You owe it to yourself to see how far you can go

A friend of mine hates his job and has been asking people whether he should quit.

He shared what people have said so far. I disagreed with the advice, but understand where it comes from. I’ve either thought the same things at one point, or heard similar advice myself.

I wanted to share his questions (in italics) and my responses in case you’re dealing with a similar situation.

My mom keeps saying to me, “I don’t know why you’d quit your job when you’re good at it and people will pay you to do it.”

There’s a difference between being good at something and liking it. I’m good at a lot of things but I don’t necessarily like doing them. You spend 80% of your day at work and will do so for 40 years. It’s worthwhile to at least try finding a place where you can do something you're both good at AND enjoy doing. 

My friend from business school says, “All jobs suck, you’re chasing something that’s not there.”

All jobs suck some of the time. But he’s wrong that all jobs suck period. If you truly believe that then stay at your current job. The next place will be just as bad right? I don’t think you believe him deep down.

My cousin who has kids says, “After having kids a job is there just to pay the bills.”

After you have kids, your priorities change and you have a new life purpose to raise good children. This takes the burden off of work to fulfill every part of you, thereby making it seem less important in the bigger picture. It doesn’t mean that work no longer means anything.

Here’s my take:

You have one guaranteed life. The rest, even if you believe in reincarnation, is uncertain.

Some people never start doing what they want, some people realize this in the moments before they die, some people start in their fifties. And some people start now.

It’s up to you. Whatever you choose, you should own it as your decision and feel good about it. Sometimes it’s not the right time to leave. Sometimes you want to take it easy for a while.

It’s okay to have whatever priorities you have. Just don’t beat yourself up about it and feel regret later on.

The fear that prevents me from really going out there, is the idea that if I attempt something, I’ll fail and prove to myself that I really wasn’t as good as I thought I was.

I’d never again be able to say “I could totally do that” or “How did that company succeed? That guy sucked.” Because I would know once and for all that I don’t have what it takes.

Except it’s not “once and for all.” I realize that I’m over-dramatizing the consequences in my mind, but the fear still feels very real. It’s something that I’m working on day by day, one step at a time.

Everyone has a different fear that’s preventing them from doing what they’d secretly like to do. Yours is probably different from mine.

Here’s a reminder that’s been helpful for me, and might be for you:

You owe it to yourself to see how far you can go.

UncategorizedWes Kao