Many of us were told that if we went to school and got good grades we would be able to get a good job. The social contract of the industrial revolution included the following principles:
- Go to school and learn how to read, write, and do some math
- Listen to your manager (teacher)
- Perform at or above a predetermined standard (test)
- Receive esteem and promotion if you fit the performance model (Be marginalized if you don’t)
- Get good grades
- Show your grades to potential employers
- Get that job
- Listen to your manager (boss/supervisor/manager)
- Perform at or above a predetermined standard (job description/metrics)
- Receive esteem and promotion if you fit the performance model (marginalized if you don’t)
- Get good reviews
- Keep your job
- This model has educated and enhanced the lives of millions if not billions of people. Don’t get me wrong–I’m grateful for education. Here’s what I’m not ok with: people who spend their entire adult lives working at a J.O.B.
I have a job and so do you. Money makes the world go round and let’s be honest—it’s hard to feed your family on good feelings alone. I need to engage in the economic process to get money to pay for the food to feed them. But there’s a big difference between having a job (something that allows you to earn the money needed to support you and your family) and a J.O.B.
So, what is a J.O.B.? It stands for “Just Over Broke.” You are Just Over Broke when all you do is trade time for money – when your work doesn’t engage you or elevate you or bring meaning to you.
People with J.O.B.’s spend 10 or 20 or even 50 years repeating this process, just going through the motions, with one foot in the grave. Nothing is exciting. Nothing is meaningful. Nothing is contributed. Nothing that they contribute through their daily calling matters to them or anyone else.
Too many people have J.O.B.’s. You could be one of them, trading time for money and being Just Over Broke on every level: physically, spiritually and emotionally.
So what if you do have a J.O.B.? It’s time to do some assessment. Take a look at your life, your career and your goals. Evaluate changes you can make now to change your situation. Talk to a trusted friend or mentor about how you’re feeling, talk through potential options and make a plan of action (and follow it.)
Something else to keep in mind: sometimes you don’t have to change your job to leave your J.O.B. Sometimes it’s more about changing your perspective, looking for ways to find meaning in what you do now. Whether you’re the president of a bank or standing behind a checkout counter at a convenience store, look for ways to bring joy to what you’re doing. Let your interactions with others energize you rather than drain you. Challenge yourself to do something better, learn something new, or find a different way to do the same old thing—and then do it. It’s amazing how taking steps like these can ultimately lead to either loving the job you have or leading you to the job you’ve dreamed of having as you leave your J.O.B. in the dust.
Life is short—fill yours with meaning.