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Should You Do What You Are Supposed To Do Or What You Yearn To Do?

Updated on June 11, 2016

Mind Numbing Retail Work

A retail display. To this day, I don't enjoy shopping! I get in, get what I need, and make an exit!
A retail display. To this day, I don't enjoy shopping! I get in, get what I need, and make an exit! | Source
This was the department I hated working in! Electronics... better left to those who have some technical knowledge. I avoided this area and tried to avoid the toy department as well!
This was the department I hated working in! Electronics... better left to those who have some technical knowledge. I avoided this area and tried to avoid the toy department as well! | Source

A Concept Many People Struggle With!

Before I even begin, I do realize that some people are in a situation where they really don't have an option to leave a job to pursue something they love, because of financial obligations or because of unfortunate circumstances that have come their way. I have so much respect for people who are out there working hard every day to support their families! My hat is off to you!!

One thing I learned in about 30 years of working traditional jobs is that there are so many jobs out there that are absolutely mind-numbing, and that can make you feel lost and almost "soulless". You wake up one day (well, I did anyway) and you realize that for 14 years you've been getting up, getting ready, trudging into work, clocking in and putting in your time ... only to go home, watch television for a few hours and go to bed.

The next day, you get up and do it all again.

In my case, a big part of why I did it was to bring in an extra income for specific goals that we had, like putting both of our sons through college. This was a worthy goal and I wouldn't change anything about that. We saw both of our sons graduate college and they were able to get GOOD jobs. They are on their own now, married with children. We have been blessed with beautiful grandchildren and with two daughters in law that we love as our own daughters.

Teenage Beginnings...

I began my working life when many people do, as a teenager. After high school graduation, I worked at a canning factory for the summer. I thanked God every day that this was only a temporary summer job. I used to have to pull off the road on the way home from working a night shift to dab my eyes, which were watering profusely. I'd have to sit there until I could get my eyes to stop watering!

I worked at a company that canned vegetables, and to this day, I believe there were chemicals and things I was exposed to that caused my eyes to water the way they did. It just wasn't normal. I knew I could never keep this kind of a job up for years!

Luckily, I had college plans in the fall because of a grant and a loan I'd received, so off to college it was! After almost a year of college, I knew that wasn't for me either. I left to go to work (go figure! Why in the world did I rush that?) But this time, I was doing office work. I worked for a short time in a clerical job at a toy company, at Merrill Lynch, and at insurance company (consecutively).

I left after four years at the insurance company because life threw me a huge curve ball.. I met my husband, quit my job, and moved across the country!

Over the years, I held several part time jobs, in between raising our two sons (twins), who were born 2 1/2 years after we married. I considered these jobs to be simply time fillers for when our kids were in school. They brought in a little bit of income, but nothing sustainable.

Once our sons were in Middle School and through their High School and college years, I worked in a candy factory, in a grocery store deli department and then in retail for 14 years. This is where I did what I considered to be mind numbing work that could take your soul away if you let it.

I saw so many people come and go over the years, punching that time clock and just counting days and years and waiting for retirement. I even met and worked with a woman for years who passed away shortly after she retired. She didn't have "years" to enjoy retirement. She had worked most of her years, and left us too soon. I didn't want to be one of these people, but that was the path I was on. As the kids say today, I was living "it is what it is." For fourteen years I did that.

After a move across the country to go with my husband who had found a job out west, here in Nevada, I found myself in a position where I was able to begin a home business doing freelance writing.

So far, I've been writing for about five years. It is becoming a turning point for me. I pretty much gave myself five years to be successful, or to go back to another job outside the home. Since I still don't even make as much as I did working retail... I find myself thinking maybe I "should" go back to work. But, I cringe at the thought of retail, so I may have to try to find another avenue.


Writing Can Have It's Pitfalls...

Haven't made a lot writing, but I do enjoy it.. do I keep doing what I yearn to do or what I "should do?"
Haven't made a lot writing, but I do enjoy it.. do I keep doing what I yearn to do or what I "should do?" | Source

What Beliefs Am I Following?

I find myself thinking, what beliefs am I following that I feel as if I "have" to work until I'm 65 (or 62).. then retire. And then, if I don't, am I somehow not as successful as I could have been? This is the position I find myself in now. I'm struggling with the topic of this post... should I do what I think I "should" do, or should I keep pursuing what I yearn to do, which is to write. It must be this Midwestern work ethic thing that was instilled in me from childhood. The idea that you "should" keep working until this predetermined retirement age.

