How to Get a Great Job without Sacrificing your Soul


A great job without sacrificing your soul…

You’re probably wondering what your soul has to do with your job, especially when it comes to paying the bills, contributing toward monthly expenses, or supporting a household. Right?

It should be pretty plain and simple: Go to work, do your job, and get paid at the end of the month.

But it’s not really that cut and dry anymore these days. There’s A LOT more stress and pressure on us today, than what there was some 20 or so years ago. Plus, some jobs aren’t exactly as easy to come by as they used to be back in the day. Pickings seem slim, and many people feel that a job is a job and that you should be grateful for whatever work you can get. And heaven help you if you dare to complain.

Okay, fair enough. Retrenchments are a regular reality in today’s world, there’s no denying that. But, are we simply supposed to sacrifice our souls (I’ll get to that in a second) for a paycheck each month and leave it at that because that’s considered the “norm?”

Not all jobs have a way of sucking the life out of you. There are some great jobs out there. The trouble is finding them and knowing HOW to find them.

What is a “Great Job?”

The way I think about a great job is like this: It’s a job that allows you to pay your bills every month. It’s a job that doesn’t make you dread waking up every morning. It’s a job that you can see yourself doing for a few years at least. It’s a job that you take pride in and even… enjoy doing.

This isn’t some “mumbo-jumbo” nonsense – these jobs are out there, I promise you. You’ve just got to know how to go and get them…

The job – soul dilemma…

We all have our own reasons for applying for jobs that are clearly not what we want to be doing – or sticking out a job that’s slowly eating away at our soul. Usually, we do it because…

  1. There are people relying on us to bring in money.
  2. We lack confidence – we don’t think we’ve got what it takes to strive for anything better.
  3. We’re too scared to get out of our comfort zones and risk losing a stable job – even if it’s one we don’t really like.

I don’t know about you, but I could write a book about some of the jobs I’ve had. Or more specifically, the really crappy ones and why I took them in the first place, or took so long to get out of them.

I literally felt as though I was chained to some of those desks and there was no way out.

Eventually these decisions to be “mature” about my job/career and income started taking a major toll on my health and marriage.

Key tips to getting a “Great Job”

The thing about working today is that so much more is expected of us. I said that earlier, but I felt like I needed to say it again because it’s that important. We’re expected to do overtime and work on weekends, do extra things without complaint at all – things that aren’t even in our contracts. Like the one job I had where I was expected to do three people’s jobs without any extra compensation. That my friends, is why having a contract is so, so important. I’m all for being a team player and helping out, but not when I’m so obviously being taken advantage of so that the company can save money.

We’re also expected to not be clock-watchers. We’re expected to be polite and know our places but to also use initiative and be creative in order to come up with solutions to problems. We’re expected to further our skills and education in order to remain at the top of our game.

I’ve got a quick question for you before getting into the nitty-gritty stuff...

Would you be – or are you – prepared to do all of this for a job that’s affecting your health, making you feel resentful or depressed, or affecting your relationship with the ones you care most about?

I can almost guarantee that the answer to that question is a resounding “No!” More like a “HELL no!” 

Okay. Now that you know what I’m talking about when I say “sacrificing your soul” for a job, let’s move on to ways of getting a job – or staying in one – that doesn’t do this.

Tips to getting – or loving your – great job without sacrificing your soul

Be honest with yourself about what you want to be doing. Forget about what your parents expect of you, what those personality/aptitude tests at school told you, or what you think you should be doing with your life to bring in money. You can only truly get the job you want when you stop playing games and just put all your cards out on the table.

Be realistic, but don’t sell yourself short. So you won’t be the managing director of a big corporate company right away. It’s okay to dream, in fact I think it’s a great thing. Just as long as you set realistic goals to making that dream come true. Network, increase your skills, talk to the HR department, learn, take up a course, etc. Stepping stones…

Don’t jump one crappy ship for another crappy ship. If you’re in a job that you hate, don’t resign and simply take up another one in a similar field – even if the money’s better. It might seem all rosy in the beginning – with great benefits and all, but a few months down the line, you’ll probably be wanting to jump ship again because it’s not what you want to be doing. Rather stick out your job, and start looking for career opportunities more in line with your long-term goals. Send out CVs, network and let family and friends know what you’re looking for.

Decide what’s important in your life. It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Ask yourself this though… if you’re bringing in enough money every month, but your relationship/family life is suffering due to constant stress or burn-outs, will you be prepared to get out of your comfort zone and find something else? In other words… is your family/relationship and health more important than your job?

Research properly. If you’re applying for jobs, make sure to check out the company that’s advertising the job. The same goes if it’s through a recruitment agency. Are they legit, how long have they been around, etc.? Employers use social media to scope out potential employees, but we have just as much advantage to zoning in on potential bosses and companies, so don’t be shy to let your fingers do the tapping.

Speak up for yourself. Whether you’re applying for a new job, or not happy with certain aspects of a current one, you’re the only one who’s going to speak up about your expectations/grievances. Find out about general stuff like work promotions, extra benefits, job duties, but also about other things like overtime, etc. Get your contract in black and white, sign it and keep a copy for yourself. I know of so many companies who didn’t bother giving their employees contracts because they were too lazy or worse – trying to hide something. It’s against the law to do that. Get one or get out.

Think further than the paycheck. So you’re going to earn an extra R 3000 a month and that’s great. Only, now you need to drive an extra 45 minutes to get to work or move to a really expensive area in order to save on petrol. Maybe you’re used to working with people in a team – and thrive on this energy – but now you’ll be sitting in an office by yourself all day with limited interaction or working for a one-man show. You’ve got to think about all these types of things when taking on a new job or accepting a promotion. Most of the time, money isn’t everything.

Go for it! You only live once so you might as well spend those 8 – 10 hours every day doing something you actually like doing. I’ve found some great jobs by simply researching companies within my chosen industry and contacting them. Sure, it’s scary and they won’t always pan out. But, how will you ever know unless you try? Your dream job could be right there waiting for you. Oh, and just in case you didn’t know… most jobs aren’t even advertised. So if you think jobs in your field are hard to come by, it could just be because the company isn’t advertising. Cold calling is a great way to beat out competition and get yourself noticed. Phone, email, hand deliver or post. The choice is up to you – whatever you feel most comfortable with. Just make sure it’s the best you’ve got, that it’s professional and that it’s memorable – in a good way.

Good luck with getting that GREAT job!