Author Topic: What sort of story do you tell yourself about your job?  (Read 6028 times)

NYCMiniBee133

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What sort of story do you tell yourself about your job?
« on: January 01, 2015, 08:54:20 PM »
I would love to get other Mustachian's experiences with this as I think this is generally a group that leans toward optimism and positivity.

Aside from helping you save toward retirement/freedom, what sort of story do you tell yourself about your job to put what you're doing in a meaningful and positive light? Do you think about what impact your organization has on the world? What about for jobs in finance or middle management where the impact of your work on the world is a little harder to see?

Inching slowly towards FIRE is feeling like an interminable grind and I'd like to change that frame of mind and frame the years I'm working in a more meaningful and positive light as we go into a new year. Thanks!
« Last Edit: January 01, 2015, 08:56:28 PM by NYCMiniBee133 »

humbleMouse

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Re: What sort of story do you tell yourself about your job?
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2015, 09:28:18 PM »
I tell myself that I am going to wake up and keep programming every day until my student loans are paid off.  Then I'm quitting. 

deltabelle

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Re: What sort of story do you tell yourself about your job?
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2015, 09:58:49 PM »
I'm an elementary school librarian, so I like to think I'm helping shape young minds, helping them develop a love for reading and exposing them to a wide world of possibilities beyond anything they can imagine.

Most days, I'm checking out books and having to do some serious classroom management.  There's always a pile of books to shelve and it seems like the work is never done.

I really do love what I do, so I can't complain at all.  All I have to do personally is think back to a four-year dry spell when I couldn't find a job in education.  That was a difficult period of time financially and really disheartening.

mxt0133

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Re: What sort of story do you tell yourself about your job?
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2015, 10:10:40 PM »
I got nothing, it's purely for the paycheck.  I never had a burning desire to save the world.  Sure I like to help people and do volunteer work regularly.  My job is easy for me and currently is the best job I could find to give me a good work life balance while letting save for FIRE at an earlish, 40-45, age.

I can't even really say it's to feed my family because we aren't living paycheck-to-paycheck anymore and we are currently an exploding volcano of waste and spending.

Regarding the slow grind I make sure that work is fun and I get to do things that I think are interesting.  I speak out more on my preferences and give management a compelling reason to listen.  That helps keep work tolerable and not an absolute bore.  Outside of work I pursue my interest and work on being a better husband and father.  I have a long way to go on the spouse and fatherhood side of things so i'm always on my toes.

MustachianMD

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Re: What sort of story do you tell yourself about your job?
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2015, 12:16:43 PM »
I would say that I am a budding Swami http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/04/30/weekend-edition-retire-in-your-mind-even-if-you-love-your-job/

For the most part, I actually like the work that I do. Most of the time I find what I do fulfilling. That is caring for patients and teaching. The major barrier for me is the administrative aspects and the medical legal aspects that have invaded the business of medicine. We are nearing FI, and generally would be happy to continue to work as long as work is fulfilling. When it stops being fulfilling, I plan to move onto the next phase in life. That would probably be moving to Thailand and working for a medical NGO.

GuitarStv

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Re: What sort of story do you tell yourself about your job?
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2015, 01:20:40 PM »
I'm a software engineer working in a company that designs, and redesigns rail signalling for mass transit.  My branch of our organization actively makes the world a better place by providing better, safer subways and light rail across the world.  Net result of our work is less pollution, less gridlock on streets, and happier people.  Big picture, it's pretty awesome.  Day to day, it's a corporate nightmare of bureaucracy and foolishness.  ( Also, two floors up from us another division of our company does military R&D, developing better ways to blow up the stuff we make.  :P  )

netskyblue

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Re: What sort of story do you tell yourself about your job?
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2015, 01:29:51 PM »
I wish I felt good about my job.  I don't.  I'm buying luxury goods (jewelry) for people with more money than sense to squander their earnings on.  It's pretty soul-sucking.  I hate the bridal industry, crazy bridezillas, people who flaunt their Rolexes and 5 carat diamonds.  It all disgusts me.

But the hours are pretty good, and I pay very little for health insurance.

Gone Fishing

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Re: What sort of story do you tell yourself about your job?
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2015, 01:59:38 PM »
I wish I felt more noble about my job, but at the end of the day I am just a cog in the corporate machine. When I leave, there is another one on the shelf ready to take my place.  Best I can do is help out those around me.

