Why We Settle for Jobs We Don’t Love

I’m vegan for all the reasons people are vegan – ethical, environmental, and health. I do miss the taste of cheese, though. I was recently speaking with someone about vegan cheese and caught myself saying, “I’ve found a brand that is a close approximation to actual cheese.” That phrase, “a close approximation” got me thinking about something…what drives us to make certain compromises; to settle.

Being an executive coach that helps prepare leaders for their next career move, the idea of settling for less than your dream job is unfortunate to me. Yet, according to Gallup, most Americans are actively disengaged in their work. Is this on account of them settling? I believe it comes back to your core values. Let’s suppose an individual’s top five values are: family, health, security, kindness, and balance. This individual would likely seek a stable position that offers flexibility and a family-friendly organizational culture. This person’s job may be a means to an end in that their position provides them the lifestyle they choose to live. I, on the other hand, value: growth, creativity, compassion, excellence, and service. I also fancy myself as an ambitious, hardworking individual; so, it makes sense that not loving my job would be a bitter pill to swallow; perhaps much more than the previous hypothetical person.

Identifying your values is one of the most essential exercises you can do because our values are the filtering system by which we take in information and make decisions about that information. Whether or not you’ve defined your values, you are subconsciously living by their code daily. Take a moment to google a list of core values and then sit with the list. I recommend you write out your top five, defining what they mean, and determining how they show up in your life. Once you have clarity on your values, take a look at your current job. How is your role supporting or detracting from your values? Are you settling?

Because animal welfare and compassion for all creatures are core to my value system, I would never say that I’m settling by eating vegan cheese. BUT me not being in a job I love would feel like living an invalid life, again because of those same values. Whatever your values, ensure that when it comes to your daily profession, you’re living and leading a life in support of who you are, rather than someone you think you should be. If you find yourself out of alignment, give me a holler. I help professionals align with the jobs they are most passionate about and prepare them to ace the interview so they can land their dream job. After all, because of my values, I believe it can be the norm rather than the exception to love what you do.