My therapist once told me that you have to compartmentalize. She initially used the analogy to help me separate best friends, friends, and acquaintances. But I’ve found value in using this method for things that are generally important in my life. And that includes my job.
When I say I don’t love my job, it’s not that I hate what I do but more so that I only allow it to occupy my life in a healthy fashion. I’m not sure I’ve ever fantasized about labor, but in searching for a good career fit I’ve always tapped into things that would mold well with who I am as a person. After graduating, it was important that I found a role that was not only in my field of study but also in an industry I enjoyed so that it’d keep me intrigued. Now, I work as an assistant production accountant which keeps me on my toes, meeting cool people, and always learning something new.
I Found A Job That Checks All The Boxes
I do enjoy what I do. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been great at math and also really enjoyed it. I found myself in advanced math classes, and even tutoring in math growing up, so I knew a career with numbers would work well for me. I’ve had a few different majors in school and a few different jobs over the years but finally landed in entertainment accounting where I can combine an industry I have so much appreciation for with the type of work I appreciate.
I like the little details of the career I chose – like using a computer and online softwares regularly, minimal physical labor, and the collaborative but not super demanding customer-facing aspect of the role. I’ve had friends joke about me “crunching numbers” all day, and that statement is partially true and I’m okay with that. There are few things better to me than being able to put on music, an audiobook, or podcast and punch numbers for a few hours. And as an introvert, my life outside of work fulfills my socialization needs. Most important, it gets the bills paid and funds what I consider the fun things in life.
I Consider my Job a Healthy Attachment
Because my job is not the focal point of my life, I’m able to set boundaries in terms of how I let it affect my personal life and well-being. I do this by not bringing my job home with me. This is the term we know as ‘work-life balance’. When I leave my job, I try not to worry myself with what didn’t go well or what needs to be done. Especially because a majority of things can’t be dealt with off the clock, so it doesn’t make sense to fill myself with anxiety about it.
Healthy attachment to my job means that I respect the work that I do and the people that I work with, but not anymore than I respect myself. This also allows me to leave toxic work environments where I feel like I am not being respected or rewarded in return for my hard work. I love to take on new tasks and learn new skills so that I can grow within my field, but I appreciate myself enough to know when my work is being undervalued. I firmly believe it’s possible to be successful in the workplace while having boundaries.
The Difficulties With Turning Your Passion Into Your Income-Producer
In my experience starting a small business, I quickly learned how turning a passion into a source of income can suck the joy out of it. I love decorating and designing my space and decided to make a business model out of it by beginning a home decor business. But I was soon being held accountable for consistent and strategic marketing, stocking and tracking inventory, and tending to way more business related items than just designing and sharing my love for home pieces.
I felt like a failure for wanting to walk away from my business. But after months of trying to pinpoint why I felt this resentment towards something I worked so hard to build, I realized that it was because it felt too much like work and barely like passion anymore. I love that I don’t love my job because I have my passion projects to love. And since my job is providing my primary source of income, I can pour my energy into my passions without stressing over whether it will make me enough money to cover my rent. On the contrary, I’ve seen so many people turn their passion into their money-maker but I think the difference here is the intention behind it. If you’re doing what you love and it ends up making you money, you’ve also won. But when you try to do what you love in order to make money, it can make the road a little rockier.
It’s okay to like having a day job. It can be very easy to get sucked into social media standards of wanting to do anything but work a 9-5, but 9-5s are an excellent choice if it fits your lifestyle. And sometimes the fact that you don’t love your job like you love your hobbies will benefit you in the long-run.
I’ve talked with so many colleagues who have worked with companies for decades, and almost all of them are painfully unhappy. But one common denominator was how much of their job occupied their life. I keep this in mind as I navigate, and remember how fruitful my life is outside of the office.I know you’ve heard it before but remember, “Live to work, don’t work to live.”
Asya is an accounting and finance professional who loves fiction novels, travel, writing, nature, and being a plant mom.