:15 says that God put man on the earth “to work.” I think that’s why when we are dissatisfied in our work we feel like a crucial component of our life is missing. I love my work at Seacoast, but I’ll admit—there are still days I daydream about being back in that Chick-fil-A kitchen.
If it’s possible to find satisfaction in something as simple as washing dishes, why do so many of us end up in jobs we hate? Why do we choose career paths we KNOW aren’t going to satisfy us and who we are as people? One researcher who studied this problem for fifteen years said it came down to one simple question: “What do you do?”
If it’s possible to find satisfaction in something as simple as washing dishes, why do so many of us end up in jobs we hate?
When people ask you that question, how do you feel? Proud? Embarrassed? Excited to share? We’ve all felt different things, depending on where we were in our lives. We all want to feel proud when we answer that question. We want to do something that matters, something that will make people look at us with respect and admiration.
The research said because of this desire, we choose careers based on what we think will matter to other people. “We end up making career choices to impress other people so we can feel that fleeting rush of validation.” The problem is obvious: those “other people” (whoever they are) don’t know us. And so we end up in jobs based on the imagined expectations of hypothetical people. Not a great way to make decisions!
No wonder we are unhappy in our work.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way, and the ReStart conference is here to help. When it started back in 2011, ReStart was focused on helping those impacted by the financial crisis find work. ReStart is still helping those who are unemployed and underemployed, but it is also about helping people transition into careers where they can use their gifts and flourish.
ReStart doesn’t just want to help people find what they can be doing, but what they should be doing.
If you want to stop worrying about the answer to “what do you do,” start asking “what should I do?” At the upcoming ReStart Career Conference on September 29, you can begin your journey toward the career you should have had all along.