Why Do You Have a Job?

This is not an accusation. Nor is it a claim that having a job is a bad thing. I simply like to ask questions. Someone said to me recently, ‘You just like to be different, don’t you?’ I replied that I don’t like to be different, rather I can’t help but question everything I am told in life. This is what has led me to where I am now. This is what has led me to being a vegetarian since the age of seven, why I don’t have a mortgage, and why my parents fear whatever direction I next take in life. I listen to what I am told and I question it – if it makes sense, I follow the advice. If it it doesn’t, I do things in a way that works for me – a way that would not work for others because we are all different.

So now I ask you to question something. This is a question that should be answered honestly and simply. What is the purpose for having the job that you have?

I can see five main answers to why one has a certain job.

  • You love what you do (it gives you short term happiness when you are there).
  • You believe in what you do (thinking about what you do offers long term fulfilment).
  • You want it for the money and what that enables you to do.
  • You need it for the money to support yourself / your family / somebody.
  • You wouldn’t know what else to do with yourself.

Each of these points has great validity in its own right and most likely, your answer to why you have a job is a combination of the five points. Indeed, with the exception of point four, needing the money to survive, it is very difficult to have a job that does not include multiple points from the list above.

If you love what you do, brilliant. We should all be happy with what we do on a daily basis, but sadly this is not the truth for many people. If you believe in what you do, brilliant once more. Hopefully it gives you both short and long term happiness.

Doing a job for the money is something I struggle with. It is a challenge I have undertaken in Australia and it is the reason why I have written so little since I have been here. Living this life for these few months has been incredibly uninspiring and on many days, I have not been excited to wake up, knowing full well that a ten to twelve hour work day of mundaneness ensues. I don’t mind ten to twelve hour work days. In fact, get me doing something I love and I will work hard till I pass out. For free. But I am not in that position at this moment in time and have had few glimmers of brightness. When I leave Australia, I will be in a better position financially (which isn’t saying much), but I will probably continue to live in my low budget way, allowing my lifestyle of the past few years to restart once more. If you work because you want the money, I advise that you set an end. I have.

Working a job because you need the money to support yourself or others is a tricky one. Books could be written on this subject and I don’t want to go into it heavily, but I hope that you find a way to make things work out. Many people across the world live life in this way and I hope that they (you) can turn this necessity into something that you can also take happiness in.

This brings us to the final reason – working because you don’t know what else to do with yourself. This to me, is the one that makes least sense. Life is so diverse and so exciting, that I couldn’t possibly imagine not desiring to do anything. I have notebooks of ideas – that now need to be posted somewhere – of things that I want to do. And when I leave Australia, I promise (to myself) that I will pursue them. It’s like the billion dollar question, some people can’t answer because they are overwhelmed, some people can’t answer because they have no great desires. That’s OK, but I want to share where my inspiration comes from. My inspiration comes from watching or reading about other people who do things that I consider to be amazing experiences. Rather than thinking, ‘Wow,’ I think, ‘How can I do that too?’ Of course there are certain things – like the triple backflip – that wow me, that I can’t do, but there are always adaptations. I read about someone cycling around the world, so I cycled to Slovakia on a 30GBP bicycle (because it was all the money I could afford). I read about polar explorers, so I walked across Iceland. I had neither the experience nor the finance to support a polar voyage. Find things you like Find things you love, and find a way to incorporate them into your own life. This way, you will have an awful lot to do.

There is no great epiphany here, no sudden realisation, only more questions. Why do you go to work? What would you rather be doing? How will you make this possible? When will you start?

Question everything. That way you will find answers that you weren’t even looking for.

7 Comments

  • Hi Jamie,
    First of all, let me join the crowd in thanking you for sharing your thoughts and advices with everyone. I have been reading some posts and I am about to start reading your book. I love the way you say things, going straight to the point but also in a kind way. It seems you are whispering to our ears.

    I’ve just started planning my big jump too, after 6 months of travels and total freedom I did the “mistake” of thinking that coming back into an office job for a while would have helped me to save some money and get mentally ready. The only result is that I miss the road and I can’t wait for getting rid of all my stuff again 🙂

    Thank you, your thoughts strengthen my patience.

    Peace&love
    Chiara

    • Sounds exciting, Chiara. Like you, I miss the road when I settle into a stable life. I sometimes wonder what it would be like to have stayed where I grew up and never have gone anywhere – it’s too late for us now I guess! I hope you enjoy the book, happy adventuring, and thank you for your kind words.

  • I love how you are passionate about the life you are living! I am really thankful for your posts as they inspire me to put some more taste and freedom in to my own life as well.
    Keep going!

  • I have $1,500 to my name in America. This life seems amazing but I fear not being able to make it with this little amount. How can I be sure?

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