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What Is Your Job Telling You?

January 24, 2023

When you hear the question, “What is your job telling you?”, what is your first thought? What are you thinking Monday morning? How would you answer this question at noon on Wednesday or end-of-day Friday? Is the answer different? If it is, do you know why? 

Are you listening? 

Why is the answer to this question useful?

Jobs Fill a Large Part of Our Lives

For many, jobs fill most of our lives for five out of every seven days. Our jobs consume our time, provide us income, provide us with social contact, and for some, provide our identity. Therefore, how we answer the question is an important window into who we are. 

Another question to consider is, are you fitting your life into your job or having the job fit into your life? Regardless of the answer, for most of us, there will be times our jobs take precedence and other times when our lives outside of work take priority. What we need to notice is how we experience those answers. Do we feel enlivened or burdened when thinking about our job? Do we experience our job more frequently as a slog, or does it give us a bounce in our step? Why even ask?

Dealing with the Rocks

Let’s use the analogy of a produce farmer. A farmer has many jobs to get the produce to market. One of those jobs is to turn the soil every spring, preparing the fields for planting. The farmer spends hours plowing row after row to turn the existing plant life back into the soil while rocks bob to the surface. Rocks can be a problem for the plow; the farmer must leave the tractor and move the rocks out of the field. In New England, there can be many rocks uncovered, leading to a pile somewhere next to the field. 

The rocks in this analogy are those unexpected distractions or problems we face daily in our jobs. The frequency and size of the rocks vary. We know they are out there; how we face them is an opportunity to judge our interest in our work. Are we irritated when we must stop what we are doing to deal with a rock? Do we pitch it to the side quickly or do we manage the rocks to form walls along the perimeter of the field? Some might delight in finding rocks, as it gives them a chance to make stone sculptures. How we relate to the rocks in our job is a clue as to how good a fit we are to the job.

All jobs, like all fields, have rocks. When we are increasingly irritated or offended with having to deal with the rocks, we can take that as a sign we are not a good fit in our current role. If we let this go on long enough, we will lose motivation, become grumpy, and may even get fired. In most cases, our enthusiasm and creativity will be slowly drained out of us. We will become a shell of ourselves, a corporate zombie putting in time to get a paycheck.

You can tell a farmer who takes pride in his work by looking at his field. It’s not any easier for one farmer versus another, the difference is the person taking pride in their work is getting to use their personal gifts and they are receiving energy from their efforts.

Finding Job Fulfillment

The legacy of farmers who took pride in their work is seen in the New England woods today. Those stone fences that defined the edge of the fields managed by farmers who took the additional effort to do more than move the rocks to the side.

You deserve to be doing work that gives you energy and uses your specific skills. My four-part video series, “How to Have a Job You Love,” provides you with tips to find where you fit.

Watch Intro Video