Last Saturday night, a friend asked me if I liked my job.
I replied, “I love it.”
It was the truth. I do. For the first time in my life, I can say that I absolutely, unequivocally love my job. There is no “I love this, but…” I have no complaints about my commute. I adore my coworkers. The projects I work on are exciting. Of course, I’m occasionally annoyed or frustrated, but overall, I actually, genuinely love my job.
And that’s important to me. For over four years now, I’ve looked backwards. I’ve looked back to spring 2008 and have wondered if I made the right decision. I’ve looked back to the salary I once had, the freedom to go to concerts or go shopping or go on vacation that I don’t have as much of now. I’ve looked back at how I used to leave the office at 5:00 every day and didn’t take my work home with me. I almost never worked long hours or weekends. I had a bigger apartment. I had a husband.
But I hated my job. Hated it with a capital H.
I’d wake up in the morning, and the salary and the ability to leave at 5:00 were the farthest things from my mind. I’d wake up in the morning, and nearly every morning, my first thought would be, I don’t want to go to work… don’t make me go to work. Finally, one day I woke up, and I looked at my life and everything I had and all I could concentrate was the one thing I didn’t: that I spent a solid 40 hours a week miserable, and hours more thinking or talking about how I was miserable, and I needed to make a change. So I did, and you guys know what happened next.
That was nearly five years ago now.
It’s taken me awhile to get to this point – sleepless nights and unpaid internships, long commutes and unemployment, more meetings and phone calls and cover letters than I could count, terrible roommates and less than desirable apartments, and, oh yeah, an ex-husband. I was having serious second thoughts about what I’d done to my life last April when I was offered my current job. I was on the verge of giving up and going for the easy route, tempted to stay home and find something to just pay the bills and admit defeat, accepting that maybe being fulfilled at work is one of the myths you believe when you’re young that are eventually beaten out of you. I didn’t even know if I wanted to come back to New York. I remember sitting down at my parents’ table and actually writing out a list of pros and cons, seriously debating turning it down for no good reasons I can think of right now other than being scared.
I used to believe that everything happened for a reason. I’m not entirely sure I believe that anymore, but this job is a testament to maybe some things happening for some reasons. I don’t know if I would have found myself in my current position if I hadn’t lost my old job first. I don’t know if I would have realized how much I loved doing live events. I might not have ever met the people I have met. It might take a lot of challenges to get you there, but it is possible to truly love your job. I’m living proof of that.
There’s a wonderful quote by Steve Jobs, a man I consider to be a genius in every sense of the word, from his inspirational commencement speech at Stanford in 2005:
I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.
My life isn’t all rosy all of the time. I’m often lonely. I’m hundreds of miles from my family and some of my closest friends. I don’t always love New York. But I walk into that small, sometimes lonely apartment every night and know that, deep down, I’m satisfied right now. Five years ago, I made the decision that my job was an essential piece of my overall happiness, and I pursued a change – a change that led to me losing other parts of my life that I wasn’t expecting to lose – but I can stand here today and say that, for the first time in years, I don’t care what I lost. Because what I lost isn’t as important to me now as what I gained. I kept looking. I didn’t settle. And I now have faith that the rest of the pieces will fall in place around me.