Are you working more, enjoying it less, and dreading the time you spend most days at your workplace? If you answered "yes" to this question, take some time to explore your current career choice and consider all of the other options that your life and work have to offer.
You spend a substantial portion of your life at work, dressing for work, getting to work, and thinking about work. Why not make that time as professionally and personally rewarding and fulfilling as possible? You have nothing to lose, and potentially a great deal to gain, by spending time exploring your interests, values, and options. You really, ought to want to love what you do at work.
You Work Long Hours: Invest Them in Work You Love
The average American manager works 42 hours per week, but a substantial number of managers and professionals—three in 10, or 10.8 million people—work 49 or more hours per week. Of male managers and professionals, 4 in 10 work 49 hours.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics;
...in 2014, employed people worked an average of 7.8 hours on the days they worked. More hours were worked, on average, on weekdays than on weekend days—8.1 hours compared with 5.7 hours.
On the days they worked, employed men worked 52 minutes more than employed women. This difference partly reflects women's greater likelihood of working part-time. However, even among full-time workers (those usually working 35 hours or more per week), men worked longer than women—8.4 hours compared with 7.8 hours.
The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.4 hours a week in May 2017. In manufacturing, the workweek also was unchanged at 40.7 hours, while overtime edged up by 0.1 hours to 3.3 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged down by 0.1 hours to 33.6 hours.
Employment in other major industries, including construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, and government, showed little change over the month. While the overall trend in working hours is down, with the average non-supervisory or production employee working 34.5 hours in 1999 as compared to 38.7 in 1964 and 34.4 in 2017, this figure is skewed by workers in services and especially retail, who are working substantially fewer hours.
Remember that these hours do not include time spent dressing for work or commuting. Getting to and from work can add an additional five to 20 hours to your work week. So, when you consider all of the time you spend related to work, you are working long hours. So, you really want to love your job.
You Feel as if You Are Working Harder
Managers and professionals perceive that they are working harder. Combine the extra hours relating to work with the actual hours worked, and a substantial portion of your week is filled. The pace of the modern workplace is stressful. With most spouses and partners working and two schedules to balance with the needs of the family, life, in general, is stressful.
Technology allows you to communicate with work twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week if needed. With email, smartphones, IMs, and laptops, is it any wonder that you feel as if you are working all of the time? Even if you're not, you have the constant potential to fill every waking hour with work.
A Gallup Management Journal Survey summary reports that "only one-third of U.S. employees are engaged in their work and workplace. And only about one in five say their performance is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work.
Employees feel rather indifferent about their job and the work they are being asked to do. Organizations are not giving them compelling reasons to stay, so it should come as no surprise that most employees (91%) say the last time they changed jobs, they left their company to do so.
According to another Gallup report, the costs to U.S. businesses of low employee engagement aren't limited to employee turnover and recruitment. Gallup found that actively disengaged employees cost the U.S. $450 billion to $550 billion per year. The attendance and dissatisfaction issues of disengaged employees make work longer, harder, and more stressful for the remaining workers.
In many workplaces, fewer people are doing more work as workers are not replaced when they leave or retire. In other organizations, finding qualified staff remains problematic, especially in areas relating to engineering and other technical careers.
Solutions to Ensure That You Love Your Work
Now that you're convinced that you're working long hours and working hard, why not follow this prescription for making sure you love your work? If you're going to work this hard, your work must be something that you love—bonus points if you find your work is also meaningful work.