The danger of unfulfilling work…

Author’s Note: First off, this is not the original article I wrote two years back. I removed the original because I felt that it contained too many negative and bitter elements. In accordance with my goal to maintain a positive outlook on life, I have rewritten this article to reflect that change in my attitude.

Two years ago, I read a very powerful blog article by Steve Pavlina, Love Your Work or Don’t Work at All. That article’s content really hit home. By all means, please read on.

I used to work in the IT (Information Technology) industry. I fixed computers (PCs and Macs), solved network connectivity issues, cleaned viruses, etc. I worked really hard, provided value, and generally worked towards making work a better place to, well, work.

Now, I’m a pretty good tech. Despite that, in all honesty, I’ve had some really bad experiences in my field. I’ve been yelled at, made fun of, belittled, lied about, lied to, and backstabbed. (I know, join the club, right?) On top of that, I’ve never really been happy with my pay. My salary always seemed to hover significantly lower than the median salary for entry level IT workers in my area, in spite of my several years of experience. (I know there’s a club for this, too.)

Because of my previously negative mindset, I took those bad experiences very personally, which led to bitterness, which in turn reinforced that very same negative mindset. A vicious circle, as they say.

When I lost my previous IT job, I became extremely frustrated with my so-called career path. The economy was beginning to sour, and jobs were slowly becoming scarce. Shortly after a very disappointing IT job interview, I ended up in a totally different industry altogether – hospitality.

Now, I didn’t have much interest in building a career in the hospitality industry. A close friend told me about this particular opening, and since the pay was decent, I took the job. My intention was to hold this position until I was able to get my hands on a “good” IT job. I continued interviewing. And interviewing. And interviewing. Over a year went by, and I didn’t receive a single offer. I started becoming even more disappointed and bitter.

Because of my negative and bitter attitude, and my lack of interest in the job, my work quality started to suffer. I was letting my pride get the better of me, by thinking things like: “Why do I have to do this kind of work for a living? I should be building computer networks, and fixing technical problems! Ugh!” My attitude was definitely poisoning my work at that point. Eventually, a coworker pointed out to me that my work was slipping.

It was then I realized that something had to change. I either had to quit, or somehow change my attitude.

Of course, quitting was not an option.

Okay, so how about I go about changing my attitude? Well, I need to find some aspect of the job that I like somehow…

But I couldn’t think of anything. Despite my initial cluelessness, I refused to give up. I regularly devoted some mental energy to thinking about that positive aspect. Then it hit me –

I like the people I work with, and the people I work for!

I think the negativity in my mind was a hurdle I had to clear before making that realization. But then I could see additional positive aspects of my job:

I can live on the income from my job!

I feel respected at my job!

(Yeah, I know it sounds really corny, but bear with me here.)

I like the location of my job!

My job constantly reminds me of my long term goals!

However, I had totally overlooked a very important detail…

This hospitality job really forced me to get out of my comfort zone.

This leads me into a long term goal I’ve had for quite a while –

To become a more outgoing and friendly person – a people person.

By nature, I am very introverted and a little on the shy side. I have always wanted to further develop my social skills to better interact with people, and to feel more comfortable around them. This job provided the perfect opportunity to achieve that goal.

And like a dummy, I came very close to throwing it all away, all because of a negative attitude.

That reminds me of a fortune cookie fortune I got once: “It’s your attitude, not your aptitude, which determines your altitude.” (I actually have a separate article about that here.) In short, it means your attitude determines where you go in life.

So far, results have definitely been forthcoming. I no longer have bitter feelings towards my job. I am also slowly becoming more friendly and comfortable around people. It will continue to take time and practice, but I am on my way. That is what really counts. Well, that and striving to free yourself of negative attitudes.

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