Q: I feel “meh” about working — am I supposed to be more passionate? I read all the letters here, and it feels like everybody loves their job and are passionate about it. Need to be honest: I don’t love mine. I fell into it and just kept going with it because it paid decently and allowed me to not to have to worry about what I was going to do after college. Now, 15 years later… I feel almost stuck, like it might be too late to change what I am doing with my life (and to be honest, I have no idea what I want to do with my life; I work to live, and that’s fine by me).
However, I am okay with that. I am not particularly ambitious with my work. Middle management is fine with me, and I dream of the day I can retire. I like my coworkers, my job is fine. However, I feel guilty that I am ok with “fine,” like I should I be ambitious, and wanting more, more, more.
Am I the only one out there who doesn’t really love their work and their job? Who just… does it because they have to?
A: You’re so very, very normal! In fact, as far as I know, you’re actually in the majority.
Most people work to live, aren’t especially passionate about their jobs, and aren’t super ambitious.
Most people work to get food and housing, not for emotional or spiritual fulfillment.
There are people who are passionate about their work, but they’re the lucky exceptions, not the norm.
Keep in mind, too, that that the people who read and comment on a work-related advice site are more likely to be particularly interested in work and career issues than the general population. So you’re not necessarily seeing a representative sampling here.
If you are reasonably content and able to earn a living that allows you to support your life outside of work (and it sounds like you are), go on doing what you’re doing.
Q: My manager showed me a job ad from another company and encouraged me to apply for it. Should I be worried? My manager recently showed me a current vacancy in the papers and encouraged me to apply if I want to. But I’ve only been employed in this organization for four months and I’m still being trained. Is this a good or bad sign?
A: I don’t know! It could be that your manager is one of those people who’s always on the lookout for development opportunities for other people — although she should have thought about how an employee would take that kind of thing, especially a new employee. Or she could know something that you don’t — that your job is unstable in some way. But instead of speculating and worrying, why not just ask her? I’d say this: “I’ve been wondering about why you showed me that job opening the other day. I’m really happy in my current role and hope to stay here for a long time, but our conversation made me wonder if you have concerns about whether it’s the right fit.”
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