The Smithsonian magazine generally has a host of interesting articles. The June 2017 issue includes one titled “Life Without End” about companies striving to “cure” aging. Never dying, it turns out, is not such a good idea. (The internet is full of articles about the downside of living forever.)
One sentence in the article struck me. “Automation will take over most jobs so we will be able to spend our lives doing things we find fulfilling.” That strikes me as one of the saddest comments I have read in print for quite a while. What it seems to assume is that most people do not find their jobs fulfilling. Undeniably, that is true for many. Also true is the fact a lot of people find their daily jobs very fulfilling.
To be sure, there are circumstances beyond our control, but the first question one should ask when considering work-life is: what fulfills me? Put another way: what do I like to do? Certainly one’s concept of an ideal situation is usually not to be had, but looking in directions that accord with personal values is the starting point. Many people have sought training and jobs for the monetary potential, only to later discover that economic surfeit does not compensate for a lack of felt gratification in what one is doing with one’s life.
If one is not feeling a sense of self-fulfillment in daily work and changing jobs is unrealistic or impossible, at least in the short term, it is imperative to find something outside of the workplace that fuels the human need for a feeling of worth. The volunteer and avocational opportunities are legion. There are things that will provide some amount of self-satisfaction.
My counsel: find one.