Self Esteem and Career
There was a time where I was feeling like I needed a job and would desperately seek any office job that would hire me. My standards were pretty low at the time. I’d take a job…any job if:
- It paid at least $10/hr and
- It wasn’t back-breaking labor and
- It wasn’t fast food
This led to taking many bullshit jobs. I would try to engage with the work I was assigned as much as possible because it seemed like that’s when time went by the fastest. More often than not, my disdain for the work wouldn’t let me muster up enough engagement with it, and I would have thoughts like these:
- “Fuuuuck this shit.”
- “This is a waste of life.”
- “I should be doing something more important.”
- “How much longer til lunch?” (same question to myself 10-20min better)
- “When is this gonna be over?”
- (after being ordered to do something) “yeah…whatever”
- “I hate that I’m getting good at this bullshit. I’m not going to use this anywhere but here or other jobs like this.”
- “hmmm…they just took all the credit for what I did.”
- “I’m making them rich”
- “They’re not even physically working. Me and other people at the bottom of this pyramid are doing all the work and getting paid the least.”
- “Fuck this shit!” (Did I mention this one already?)
- “How do I get out of this shit?”
- “I’m not keeping any of the money I make here.”
- “I just need X to make rent.”
- “I need to be doing something more challenging.”
- “I’m letting my ancestors down.”
- “I hate when they bring other people in to look at us work like we’re animals at the zoo or something.”
- “When will this end?”
- “I’m just here because I need the money”
Add to this often daydreaming about entrepreneurship and vacations.
Fast forward to today. I haven’t had a job in just over 2 years, but I have more money in my bank account and invested in crypto than I ever had before. Why?
On June 26th…I said to myself – “no more neediness of money”. I am free NOW. Many things happened as a result of drawing that line in the sand. I lived in my car for months. I went through a voluntary repossession. I started living with parents and started doing DoorDash for the little money I needed. I couldn’t count the amount of times I heard or was nudged to “get a job”. During this time, I actually started volunteering in a different way. While I was doing DoorDash, I created a course. I wrote 150+ articles. I guest posted! I actually did what I wanted to do and what I would do if I was completely free, and I’m still doing it. I experimented with different ways to share this stuff. I even learned some new songs to cover! I realized that…I get to experiment with and choose how I want to work.
I also realized I can’t be attached to how money comes in – my job is to keep working and serving! Having created a popular blog before, I thought I was going to get paid through advertisements or a sponsorship or something, but I got paid another way. I can’t prove this for a fact, but I believe money came to me because I didn’t need money. I stopped chasing it. Now, when I feel like I need more money or I have to chase money, I try to volunteer. It’s counterintuitive, but it works!
It wasn’t all good though. I gained so much weight back that I’d lost!! but I couldn’t be happier with the work I’m doing.
Aligning with Your Values
If you look at this Linked-In post by Adam Grant (author of Give and Take) many of the thoughts I listed are reflective of Phase 1 – low self-esteem in career. This is only part of the picture though.
“Living your life consistent with your deepest values is essential for you to enjoy high self-esteem. People who are clear about what they believe in and value, and who refuse to compromise their values like and respect themselves far more than people who are unclear about what is really important to them.” – Brian Tracy
Working on something you feel is important could be one standard, but why not have multiple standards for your work? Aligning with your own values can not only raise your self-esteem in your career but across the board.
One value I hold very high is freedom. My ancestors were slaves, so a big reason for the thoughts I listed above was due to not living consistent with the value of freedom I hold in high regard. Early on, I didn’t demand freedom from my career. I’d settle for working in a friggin box. From the outside looking in, living in a car creating a course was weird, but I still look at that and I’m so proud of it – because I was free. I was prouder than anytime I spent working a bullshit job in any office. There is no replacement for living consistent with your own values.
I also don’t think I understood how to handle freedom responsibly. No matter how free you are, there’s still work to do. There’s still an infinite amount of ways to serve.
I feel thankful for the work I’m doing now, because I feel like even if I help one person have a shift that feels way more rewarding, fulfilling and more important than wasting time doing something easy, boring and repetitive as work.
What are your standards?
What are you not demanding from your job? Do you like cubicles? Do you want months of vacations? Do you want to work on something important? What would that be? Is there something you feel like only you could/should do? Is your unique genius at work?
What are your values? Do you value freedom? Creativity? Responsibility? Skill-building? Service?
Have you written down your values? Values can definitely shift, but it’s good to keep some record of what you value and how they change over time.
How can you take one step today to move into greater alignment with your own values?