In modern society, work-related stress places a tremendous burden on an individual's mental, emotional, and physical health. This work-related exhaustion causes premature aging. We have known for years that on Monday mornings, there is a greater incidence of heart attacks than on any other day of the week. Why? The dread of returning to work after a relaxing weekend, to a stressful job, causes an increased release of cortisol and adrenaline. This upsurge of stress hormones causes higher blood pressure, heart rate, and inflammation which increase the risk of a heart attack.
The antidote is getting a job you love that brings you peace and happiness. Your dream job is not about being rich and famous. Your dream job should bring you peace, happiness and little stress. What can we do to live our truth and discover our dream job?
Last night, I was discussing this topic with my three teenage children over dinner. We did a little brainstorming and here's what we discovered:
1) Choose an occupation you are passionate about, makes you come alive and that you absolutely love! If you are so lucky to find a job you love and if this job also pays the bills, you hit the jackpot!
2) If your passion and excitement comes from poetry, painting, music, running or playing basketball etc., and those endeavors don't pay the bills for you, then those endeavors can become hobbies. Choose another exciting career that pays the bills and keep your passion as hobbies. Bring your drive and passion to an occupation that allows you to pay the bills and earn a living.
3) If you found a job you are passionate about and love but you are limited as an employee, you can change your job culture. You can create a company mission statement. Read the classic work by Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People® and make a difference in your company. If your company culture does not improve, and it brings you chronic stress, then see #4.
4) If you find your dream job but your boss is causing you chronic stress as an employee, then fire your boss. Become a business owner. As a business owner you gain complete autonomy and the freedom to create the job of your dreams. When you have your dream job, you have peace and happiness. When you have your dream job, you spend quality time with your family every night, every weekend, and on long vacations.
Dr. OG’s Story
At this point the reader may wonder... that's easy for you to say. “You have your dream job, Doc... You make good money, have lifelong job security, and will always be in demand as a doctor.”
The truth is more complicated. Primary care doctors are exhausted, overworked, underpaid, and have tremendous amounts of stress. Many physicians are miserable and not doing their life’s work.
I knew I wanted to be a doctor since childhood. Being a physician is my life's purpose (dharma). However, as an employed physician from 2003 until 2012, I was not living my dream job. I was happy with my chosen occupation but as an employee, not fulfilled, and under an enormous amount of stress. Since July 2012, I am living my dream job, as a business owner. See #4 above.
In my profession, I had to pay my dues with hard training as a pre-med and medical student, intern and resident, and then as an employed physician in factory line medicine. As I shared with my children last night, some things in life are like bitter poison in the beginning but sweet nectar in the end. During my training, I realized that all the hard labor was challenging, but in the future (today), I would reap the reward of living my dream job.