I like to listen to the Dave Ramsey show on the radio. Often times people will call in and ask Dave’s advice about careers, whether it’s about switching jobs or about possibly going out on their own and starting their own business. Sometimes in Dave’s reply, he mentions to the caller “finding what you were put on this earth to do”. I am so envious of those who know what they’ve been put on this earth to do.
I have been in the same job for eight years. It’s the only professional job I’ve ever had and I got it after I graduated from college. I only ended up with it because I took the civil service test and was mailed a letter a couple of months later stating I had an interview. I didn’t even know there was a job opening for a child support caseworker. I was just informed I had an interview. I needed a job, so I went. From there I got a second interview and then I got the job. It’s certainly not a bad job. I’m grateful to have been hired. I have had good supervisors and good coworkers. We have pretty good benefits. But I have zero desire to climb the ladder where I am. I have zero desire to be a supervisor or any position higher than that within our agency. My paycheck staying stagnant for several years and the fact that I don’t aspire to move any higher there makes my job feel like a dead end. Child support is an important job, so it feels purposeful, but it doesn’t inspire me. I don’t think it’s what I was put on this earth to do.
My friend, Joe, told me yesterday about a funny e-card he came across online. It said “Keeping your job is the new raise.” Sad, but true. With the economy like it is, I’m usually able to go along with the whole “just be thankful you have a job” mindset. But then sometimes it hits me square in the face that this will be my fourth year in a row without a raise. The bad thing about being a state employee is that as far as raises go, either everyone gets them or nobody does. (Well, maybe not everyone gets them, but everyone is eligible to get them depending on their yearly review.) It doesn’t matter how hard you’ve worked or how much your productivity has increased; you are not getting a raise. Nobody is. It’s discouraging.
I’ve read Jon Acuff’s book called Quitter. It was a really good book and in some ways I felt inspired, but I have no idea what I want to do. I don’t know what I was put on this earth to do. I’ve pre-ordered his next book entitled Start and am hopeful I might gain some insight. I’ve also thought about ordering another book Dave talks about called 48 Days to the Work You Love. I don’t know if I will ever gain any insight though. I’ve tried. Maybe I haven’t tried hard enough.
I am a creature of habit. The good thing about that is that it makes me a consistent, dependable person. The bad thing is that it makes it very easy to get stuck in a rut. I’m there. I’ve been there for a while. Maybe the lack of raises for four years is a blessing in disguise. Raises tend to suck you in. A raise is a very effective incentive. I hope I figure something out. And I hope I don’t stay where I am because I’m not brave. If I stay where I am, I hope I feel like it’s where I’m supposed to be. And again, I don’t hate my job. It’s just not my purpose. I want to find my purpose, my niche. What I wouldn’t give for a clue, a little luck (or maybe some divine intervention) and a healthy dose of bravery.