08: Why your job is better than getting eaten by lions

It’s totally absurd, but for perspective I often imagine my ancestors living 20,000 years hauling home some berries or a wild boar. They literally risked their lives to gather food. Now your ability to provide for yourself and your family consists of clicking buttons on the Internet.

It’s a funny visualization but I find it always grounds me in what matters: why am I at work, what is really important to me, and why being happy is more important to us than anything else.

It’s easy to let work get to you and invade your happy space; I’m going to share my strategies for staying happy wherever I work.

Work / Life Boundary
Clear boundaries between work & life
Disconnect all work tools from my phone. I’m unreachable unless you text or phone.

How do you develop this balance?

Having a healthy and disciplined routine and schedule. My Monday’s are no meeting days and have several focus periods, team meetings are on Tuesdays and I try to schedule other meetings then. I walk my dog at the end of each work day. It’s my queue and my reset button.

I have an office upstairs with a work laptop that stays up there. When my work hour is done I leave that room and leave the laptop there as well. All my work for the podcast or hobbies is using a personal laptop.

Letting Go

You can’t control everything, certainly not what other people do. It’s hard AF sometimes if you’re like me and your passion is your strength.

How do you practice letting go?

Being able to let go. Give less fucks. Don’t over think things. Good work is important. Perfection will haunt you. It’s okay to be invested in your work and care deeply about it. But it’s healthy to try to not being emotionally attached to work.

Similar to your lion analogy, something that grounds me in times of stress is a quote by Stanley Kubrick. “Whenever you have a dreadful day, take a moment to consider how small we are as humans in this galaxy. In the grand scale of it all, that bad day is virtually meaningless.”

Part of this mental state is the product of almost a decade of personal growth and hard work. It’s a gift to not worry about finding employment. So patience is key here. This won’t be instant.

Investing in your career over your job

Find what you love about your career and invest in thatYour job is just a job; it could change; your employer may lay you off tomorrow and despite all the fucks you give, they’ll continue on without youYour career will continue to grow; besides your job will benefit from investing in your career.

How do you invest in your career?

Building a network. It used to be going to events, speaking at meetups. Now it’s more virtual groups, paid memberships and private Slack communities. But it’s so important to reach out to other humans and make connections. Your goal is to help progress as many people so that some of them can help you in turn.

Being Candid

First, be compassionate and empathetic. Develop these skills. Be interested in what makes people tickSecond, be honest when you’re not happy or uncomfortable or frustrated – don’t sit on that shit because in my experience 98% of people just don’t know your upset if you don’t say something.

Why is being candid so important?

Getting positive feedback. Getting good results. Surpassing expectations. Helping a colleague, solving a problem. It makes me happy at work. One of my colleagues described me as someone who takes mysteries, smashes them into pieces, and turns the remnants into answers. Being well liked by coworkers and management is a big part of happiness. I find that easier in smaller companies.

Eggs in more than one basket

Advice I got years ago and now follow is having more interests than just my career. Used to read non-stop business books. Now I have hobbies completely unrelated to work, coding, and hobbies that are career related, like this podcast.

Quit shitty jobs

My landscaping story – shit people, but I ‘toughed’ it out to prove a point. Now have sworn I won’t endure something awful ever again (not that I’ve had to).

Alex shoutout, Shopify inspiration story. Hated construction industry. Quit, learned to code, applied and failed a few times, kept trying and getting better, now he works there. Never seen someone’s job satisfaction rate go up that high.

Intro music by Wowa via Unminus

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