Vecinos: information and advice for our American communities
Enjoy Your Work Every Day
By Germán Velasco
Millions of people live uncomfortably every day working in the wrong job. Why do they cling to a job or a life that doesn’t satisfy them?
There is no one answer applicable to all cases, but I will describe factors that I frequently find in clients who have not been able to tolerate what they do every day while, at the same time, they feel they lack the strength to get out of the hole.
Two common factors stand out for me: the feeling of comfort and the feeling of familiarity with what they have been doing for years. These two anchors that tie us up in situations we would like to change are similar, but not exactly the same.
Both have immobilizing power. With greater familiarity usually comes greater comfort and ease in doing a job. But many times, the person is no longer comfortable and continues to cling to the routine for fear of venturing into unfamiliar terrain: Fear of the unfamiliar, the unknown. Fear of risk or discomfort involved in jumping to a different activity.
On the other hand, exploring a little more to find the life that best suits us can translate into feeling joy for what we do every day.
According to Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, “Your work will occupy a large part of your life, and the only way to be really satisfied is to do what you think is a great job. And the only way to do a great job is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”
Many people are trapped in the wrong life because of their commitment to staying in familiar territory. They may always live in the same city, spend time with the same friends, have their favorite places to eat or to have fun (and rarely consider new ones), use the same route on the way to work every day, not try new foods, etc. These little habits seem insignificant, but once we understand the effect of small routines, we can take action to strengthen our ability to change and become people capable of exploring unknown territories.
If you are having trouble making a big change in your life, I suggest you start introducing change in small ways. For example, travel more, change the décor in your house, go for a walk in an unfamiliar neighborhood in your city. Do something totally new every day – preferably something that makes you uncomfortable. Once you enjoy the options that life offers you in small things, you’ll open that door to big change, and you’ll be ready for the discomfort of the transition that comes with transforming your life. The grand prize is the happier life that’s waiting for you.
(Germán Velasco is the Executive Director of La Mano Amiga, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to providing informational resources to Latino immigrants.)