"Right" things aren't always the things that feel "good" all of the time. We judge whether or not something is ideal for us based on whether or not it aligns with our overall goals, brings us fulfillment, and generally helps us actualize ourselves. It does not mean that it makes us comfortable all the time. In fact, the things that we are often most destined for do exactly the opposite: they challenge us to grow, evolve, expand, change and become the people we want to be.
All of this may sound existential and lofty, but when we try to build lives based on what we feel called toward — not compelled to — it's an important dynamic to understand. Like great love that ultimately results in ruins (through which you grow and adapt and become the person you always wanted to be), the idea that you're only in the "right job" when you're totally happy isn't only false, it's debilitating.
The way you determine whether or not a job is right for you in the moment is whether or not you're doing it. The way you determine whether or not a job is right for you in the long term is whether or not it makes sense. Because we were raised to think that what "makes sense" is something fiscally lucrative but otherwise passionless, we have disassociated ourselves from using logic. Yet, logic is crucial. If we love to work with kids and we're going to school for teaching, the choice that makes sense is to become a teacher. It's as simple as that.
Here's how to tell whether or not you're in a job that's right for you:
It Combines What You Love And What You're Good At
People typically don't enjoy what they're not good at, and that's just kind of human nature. This isn't to say that you should choose to do things based on how well you "perform" at them, but is it to recognize that fulfilling work typically combines some inherent skill and developed interest.
You Enjoy The Daily Work More Than You Enjoy What The Title Sounds Like
You don't get off on telling people "I'm a teacher" or "I'm a writer," but you are devoted to your kids, or your craft, or whatever it is you wake up every morning to do.
You'd Do It For Free In Your Spare Time
Even if it weren't your full-time job (or part-time job, even!) you'd do it when you weren't working, or at least some form of it. You'd keep loving books, or kids, or learning, or medicine, whether or not it was your paycheck (though you're really lucky that it is!).
You're Finding Opportunities
Typically if you keep getting shut down to the point that you're not taking care of yourself financially or emotionally, you're not on the right path. There is a huge difference between persevering through hardship and making yourself suffer because you don't think you can quit with dignity.
You're Realizing Skills You Didn't Know You Had
The more you work, the more you realize you're capable of. It energizes you, rather than draining you.
You Enjoy Telling Other People About It
Whether you're sharing horror stories or some of the really cool opportunities you've gotten to take part in, you're always happy to talk about what you do, simply because either way, you find it very interesting.
It's Challenging You In The Hardest Ways
You're having to face your deepest, darkest fears of creating and being seen; you're being pushed to the limits of your patience; you're finding it impossible to cope with people, and so on. If it challenges you and pushes you to be better and do better, it's likely right for you.
It's Fulfilling You In The Best Ways
Despite it all, you're grateful to have a job that provides for you that you find some enjoyment in. You recognize that not everyone has either of those privileges — forget having them both at once.
Images: Giphy (3); Unsplash