Thursday, November 22, 2012

accomplishment on the job (but not the career)

I've been with my new job for awhile now. In fact, I've officially had my three month review (plus a month of training, which they don't count towards that). It's not a career, per se, but it's a job that pays the bills, lets me strengthen and develop skills and that I mostly enjoy.

Turns out I'm also actually kind of good at it. Which shouldn't surprise me, since it's related to previous work experience, but it does a little. I've even got the marks on my review and some follow up from my supervisor and they're pretty clear. Objectively I'm really good at my job. My reviews are overwhelmingly positive, and I push myself to keep improving. It's fun to constantly have something to come home and brag about, even if it's just a good report or a nice mark on a review.

I don't feel so good at it though. I have this one thing that I just struggle with. I mean I hit my targets and I'm a good solid average at it. I certainly don't earn my way to bonuses in this particular area often (and this is one of only two targets we can earn bonuses for), and while I do my job it's nothing to write home about. I have other things that I'm really good at, objectively, but I find really hard to do. It's not a hard skill, it just isn't one I was naturally given. I feel like I'm growing as a person because of it, and I'm getting to develop stronger skills but I just don't feel good at it.

I wonder sometimes if it's just that I feel like I'm capable of more. Maybe I'm never going to feel good at a job that I think should be easy. Maybe taking a "paying the bills" job is never going to give me a sense of accomplishment. Don't get me wrong, I still take pride in doing a good job. I'm constantly trying to hit higher performance targets and come in consistently above standards and expectation (and for the most part, I do). I just don't feel like I'm doing enough. Not enough to feel really "good" or to be able to feels "accomplished", although I'm getting better at celebrating the little victories.

What's the line from Erin Brockovich? "Not personal! That is my work, my sweat, and my time away from my kids! If that is not personal, I don't know what is!" I may not have made a career a field I have a deep burning passion for, and I may not have a fancy job but you had better bet I take my work seriously. This is my time away from everything I love, and that's a big deal. I can't hate that time, and if I didn't strive to do my best at whatever it is I'm doing it would be an awful waste. Just sometimes it feels like even if I am the best at what I do it wouldn't mean all that much and I don't really know how to change that. Maybe I just really feel like work is never going to be an accomplishement for me - even the best job I've ever had, where I did feel like I did something really good in the world I never felt any personal sense of achievement. Maybe work is just work.

How does work and career play into your life? Is it a central element, or somewhere along the sidelines? What role do you wish work had?


  1. Oh I can relate so much to this.
    At my previous job I was going crazy because so much of the targets were about the speed. Which meant that quality got compromised.
    Perfectionist that I am, I strived for perfect work, not making any mistakes but that slowed me down. Since those targets were only bonus-related I honestly did not care about them.... since what motivates me is a job well done. Doing my best. Doing it correct.

    "Maybe taking a "paying the bills" job is never going to give me a sense of accomplishment. "

    I have been thinking about all this, long and hard, and I believe that for me doing something "good" for the world really is important otherwise I deem it as superficial. Even if the first part of growing up is paying the bills, and bills don't care where the money comes from.

    "Maybe work is just work". Maybe it was a Santa Claus style lie that if you study what you like, love what you do, you will find a fulfilling job and get paid for it. And because you will be good at it, you will only keep improving. It is so hard to translate that to real life...

    But as we spend so much time and effort working, I do think it should be something that at least we like. That motivates us.

    1. It sounds like we've been in similar situations. If it wasn't for the fact that this particular target was associated with money and that it's a big deal for my employer, I wouldn't care so much. But it's hard when my biggest weakness is so highly valued by management.

      I wonder if deciding how work fits into life is one of the existential mysteries of growing up. When I was younger I really thought that my career was going to be a defining part of both who I am and my life as a whole and at that point doing something worthwhile really mattered to me. At this point I'm really discovering that work is what I do to allow myself financial freedom in the rest of my life and I know that my ideal future includes me being a stay at home mom (at least part time). So I've been having a hard time balancing what I want out of a job, what I need out of a job and what's available in a job. I'll probably figure out what works for me in oh, about 10 years.

      Liking the job is very key though. There has to be some sort of positive outside of the paycheque!

  2. I had been doing a job since 3 years but ultimately my expenses were not meet by the salary. Then my friend suggest me to go to and have look at opportunities mentioned there and apply to the relevant. Thanks to this platform as I am really happy working with new company.