Trudie

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Re: What sort of story do you tell yourself about your job?
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2015, 03:26:14 PM »
I tell myself that my job is a way to pay the bills, get to retirement quickly, and move onto my life's work when I'm in my late 40's, which has very little to do with what I'm doing now.  I stay the course because my income is decent relative to our cost of living, my health insurance is 95% paid for, and they kick 10% of my salary into my 401K each year.

I realize that most of us are just cogs in the wheel.  We can be replaced quickly and very few of us are destined to be "stars."  This used to bother me when I was younger.  I always thought I should be striving and climbing.  Now I'm ambivalent.  I spend my days daydreaming about the projects I want to do, the books I want to read, the marathons I want to run, and the hobbies I want to nurture.  Interestingly, I very well may do more good for humanity in my post-retirement life than I ever have in my working life.

When I was younger I was always "investing" in my career... getting education, choosing the "right" CPE, putting in long hours, thinking about my next move.  Now I'm ambivalent.  I think a key to being happy as you transition to the world of non-work is learning how to "di-vest" yourself of your job by not wrapping so much ego into it and removing yourself from it.  (I'm not saying to become a total slacker... it's just that I've realized there's a law of diminishing returns.)  At the same time, it's healthy to involve yourself in new interests and challenges, preferably that have very little to do with your job (unless you really do love it that much.)

Statistically speaking, very few people even "like" their jobs.  I'm not sure I know of many who "love" them.

So, that's what I tell myself about my job...

mozar

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Re: What sort of story do you tell yourself about your job?
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2015, 03:36:37 PM »
My job is is actually pretty noble. I am helping the military become auditable so we (tax paying citizens) know where the money is going. In reality the staff are always resisting change, and management is waiting for them to retire so they can be replaced with AI systems. I used to wish that the organizations I worked for would accept help. Now I just focus on bettering myself. For example I have been speaking up more in meetings even though it literally does not matter what I say at all. I'm just going to keep showing up, and trying to get better paid jobs until I can FIRE in 8-11 years.
I don't think there is much that can help your mindset besides acceptance. I am eternally grateful I found this website and that I only have to do this meaningless grind for a few more years.

JLee

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Re: What sort of story do you tell yourself about your job?
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2015, 03:48:16 PM »
I wish I felt more noble about my job, but at the end of the day I am just a cog in the corporate machine. When I leave, there is another one on the shelf ready to take my place.  Best I can do is help out those around me.
Yup, you and me both.

So, I try to climb the ladder as fast as possible.  I managed ~75% in raises in 22 months and I'm not done yet. :P

Elliot

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Re: What sort of story do you tell yourself about your job?
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2015, 03:58:02 PM »
I work with the mentally ill in an acute setting. I like my job very much and find it rewarding. I know I want to retire before standard retirement age, but I'm still not sure where I want to draw my line.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons has been courting me a little, and the pay would be a bit more and for similar work but lower chance of assault, but I don't really want to move to be near a correctional facility. That's the hardest thing for me right now, wondering if I'm turning down a better job that would put me closer to FI just to keep the one I have (and to be fair, love) now.

Elderwood17

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Re: What sort of story do you tell yourself about your job?
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2015, 03:58:30 PM »
I work in healthcare and while I don't take care of patients I take care of those who do, so I feel pretty good about it.  I realize though, that if it wasn't me someone else would but I hope I add enough personal zest to it to make it a little better for folks that I work with.  It is nice working with generally good people too, many who went into healthcare for altruistic reasons.

surfhb

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Re: What sort of story do you tell yourself about your job?
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2015, 05:05:24 PM »
I'm an editor on the Housewives Series and the rest of the "stuff' that's put on Bravo TV.    Optimism and positivity?   LOL    Love the job though

Roadhog

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Re: What sort of story do you tell yourself about your job?
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2015, 05:25:36 PM »
I used to feel that my work was important and meaningful until I narrowly escaped losing my job 2 years ago during a mass layoff.  I realized how unnecessary we are when working for a large corporation.  It was a wakeup call and now after reading MMM I realize that it is my "cash cow" and I have a much happier relationship with it.   I also look at my bike commute as a positive as it keeps me fit for other athletic endeavors which is really much more important to me.  So having a place to go makes me put in the extra miles. :)

Pants

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Re: What sort of story do you tell yourself about your job?
« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2015, 07:07:43 PM »
 I am a tax accountant. I tell myself that I help people navigate our nightmarish tax system and ever changing rules so they can make the best financial and business decisions.

