job search

Today is Labor Day, the unofficial start of the job search season in America.

Are you looking for work? Are you tired of your current role? Before you jump into the fray, some good news: there are six million job openings in America. The bad news: six million people are looking for work and the jobs remain open due to mismatched expectations on wages.

Companies call it a skills gap, and they’re right: it takes skills to live on $8/hr, and most people don’t have ’em.

So it’s important for you to know that your compensation expectations might not be met in a new job. It’s true for hourly workers, and it also applies to the professional workforce.

I think the other thing to remember is that most jobs, if not all jobs, totally suck. Leadership teams are beholden to nameless, faceless boards made up of white men over the age of 40. People don’t know how to talk to one another. Co-workers assume higher levels of intelligence and competency than they display on a regular basis.

It’s true where you work right now. It’s true where you’re going to work. The only difference is you. Can you be quiet and patient? Can you continue to forgo autonomy and independence for a paycheck? Can you seek to understand instead of accuse? Are you able to forgive the small stuff and remember that you work for something greater than petty political battles?

For those of you thinking about bouncing to the self-employed market, the time has never been better — if the time was 2013 and Obama were still in office. Right now, there’s uncertainty about healthcare and tax reform. Politicians routinely squeeze earnings and incent capital gains. So, if you make above $100,000 but under $1,000,000, prepare yourself for bullshit taxes and increased regulation in the name of “reform.”

What I’m telling you is that work is work. Labor Day might be the unofficial kickoff to the job search season, but it’s also the unofficial kickoff to the season of dashed dreams and busted expectations. Maybe you can do things differently, this year, and vow to make peace with your current situation.

Does your boss suck? Are you working too many hours? Are you spending more than you earn? There are ways to fix your life and improve your happiness quotient without jumping ship to another company.

The answer to a bad job isn’t another bad job. The answer is to examine your priorities and remind yourself of what matters in your life. Define your values. Set up some boundaries. Do less emotional work at the office and more emotional work with the people you love.

And stay off the job boards. If you’re going to find a new role, it will be from someone you know — or someone they know — and not through a website that ends with dot com.

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