Saturday Sailboat on river bay oil painting by Steve Henderson

Job Dissatisfaction

Many people do not find fulfillment in their jobs.

This isn’t surprising given that we live in a corporately-controlled culture, and the satisfaction of the people working is not a major factor discussed in company boardrooms. When profits are what centrally matter, people don’t — logically, you can’t have two diametrically opposed focuses and expect to give equal attention to each. So, equal attention is not given to each.

On the Horizon purpose ocean coast oil painting by Steve HendersonOddly, however, workers in cubicles and on assembly lines and in retail establishments and behind computer screens and in the myriad of other places we find ourselves in our waking hours — earning money so that we can eat and be with our families — are told that we should find fulfillment in what we do, and if we do not, then it is our fault.

After all, we are constantly assured, “We’re all part of a family, a community, a team, a togetherness that gets things done!” and this is said so frequently and so insistently that we doubt our commonsense. Worn down by ceaseless repetition, we begin to wonder, “Maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m just never satisfied. Maybe I should work harder, smarter, and more focused, and stop thinking about taking vacation days. Time away from work shouldn’t give me pleasure — work should give me pleasure.”

When we get to this point, we are in a bad place, one in which we deny logic and reality, and accept the opposite as truth. Human beings are incredible creations, designed to do creative things ourselves, and when we do not — when the bulk of our day is spent trying to follow rules and commandments that don’t make sense and never seem to end — then we naturally recoil. We were not made to be robots or domestic beasts, set to repetitive tasks that require little thought, and at the same time, heaped with expectations which are difficult to reach, and over which we have little say.Saturday Sailboat on river bay oil painting by Steve Henderson

If you are in this position, in a job that gives you little pleasure, then do not despair. Even if you feel that you are stuck, do not despair, but rather, use the time that you do have — your physical outside time, and your interior thoughts — to seek beauty, challenge, meaning, and creativity.

First, wherever you are, do not give in to unreasonable and illogical statements. Regardless of how forcefully the business coach consultant emphasizes his point, if it does not make sense, it probably does not make sense. Frequently, a sign that something is not right is the amount of times it is repeated.

Secondly, seek truth — you’ll find it as you find space and silence in which to think, and no matter how frenetic your life is, you can surely grasp five minutes, somewhere, to be alone with your thoughts. The more you think, the more you question, the more you observe and draw conclusions from your observations, the stronger the confidence in your own intellect and beliefs becomes, protecting you from being cowed into accepting the words of others.

Third, be kind — to yourself, to fellow human beings, to animals — because one of the greatest accomplishments we can do in the lives given to us — completely regardless of our career, job, or paid work — is to truly listen to others; to try to understand what they are saying; to admit that though they are not perfect, we are not either; to learn — from our own shortcomings — compassion for others.

In the process of doing these three simple, yet difficult practices, we will subtly change the way we think, and hopefully, draw away from the incessant barrage of hostile voices that urge us to do what we’re told, accept the inevitable, follow the group, and just not expect to be anything unusual or spectacular.

You are already are someone unusual and spectacular: you are a human being, created by God, made for a purpose far more meaningful than any job the world of men can create.

The artwork in my article is by Steve Henderson, a painter who seeks and finds beauty in the natural world around us. Find his work as original paintings and commissioned works, as well as home decor prints from the following online retail establishments: