7 Signs Your Job Is A Means Of Procrastination

I hate it when I hear people describe their job as “good enough for now.” What makes it good enough for now, but not good enough forever? And if it isn’t good enough forever, shouldn’t you do something about it now?

I’ve often met people who were seemingly disappointed with their current job, and although they complained openly about it, they made no real effort to make a change. Although these people may have shared my interest in creating positive change for themselves, the difference was that they were unwilling to pursue other opportunities — out of fear of leaving their comfort zone, because they felt too old, or because they didn’t want to start over.

In this article, I’ve listed seven signs that indicate you may only be working your current job as a means of procrastination from your life’s calling.

You have difficulty getting to work each morning.

If you’re not excited to get to work each morning, then you’re not working a job you truly enjoy. I struggled with several careers in the computer industry, at each of which I was habitually late. Setting three different alarms did not cure my disdain for getting to work on time, and I eventually understood that there wasn’t an alarm in existence that ever could.

Instead of trying to find a better way to wake myself up to get myself to a job I disliked, I began working a job that I was anxious to wake up to.

You spend your workday in a state of boredom, watching the clock.

Do you show up to work only to watch the clock count down until it’s time to go home again? If you’re bored at work, it’s because:

  1. You have learned all there is to learn there, and/or
  2. You are unchallenged.

Instead of being bored at a job where I did the same simple things over and over again, I began working a more challenging job where I could learn new things every day.

You regularly express discontent about your job responsibilities, the management, or your salary with friends and co-workers.

When your job irritates you, it can cause you to complain about it to people you confide in. In doing so, you’re reaching out for two specific reactions:

  1. Sympathy — Telling your problems to co-workers who can relate to your situation is incredibly therapeutic. Unfortunately, their advice is not always helpful since co-workers are less likely to recognize the signs of a dead-end job if it is a job they are working themselves. Furthermore, if they would somehow suffer if you ever moved onto something better, they may not encourage you in fear of losing you.
  2. Advice — Telling your problems to close friends that are familiar with your talents can be helpful and enlightening, especially when they are honest with you. Make a point to pay attention to what your friends believe your strengths are, because these are great clues for discovering how you can create value. Similarly, pay attention to what your friends believe your weaknesses are, because these are the areas of your life that require change.

Instead of only complaining about the negative aspects of my job, I took the advice of my friends and co-workers, understood certain aspects of the job would likely never change, and then put in my two weeks to quit.

You feel like the organization is benefiting from your talents, but you have not been compensated for your contributions.

There is no worse feeling than the belief that you are being taken advantage of at your job. On repeated occasions, I found myself in the difficult position of having to accept a job at a salary that was severely under market. After receiving a job with a pathetic starting salary, I made it my mission to demonstrate my abilities and earn a raise, promotion, and more admirable salary over the course of a few years. Unfortunately, the organizations I worked for were ruthless in their methods for making it difficult to negotiate a raise. Consequently, I worked my ass off for several years for peanuts.

Instead of relying on supervisors to reward me for hard work, I began working for myself where I would always reap my own rewards.

You could easily apply the skills you use on the job on your own, but haven’t thought to invest in yourself.

Are you working hard to make someone else a millionaire? Is that what you really want? Wouldn’t it be better for you to bring your value directly to your clients, so that you could earn what your skills are worth?

Instead of building up someone else’s empire, I began focusing on my own.

You spend your workday daydreaming about having a different career, or sometimes even apply to different jobs while at work.

Touching up your resume, creating cover letters, browsing online job listings, and corresponding via email with potential employers during your coffee breaks. Performing phone interviews during your lunch hour. Using sick time to attend in-person interviews. If you haven’t done it, I’m sure you’ve at least thought about it. The thing is, imagining a better life for yourself won’t get you any closer to it — you need to follow through with it.

Instead of imagining a better life for myself where I was working a different career, I began taking steps towards making those dreams a reality.

You stay at your current job because you’re comfortable, not because it’s what you want to do.

This is hands down the most frequent reason anyone works a job that is below their skill level — because they’re comfortable. They are liked at their job, they are good at what they do, and they already know how everything at their job is done. Does this sound like you? Do you work a job where you’re so comfortable that you simply can’t give it up? Understand that by avoiding risk in this manner, you may be trading away your potential for a more fulfilling career — which ironically seems risky.

Instead of wasting my talents at a “cushy job,” I dared to step outside of my comfort zone to seek a more enjoyable life for myself.

