Life is far too short to do things that make you feel miserable. It makes much more sense to do things that make you feel engaged and actually bring pleasure to your life.
Last June, I started and quite a new job as a Plant Manager for a manufacturing startup. The job came with lots of responsibility and prestige. The earning potential was great and there was a lot of room for career advancement. The company also had an amazing product that I saw as very innovative.
Something that’s really important to me is making an impact with my work. After seeing the operation I knew immediately that my presence could be felt there on day one. And it was. My first day was spent meeting with each member of my team and learning the various processes. After a few hours I was able to bring forth ideas to exponentially reduce cost and provide opportunities for learning.
The team was responding well to me. I even started taking action towards developing one knowledgeable employee into an effective Production Supervisor. There was only one problem, though. The hours.
My working hours would be from 5am — 5pm. I knew from my interviews that the job would consist of a lot of working hours from time to time and that part of my job would be to stabilize the operation to where such hours would not be needed. However, it was never expressed to me that I would be expected to work 12 hours most days with the occasional 13–14 hours.
I expressed my concerns at the end of day one and informed the company of my desires to terminate employment. The response from the company was for us to work together to come up with a solution and for me to wait until the end of the week before making a final decision. I told the company that this was fair and that I would be open to trying to figure things out. Their expressed desire to work through things helped me to settle in and not make a hasty decision.
After my second day of work it became clear to me that I would need to move on. This was after working a 12-plus hour day. I was miserable. I spent most of the day standing on my feet and dealing with more machine downtime than I could care to count. I don’t want to sound spoiled or ungrateful for turning down a well paying job with huge upside, but it just wasn’t a good fit for me. I’ve worked a number of long days in my career and I’m sure I have many in my future.
The problem is that I wasn’t being completely honest with myself about what I wanted. At this point in my career I want to do work that makes me feel alive, work that stretches and challenges me. For a long time I’ve done work that’s familiar and work that I already knew I was good at. That’s the real reason why I accepted the position. As mentioned already, I really liked the product and thought that it could be a game changer in its industry. I was essentially looking at dollar signs and following ambition.
When choosing a career opportunity and accepting a job, it’s important to make sure that it aligns with what you want for your life.
Something that’s important to me is having time to read and write. Working such demanding hours would leave very little time for self-learning, creating art, and reflection. Being able to have time to incorporate these elements of life into my routine is crucial to my success.
Taking time to get to know yourself and understanding your values can take you a long way. Using those beliefs as guiding principle for decision-making can help you avoid a lot pain and heartache.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in June of 2016 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Originally published at medium.com