No job ever seems like my 'dream job'

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We’ve heard the Mark Twain quote: “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

Each day feels like work to me; I’m satisfied with my job, but I wouldn’t describe it as a “calling.”

Why can’t I find my passion?

So, about that. I have a love-hate relationship with that quote. What I love: Some people may indeed have found that idyllic job where work brings them joy, and finding work that aligns with your passion is  a worthy goal. What I hate: It sets up many people – particularly young adults or college students venturing into the workplace for the first time – for disappointment.

Yes, work can fulfill and energize us! And yes, work can exhaust and stress us out!

Think about it: Parents, you greeted that beautiful baby with unabashed joy and love. You love them to pieces. But actually raising them? It’s work: Think early morning feedings, negotiating diaper changes and picking up your teen from the dance at 1 a.m.

For those of you who do not have children, other pursuits such as travel or volunteering can bring much fulfillment. However, they, too, come with their share of drudgery such as dealing with missed flights or finding out your volunteer gig involves cleaning the bathrooms.

The point is: No one aspect of our lives – including our jobs – will completely fulfill us. It’s not realistic to expect that your first job out of college – or your fifth – will be all joy. However, it is realistic to bring your best self to each task, finding moments of fulfillment even in the mundane.

Where to begin?

Start the day with prayer.

Turn off the radio during your morning commute and check in with God. Ask the Holy Spirit to inspire you to be creative and positive as you begin your workday.

Accept that work is work.

Within that, however, reframe the tasks you may not enjoy. For example, try to listen actively during meetings and inject a bit of humor; enhance mundane tasks by taking “conversation breaks” to interact with others.

Pay your dues.

First job out of college? It may not be your dream job, but that’s OK. Take this opportunity to learn new skills and get a clearer sense of your strengths and interests.

Explore your other passions.

Do you have an office or trades job but always wished you could be a teacher or coach? Consider volunteering: It may be enough to have a satisfactory job and find fulfillment outside of the 9-5.

Don’t get stuck.

All of that said, if you find you dread Mondays and live for Fridays, it may be time to make a change. Ask the Lord to help you determine what’s next; seek advice from a trusted friend or career counselor.

Ultimately, as Christians, we know that regardless of what we do for a living, God has a plan for each of us. “We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” (Rom 8:28)

Patricia Mish is a Catholic journalist and editor.