View these seven signs as warning signs. If they sound familiar, then you are not following your life’s calling — you are procrastinating.

Don’t procrastinate when it comes to living a fulfilling life. Once you’ve actually begun creating positive change within your own life, I’m certain you’ll wish you started sooner.

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10 Responses to “7 Signs Your Job Is A Means Of Procrastination”

#1 Danielle on 29, Apr, 2007 at 6:09 pm

You should make note that this thinking applies only to people who have no one else depending on them. When you are the only breadwinner of the family, sometimes you have to settle with “for now” until you can make what you really want to do a reality.

#2 Shaun Boyd on 29, Apr, 2007 at 6:52 pm

Excellent point. There are certainly people that are working a job where they’re unsatisfied just to create a better lives for those they’re supporting. I think it’s an unfortunate circumstance though — especially when the grind of the day job can tire a person out to the point where they’d prefer to waste their free time recuperating from the difficult workday instead of investing in a better future for themselves.

#3 Girl from the east on 30, Apr, 2007 at 9:38 pm

I was thinking last night, found myself in a state of anxiety, over the idea that I could be fired from my job any day. Why? I should be relieved if an event were to occur. I wake up half miserable knowing that I have to go there only because my boss is a spaz and if I make a mistake, I know he will make sure I feel stupid for the entire day. One would ask, why do you put up with such bullshit? I wish I knew the answer to it. Maybe it is because I’m comfortable, i’ve learned the trade, it pays me decent, I have health insurance… but none of this means anything without my sanity. But I, a person with much anxiety, find it very difficult to pick up and leave. My heart palpitates at the thought, so I ask… what do you do? I’d like to change my current situation, but my boss is what you call a “dry drunk” and he seems to take it too personal. Perhaps the answers lies within a bottle of zanax.

#4 Shaun Boyd on 01, May, 2007 at 9:03 am

@Girl from the east
“none of this means anything without my sanity” — I can sympathize with you. It took me four years after graduating from college to break away from “typical” jobs where I felt suffocated to begin trying something more satisfying. All I can suggest is to take a good look at your options. Currently, it sounds like fear and doubt has you completely paralyzed, and you’re dealing with your current situation by simply standing still — when you allow your confidence to be knocked back by the threat of anxiety, you’re choosing to remain “stuck.” Why choose this though, if you know you won’t remain at that job for the rest of your life? If you imagine moving on to something better one day, why invest any more time into this job where your boss ridicules you for mistakes? It sounds like a difficult situation, and I hope you will someday recognize that your options become limitless once you tear down the walls of your comfort zone.

#5 Nia on 03, May, 2007 at 12:35 pm

Your article rings so true for me. Your number one point is my number one pitfall today. I am habitually “late” to work a majority of my time here. I am in a position which carries a lot of responsibility but no authority. It has gotten old, yet I have done nothing to chane my situation. Comfort? No. I am the only breadwinner in my home and my mortgage ties me to this place. I have worked within my industry for 8 years because it has afforded me the opportunity to learn a new job skill as well as place me in an earning bracket I otherwise would not attain without my degree. Changing careers without a degree and earning the same income just does not seem feesible to me so I continue to “work” in a career that does nothing to spark my inner creativity. Like you, I am a writer within yet unlike you, I have not taken the steps to attain the reality I desire. We are only defeated within our own minds…I know my change will not result unless I take action. Thanks for your article!

#6 Shaun Boyd on 13, May, 2007 at 5:49 pm

Thanks for commenting — it really sounds like you can relate to what I’ve written here. I hope that one day you will be able to take the steps to attain the reality you desire. Good luck!

#7 someguy9 on 25, Oct, 2007 at 4:11 am

so I figure that ork to live is better than live to work. What you do on your own time is what matters the most. Work’s how you get to do those things. If you like what you do, well you’re lucky, but no one likes work all the time, that’s why they call it work.

#8 Peter M on 26, Oct, 2007 at 11:15 pm

You could write almost the same exact article replacing “job” with “girl/boyfriend”. 😉

#9 Always on 15, May, 2008 at 9:30 am

@ someguy9

You spend 50% of your entire life working. If you don’t enjoy what you do, you are not enjoying half the time you spend alive.

It’s not lucky for a person to like what they do either. Most likely, they have thought about what they love to do and taken steps to make it happen.

#10 Always on 15, May, 2008 at 9:32 am

The second part should start: It’s nothing to do with luck for a person to….

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