5 Reasons Why Your Career Is Important In Life
How much time should you put into your career? Is it really that important? In this post I explore the real impact that career has on one's life.
Hi, I'm Michael
I started this blog to help people find their path in life—from finding your passion to just getting a better job. Read my story here.
On your journey to finding work that is fulfilling, you might have friends and family tell you it’s a lost cause. They’ll reason that there are more important things. They’ll say that work and money are superficial pursuits.
This is like saying that going to the gym isn’t important because looks don’t matter. It’s simply not the point. Aside from physical appearance, there are several other benefits exercise—more energy, improved mood, improved sleep, less stress, ect.
Career is just as important as any other aspect of life. And we can’t leave a major area of our life unattended whether it be career, relationships, health, or finances.
In this post we’re going to explore the impact career has on one’s well being. It’s important to be equipped with this knowledge because during our journey to fulfilling work, we inevitably come across roadblocks. One thing that can help get passed the roadblocks is knowing why career is so important in life.
1. Career is a lot of your life
When you factor out sleep, your job is pretty much half of your life. That’s no small amount. So if your job is something you either hate or are indifferent about, that’s about half of your life you either hate or are indifferent about. Not good.
We will spend a significant amount of time at work, so it’s important to make sure that time isn’t killing your soul.
The simple fact that career is a significant portion of one’s life should be enough to convince one of the importance of it. Be we’ll continue on.
2. It affects who you are at home
If you think your work won’t affect who you are outside of the office, think again.
Many people who hate their job also develop unhealthy habits. Some of those habits can be emotionally eating, alcohol, drugs, television, depression, or simply being quick to anger.
When our work is unfulfilling, we need to cope somehow. These coping mechanisms can have significant negative affects. They involve avoiding the issue rather than addressing it directly.
Having a career that aligns with who you are will make you an energetic, positive, and makes your life outside of work better. Your friends and family will notice the difference between when you like what you do and when you don’t.
3. It is a part of your identity
When I meet someone at a party they inevitably ask “What do you do?”
Notice how they ask it. They don’t ask “What do you do for money?” or “What do you do for work?” They are essentially asking “What do you do in life?”
I used to hate this question. That’s because I hated what I was doing. It’s no wonder most of us cringe at being asked what we do—we can’t answer proudly.
Career is a large part of our identity. Usually we have more than one identity. I identify with my job, but I also identify as someone who loves to learn, as someone who’s into fitness, as a friend, son, brother, etc.
Work is one of the larger parts of our identity. It’s the first question we ask and get asked when meeting someone. This is because it is one of the largest portions of our lives. It nearly defines everything else.
Of all your identities it’s the one you spend the most time being. So it’s not something you want to neglect.
4. It provides direction and purpose
When I was doing jobs I hated I not only felt depressed, but I also couldn’t imagine a future where I did work I loved. I felt like I had no direction, like I was going to end up doing work I hated for the rest of my life.
As humans, we need responsibility. We do our best when there are people counting on us. We need to feel like our actions are making a difference in the world.
Work provides direction and purpose in our lives. With fulfilling work, we know there is a community of people who are counting on us. A place where we’re needed. A place where what we do matters.
5. Work will define your social life
When I was substitute teaching, I looked at the other teachers and realized the profession wasn’t for me. I wasn’t thinking about the job, but the people I’d be working with. First off, let me say that there’s nothing wrong with teachers, many of my best friends are teachers! It’s just that at the schools I worked at, most of them seemed content with going to work, going home, then starting the next day over. The other thing that really scared me was that none of them really loved it—everyone just complained about the kids. This was just my own experience.
Once I found a job at a start up company that had a healthy culture, I felt I was in the right place. Me and my coworkers were always trying to improve ourselves. My boss gave me self improvement books to read. My coworkers shared inspirational quotes. We’d all have tough but important conversations.
A lot of the people you’ll meet and associate with will be from work. The people you work with will also (hopefully) be your friends. So if you’re working a job you hate, then the people around you might not be the best to surround yourself with.
6. Finding Your Passion is a Moral Obligation
This last one might seem odd, but it is the most true and most important reason I can provide you with. If you don’t find what it is your are best at and meant to do, you are denying your actual self and making the world a tad bit darker.
When we don’t do what we love, our life begins to slowly fall apart. People compensate for their lack of love at work by drinking, eating, or wasting time in other meaningless activities. Stephen King has mentioned that if he didn’t become a writer he would have been an alcoholic. Writing, his life’s passion, pulled him together and made him stronger.
Finding your passion is not only crucial to yourself, it affects your family, friends, relationships, and the world at large. You have a gift that the world needs, and to not foster it is to rob the world of that gift.
As Robert Green said in the book Mastery, “It is a matter of life and death.”
In the end, finding fulfilling work doesn’t have to take a lifetime, but it will take patience. In your journey you’ll have jobs you hate. But if they’re a stepping stone to the job you are crazy about, then they’re important.
This life will pass by no matter what you do, so how are you going to spend it?
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