Do you describe your job with the phrase “It pays the bills”?

Have you ever told someone what you do for a job and then finish by shrugging your shoulders and saying “it pays the bills.”

Considering we spend a large portion of our lives at work, it’s critical to our overall happiness that we enjoy our jobs.  We should be aiming for work that doesn’t just “pay the bills” but makes us feel satisfied, engaged and happy to be a part of something. 

As a recruiter and executive coach, I see people who feel “stuck” all the time. They feel unsatisfied in their jobs but due to financial obligations, they feel that they cannot change their circumstances.

In my opinion, our hesitancy to change stems from a very strong mindset of scarcity in our culture. Whether it’s money, water, food, resources, jobs, opportunities or education, we are bombarded with messages of diminished supplies. This causes us to be fearful, creating a competitiveness that in turn makes us become very protective over our assets, paying little attention to what actually makes us feel fulfilled and purposeful.

If you do tend to end a description of your job with “it pays the bills,” then you might want to look at your financial obligations and ask yourself if they are real or self-constructed. Many times when I am coaching people who feel unfulfilled, we discover that the financial obligations that are keeping them from moving jobs, changing industries or even starting their own business, are self-made obstacles.

The question that many of us need to ask in order to get out of the scarcity mindset is: why are you doing what you are doing?

If the answer is money related, then ask yourself, what is the cost of your money? Is it affecting your health, relationships or self-esteem? If not, then you are most likely happy in your career. But if it is having an impact, then what are you willing to sacrifice to better your situation?

Don’t settle for just “paying the bills” – enjoy your life.