Work Sucks, Get Over It

No matter how creative your job is, it won't always be fun

“Are you sure we can’t just open a bakery?” At least once a month, a conversation between my high school friend and I begins with this question. Whether she’s asking or I’m asking, the underlying issue is the same: It’s been a bad day at work.

Depending on exactly how terrible the day has been, we’ll brainstorm locations (Why isn’t there a bakery on Fairmount Avenue?) or what we’ll sell (Pies! People love pies!) but eventually the conversation always comes around to the fact that neither of us is especially good at baking and our years working retail in Northeast Philly did not really prepare us for things like financing a small business or keeping a kitchen up to code. And then we remember that even the most fun-sounding jobs require effort.

According to yesterday’s New York Times, however, there are people who have not yet discovered the universal truth that work is, well, work. “Maybe It’s Time for Plan C” focuses on people who have left traditional, corporate jobs (either by choice or due to layoffs) to pursue independent careers, hoping for freedom from the grind and fulfillment from their jobs.

A man who opened an ice cream shop complained of having to do janitorial work in his store. A lawyer-turned-wedding planner disliked having to work 17-hour days leading up to her clients’ nuptials. A former marketing professional, who became a private Pilates instructor, envisioned a life of “workouts, getting lots of sleep and blogging every day about health and fitness.” Instead, she found herself working 14-hour days and shockingly, even being exhausted at the end of it all. Imagine that: being exhausted after doing Pilates for 14 hours.

This reminded me of a recent conversation I had with another friend. She’s a reporter and confessed that she feels guilty for not freelancing more often. “I get home from my job and I don’t want to write anymore,” she said. She feels badly about this partly because there are good reasons to freelance—networking and additional money, to name the two most obvious—but also because everyone assumes that she loves writing so much that of course she’d want to do it in her free time.

It’s easy to romanticize creative jobs—writing, baking, Pilates instruction—but unless you are a rare individual who is independently wealthy and not working for financial survival, there are going to be parts of your job—any job—that get on your nerves sometimes and make you tired.

And no matter what your Plan B (or C or Q) is, work will sometimes feel like work.