Some people working in tax say that they help make the tax system workable so that everyone contributes their correct share of tax to the society to keep things running blah blah blah. Given how our Gubberment squanders every dollar they get, I find it difficult to adopt this noble Bigger Picture view.

In reality, I answer bajillions of phone calls and emails, do timesheets, do bills, go to numerous meetings and CPE and spend half my life battling with the office equipment and computers.

TreeTired

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Re: What sort of story do you tell yourself about your job?
« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2015, 07:27:29 PM »
When I was working,   I performed the very important task of helping the Federal Government finance it's huge deficit.  I used to call it "applied macroeconomics."  At the same time I managed risk for the large bank(s) where I worked, and made money for them, so everyone was happy. 

Now I do volunteer work in support of a variety of noble causes that need help.

MoneyCat

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Re: What sort of story do you tell yourself about your job?
« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2015, 07:45:55 PM »
I work as a schoolteacher.  I originally went into this profession because I wanted to share my love of learning with young people and help them prepare for the future.  A few years after I became a teacher, though, the federal government passed a lot of laws which have changed my profession from teacher to test preparation coach.  Ever since that happened, I have felt really depressed about what I do.  After my student loans are paid off, it will be time to think about some changes in my life.


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pipercat

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Re: What sort of story do you tell yourself about your job?
« Reply #18 on: January 03, 2015, 08:14:17 AM »
I'm a speech therapist, so it's actually pretty easy to feel good about the work that I do.  What gets me down about working, though, is all the bureaucratic BS that comes with working in a public school.

If I get to a point of having FU money, I can simply work privately, for private pay, and do the job I want to do.

lhamo

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Re: What sort of story do you tell yourself about your job?
« Reply #19 on: January 03, 2015, 09:39:37 AM »
I work for a non-profit organization and the focus of our work is on the management of large scholarship and fellowship programs.  I basically get to help give away money, and then support people to make the best use of it (advising on research strategies, putting cool people in touch with other cool people for possible collaboration, letting people know of other follow-on opportunities, etc.). 

One of the reasons the last 1.5 years at my job has been comparatively unpleasant is that my job shifted from being 95% program work and 5% administration to being more like a 50/50 split, maybe worse.  I can do administrative work, but I have realized it is soul-sucking.  It really came home to me a few weeks ago when I had a GREAT morning interacting directly with some of our beneficiaries, and then had to go back to my desk and slog through finances, etc. for the afternoon. 

Our new director will be starting in a few weeks, and we are also hiring a dedicated finance/admin person, and my role is shifting back to more directly program-related (will probably be somewhere along the lines of 80/20 or 70/30 program to admin), so I'm hoping 2015 will be better for me.

And while it was a blow not to be offered the directorship, in hindsight it was probably a very good thing.  That job would have made me miserable in a lot of ways, and I wouldn't have been able to do it for long.  The new one I can probably stick with for awhile, though a lot depends on the dynamic with new boss.  We'll see.


YoungInvestor

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Re: What sort of story do you tell yourself about your job?
« Reply #20 on: January 03, 2015, 09:50:26 AM »
I work for a company that provides a useful service to the population and charges appropriately while always considering sustainability and the community as a whole in its course of action.

But even if I was working for greedy corporate sharks, I wouldn't mind it. I just happen to work for a company that does care, which is an added bonus.

Mesmoiselle

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Re: What sort of story do you tell yourself about your job?
« Reply #21 on: January 03, 2015, 10:34:01 AM »
I work in healthcare as an imaging tech. I am a cog, easily replaced by any new graduate even though experience is directly linked to quality of imaging in Ultrasound.

However, I'm the only one in my department that ever tries to teach the patient about how, why, and what is happening to them. I get immediate positive response from the patients, and they put a smile on my face. It's not a requirement of my job, but I enjoy it, and the patients appreciate it. They probably won't remember my name, but they have an overall positive impression of their experience, and maybe they learned something about how their body worked.

So that's what keeps me going when my coworkers suck and the bureaucracy gets me down. I question if I'm in the right field, and then my patient thanks me profusely or tells me a funny joke.