Writing for me has become like a job, especially after five years of doing it. I rack up pennies and dollars each month just to transfer it to a bank account. Then I start a new month at zero... and I think to myself, maybe I should just "give up" and go back to work and let writing just be a part-time hobby. It can be something to do in retirement to bring in a little extra income. But then I have thoughts like what if something happens and I'm unable to write once I finally do hit that retirement age?

The Road To Success...

Source

The Catalyst For This Post...

I think the reason I chose this topic is because of articles I was reading earlier tonight. One of them was about a woman who gave up a six figure income in a mind-numbing, "soulless" job that led her to a breakdown of sorts, to become a yoga instructor. She's much happier and more at peace now. Another article I read was about a woman who gave up a corporate job to become an entrepreneur, and she is now more successful than she was in the corporate job. But the truth is, this doesn't happen to all entrepreneurs... there are varying degrees of success.

So, that leads me to believe maybe I should continue my quest. I may do it a bit differently, though. Maybe I'll try to start a blog and maybe even start working on a book. Because, after all, don't we always hear about how "life is short"? And is it even true that you have to make huge amounts of money to be successful? I don't think so! Can't success be measured by how happy you are doing what you do, even if you don't bring in a huge income?

Every person needs to examine their own situation and come to their own conclusions about what will work best for them. But for me, for now, it looks as if I'll continue to write. I'll come back with updates, especially if something changes. Which we all know can happen, because after all, isn't life all about changes and how we adapt to them?

What Will You Do?

After reading this, will you pursue something you're passionate about or continue to do what you think you "should" be doing?

See results

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    • KathyH profile imageAUTHOR

      KathyH 

      2 years ago from Waukesha, Wisconsin

      Thanks so much for your kind words, teaches12345! They mean a lot! I think I need to cut back on comparisons of my working life with that of others! Each of us is here on our own journey! :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      2 years ago

      Thank you for sharing your personal experience about careers. You are to be admired for your strong beliefs and ability to pursue your dreams. Good for you! God bless you and have a great week.

    • KathyH profile imageAUTHOR

      KathyH 

      2 years ago from Waukesha, Wisconsin

      You have been very lucky, MizBejabbers! The point I'm at now, at age almost 57, college seems like something I would pay more for than I would get out of it, but it is always an option!! Our sons would be shocked if Mom went back to college!! (Laughing!!) Thank you for your thoughtful comment!! It's much appreciated, and I do take the advice to heart. :) Continued success to you!

    • KathyH profile imageAUTHOR

      KathyH 

      2 years ago from Waukesha, Wisconsin

      Thank you for the wise words, suraj punjabi! People should not be defined only by their jobs - people are so multi-faceted and there is so much more to life than work. Thank you for your very thoughtful comment!

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James-MizBejabbers 

      2 years ago

      I guess I'm really lucky because I've had two careers that I've loved, and eight years past retirement, I'm still getting up and going to work at my present job of 28 years. But I am lucky because I've spent my working life writing, of sorts, from commercials to news stories and now I'm spending the last days of my career editing other peoples' work for a living and writing for fun. So I'm one of the few who has been able to have it all. It hasn't always been smooth sailing. I left college and raised a family. When I returned to work, I discovered that times had changed and I needed the degree to validate my skills and talents, so I spent several years working on two degrees (and working full-time at the same time). It was worth it because the promotions came quickly thereafter. You might want to consider returning to finish what you left off. I was 50 when I got my BA, so it's never too late. Good luck to you.

    • suraj punjabi profile image

      suraj punjabi 

      2 years ago from jakarta

      Nice article. I am currently doing both. I like to write but I have a full time job that pays me rather well and I am not ready to let go of it just yet. So what I do is write in my spare time, a little each day and then finally it becomes a Hubpages article!

      A lot of people are not happy with their jobs and they are there only for the money. But I feel we should not be defined by our jobs. If I am my job, then if I don't have a job does that mean I am not? I feel it also matter what we do when we are not working, plenty of room there to keep us happy. Spend time with family, spend time with our hobby of perhaps writing or painting.

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