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When a Good Job Turns Into a Bad Trap
March 2010

When you have what most people consider a “good” job, it is easy to feel obligated to stay where you are. After all, you have what most people want, right? It may be true that most people settle for a good job, but then there are some of us who aren’t satisfied with that. We require work that feeds our passion. Work that has meaning that extends beyond a paycheck. And we need work that lends itself to the lifestyle we want, instead of a job that forces us into survival mode: just hanging on, tolerating Monday through Friday and spending the weekend detoxifying emotionally and mentally.

For all of the other working moms and anyone else whose ambition is nudging them on to make the next best career move, here are a few thoughts on breaking free from the bad trap of a good job:

  • The first way to break free from the trap is to acknowledge that it is just not working. Regardless of how anyone else feels or what anyone else likes, the life you live can only be experienced by you. If you are listening to other people, more than likely folks who are afraid to take their own journey, you are selling your self short. Isn’t it time you stopped living someone else’s dream and started focusing on yours?
  • Accept that a good job is something you do – not who you are. In most cases a good job requires that you compartmentalize, but in some cases it means becoming two different people. You have the 9-5 full-time job persona who is really just a shell of who you are. Then you have the after-work and weekend persona where you come alive. I’ve never been good at managing that kind of split. This isn’t about working all the time; it’s about being able to be 100% of you 100% of the time.
  • Realize that making good money does not equal having a great lifestyle. Good jobs, especially good jobs that pay well, keep us leashed to a life that is less than what we dream for ourselves. We tolerate assignments, conversations, and mediocrity on a full-time basis, and still expect to have enough life leftover for living. That’s tough. Money allows us to take care of ourselves and our family, but money alone won’t get us a lifestyle we need in order to feel fulfilled.

Getting out of the trap of a “good” job requires creating success on your own terms instead of settling. It’s living out the experience of finding work that meets the requirements of your financial needs and aligns with your purposed passion. The good news is that you can escape the bad trap. The greater news is that you are the key to your own freedom.


alumni@drexel.edu