As I look back over time, and think about the conversations I've had
with other men, one thing strikes me in it's consistency: the struggle
over "am I where I'm supposed to be".
It's my belief that men were designed to be protectors and providers. That is our role. And so many of us step into that role and we try to move forward. But we don't always feel like we're where we're supposed to be. There's a common thread of "job discontent". And it's so common that it deserves attention.
In a complicated society like ours here in the U.S., there seems to be no end to the variety of jobs. There are so many more opportunities than the historic "fireman, doctor, lawyer, astronaut". I'm often dumbfounded at the job descriptions some people give me. But so few people feel they're in the right one.
Now, a few points to consider.
The saying is true: The grass DOES always appear greener on the other side of the fence. But Erma Bombeck famously pointed out that's because it's directly over the septic tank. We're rarely happy with what we have, and we often convince ourselves we'll be happier somewhere else. (By the way, this confusion delusion also applies to our relationships, but that's another post completely.)
The danger with the above mentioned state of mind is this: you can project ANY kind of happiness on a job (or relationship) you DON'T have....because you really don't know! EVERY job you "don't" have can be the perfect job.
But they all have their problems.
Personality conflicts at work? I promise - people with those SAME personalities exist in EVERY workplace. In fact, often you leave one set of problems and walk into even BIGGER problems (giving birth to the phrase: "Better the devil I KNOW than the devil I DON'T KNOW".)
And here's something else to consider: This doesn't just apply to men.
Sometimes job responsibilities expand as family fabrics change. Mom's have to shoulder the load....kids have to raise their siblings. While very real, and very common, those situations break my heart. While those situations can still create outstanding young men and women, it's much harder for them to excel.
So when it comes to your career: where does your happiness come from?
No matter what your religious belief, there is amazing wisdom that comes from the timeless pages of The Bible. And there's one lesson I use and repeat all the time.
In Philippians, the apostle Paul is languishing in prison. Conditions are less than pleasant. Prisons then were likely to be hewn out of a stone wall....likely vermin infested...no running water or bathroom facilities. And yet in these horrible conditions, what did Paul say? He said:
"....I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content."
I've thought about those words many times.
Paul doesn't say "I am content." He doesn't say "I purchased contentment" or "I climbed the ladder to contentment". He said: I have LEARNED it.
Think about that for a moment.
We're not BORN content. To the contrary, we're taught from a very young age that we always need MORE. A bigger house, a nicer car, better clothes, more toys, and on and on and on.
But we can LEARN to be content. We can find peace in a tumultuous time. Our soul can find equilibrium when the oceans churn. How? By listening to Paul.
So: WHY was Paul content?
And here's the critical answer.
Paul was content because he was where his God wanted him to be.
Paul knew he had a purpose. And Paul believed that his purpose outweighed his personal comforts or inconveniences or daily challenges.
Paul knew his life had been directed to this position. He believed he was there for a reason. Perhaps to influence, perhaps to BE influenced. And he knew it would likely change - sooner or later - and he knew he was supposed to make the most out of every situation he found himself in.
And so are we.
Is every situation perfect? No. Is every family in harmony? No way. Do we often find ourselves feeling imprisoned? All the time.
So what do you do?
You get in tune with this: DO YOU BELIEVE THAT YOU'RE WHERE YOU ARE FOR A PURPOSE?
That may take you some time. Some learning. Some soul searching.
Once you get THAT straightened out, THEN you can saturate the world with your resume.
The first step is finding your peace.
I hope you do.