Can you be happy in a job you hate?


Phil:  Alright, Jenna, I want to tackle an unpopular topic, a topic that's hard to discuss.  I know I have a hard time discussing it, but being happy at a job you hate. Okay?  And let me give you a little context here.  It's one of those things like maybe you need to move jobs. Maybe you're thinking about moving careers, or maybe you can't even. But whatever the situation, sometimes the advice we give, or quite frequently the advice we give is you need to be happy in those circumstances That's like bad medicine.

Jenna:  I mean . . . I'm like kind of annoyed at you right now. How do you tell people to be happy in a job where they're unhappy? That's terrible.

Phil:  Right? Because it's kind of like giving someone the middle finger while you're smiling. It's like, yeah, be happy. So talk to me about the importance of that and then how do you do that? What does that look like?

Jenna:  Okay, so I don't know. I'm going to change one word. So instead of being happy in a job that you don't like, I'm going to say trying to be excellent in a job you don't like.

Phil:  I like that.

Jenna:  I'm going to say that because, one, I think it is really annoying to hear just be happy. It's like, if I could be happy in this job, I would be happy. Yeah, I'm not dumb, right. I choose unhappiness. So I think the thing is, can you continue to be excellent in a job that you don't love? And again, this is still, I would say, some bad medicine where you're like ugh. But at the same time, from a personal standpoint, when you can prove that you are above your situation, that gives you a lot of motivation. It should give you hope in the situation and the challenge that you're experiencing during that time will get you to whatever the next thing is.

People that are this quiet quitting and things that we hear in our culture right now, I don't know anyone that's going to quiet quit or start detracting themselves from their job. I don't know anybody that somebody else is going to be like, I want you for this really cool thing, or now that . . . I don't know how you can do something like that and it's going to get you to the next thing. So I don't think you should try to be happy in an unhappy job, but I think you should try to be excellent. And I am pretty confident that something else will come up or you will have the motivation you need to get yourself there.

Phil:  I love that. That is so much better way to say it. And it is about excellence, because the way I've always said it, too, is if you're looking for another job . . . I've interviewed hundreds and hundreds of people I can smell a mile away if you're unhappy and hate your current employer and you won't get hired, quite frankly. Those doors, unless they're desperate, those doors won't open. And what you're looking for is actually something bigger and better than what you currently have. And you're going to actually go through a cycle of just kind of getting the same job over and over again because of that lack of or not having that excellence . . . I love that way of saying it . . . is very apparent to employers.

And so I like that . . . be excellent in your current circumstance, even though it sucks. And it's hard to be excellent when you're underappreciated, you're underpaid, you've got a bad manager, all those kinds of things. It's hard to be excellent in that because all of those things are so demotivating. But if someone can find a way to be excellent in those situations, man, the sky is the limit and you can do anything.

Jenna:  Not easy, but I think it's necessary.

Phil:  I totally agree. And I like the way you said it. Way better than I ever have.



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