Fresh out of college I had a 9-5 job at a local children's hospital. My coworkers were awesome, I had a good amount of freedom and sweet health benefits. One day, the thought of becoming a coach popped into my head and I that was all I wanted to do. The hospital job remained the same, but suddenly I was bored and unsatisfied. I went from feeling blessed and delighted, to annoyed and stuck overnight. After about 6 months of feeling this way, I quit my job and moved to NYC to live my "dream." I'll save my breath, read more about that here.
Long story short, after about 1.5 years of an entrepreneurial train wreck I was burnt-out, broke and pretty damn embarrassed to have left my sweet, secure hospital job. By the time 2017 rolled around, It was time to cut my losses and find a 9-5 again. Soon, I found a similar job at a different hospital and I eagerly returned to my safe little spot on the "beaten path".
In 2017 I starting working at my new day job. I manage a few rewarding projects and find deep satisfaction in helping the community. However, it's not so glamorous. My schedule is inflexible. I have to wake up early. Sometimes I have to work weekends. Two hours a day, I schlep car seats and bike helmets between buildings and drive a humongous safety van around Boston. Some days I have to wear a dorky polo. The younger version of me probably would have hated this. Now, I have no complaints; I absolutely love it. I have mastered the joy of the 9-5.
How is this possible?
1) Clarify the big picture to include your 9-5 - Before, my big picture was just a vague idea that excluded any sort of 9-5. Now, I have a clear and detailed vision of where I want my career to go. My current 9-5 is an vital part of the big picture as it provides financial stability and valuable related experience. One day, when my writing and coaching provides all the stability I need, I might let the 9-5 go. But for now I'm all about it.
2) Ditch the "now or never" mindset- Initially, I felt like my coaching business had to happen now or never. It took making a lot of mistakes to recognize that my dreams and goals are a long term game. Now, I navigate with patience and pace myself. This prevents me from burning-out (again), and gives me a sense of flexibility and calmness.
3) Forgive yourself for small mistakes- Jobs start to suck big time when you take the small things too seriously. I could find a lot of stress in the small things at my job; organizing conference calls, running meetings, giving presentations, etc. Of course I take my job seriously, but I forgive myself for making mistakes.
4) Be OK with stagnant periods of your life- Perhaps your 9-5 is uninspiring or your daily responsibilities are boring. It's important to keep in mind that every period in your life is temporary. Even the most stagnant moments are shaping and preparing you in some way. Those boring years at a desk job might be holding space for you to step into a new role when the time is right and you are ready.
5) Express gratitude- Make a list of everything your job allows you to do- pay rent, afford doctor visits, learn new skills, get to know new people, etc. I find it helps to wake up and go to bed, thankful. It is easy to whine... "Do I really have to go to work tomorrow?" However, a healthy Day Joy mindset is: "I get to go to work tomorrow."
5) Find positive in the negative- In the intro to this post I wrote a laundry list of crappy things I have to do at my 9-5. Here are all the good things about the bad things in my job:
Negative: My schedule is inflexible
Positive: I am WAY more productive and happy with structure in my life
Negative: I have to wake up early
Positive: I have a kick-ass morning routine that involves coffee, That 70's Show and calling my mom.
Negative: Sometimes I have to work weekends.
Positive: I stick around Boston and relax my ass off for the rest of the weekend which is the besssst. (Usually my weekends are go-go-go)!
Negative: Two hours a day, I schlep car seats and bike helmets between buildings
Positive: Hello, 10,000 steps/day and toned arms.
Negative: I drive a humongous safety van around Boston.
Positive: Driving around Boston really helps me learn the geography of the city!
Negative: Some days I have to wear a dorky polo.
Positive: I get to wear jeans or shorts with it, ALSO I spend less money on work clothes.
*Hint Hint*...You should do the same exercise!
6) Get more sleep- My least favorite part about having a 9-5 used to be the early wake-up call. I'd snooze my alarm as much as I possibly could and then rush my morning. Now, I wake up at 6AM and essentially spring out of bed. Am I super AMPED to install car seats and talk to kids about safety every day? I'd be lying if I said yes. But, I have no trouble waking up because I am well rested. I have many clients express to me that they want to wake up every morning excited for the day. If you're someone who wishes the same, try sleeping more. Restfulness is a wonderful feeling to wake up to and is naturally motivating!
Let me know what you think!