Why You Shouldn't Have a Job

In this guest post by 20time leader, Oliver Schinkten, consider the power of giving students missions rather than jobs for their 20time projects. 

Jobs are overrated.  Let me explain.

There’s a lot of talk about jobs lately.  We constantly hear reports about the need to address unemployment rates, create more jobs, and prepare students for jobs.

I think we are approaching this issue with the wrong mindset.  I don’t believe that creating jobs is the solution.

Jobs are boring. Jobs are one of the most depressing things a person can have. People go to their jobs for one reason: to make money.  After people are done at their job for the day, they go home and leave the job behind.

I prefer missions. 

Missions are one of the most invigorating, empowering, and fulfilling things a person can have.  People on a mission, go about it with passion, energy, and enthusiasm. They fall asleep at night thinking about their mission, proceed to dream about the mission, and wake up in the morning ready to work towards completing it.  Most make money by doing the work it takes to complete their mission, but it isn’t even about the money.  It is about the mission.

For most employees, if told that they could stay home every day and still receive paychecks, they would be excited to accept the offer and stop thinking about the job.

If someone on a mission was told that they could stay home every day and not work, they would decline, because they are on a mission.

How about you?  Do you have a job, or a mission?

Here are a few questions to help you decide:

  • Are you doing what you like to do on a regular basis?
  • Do you like to do what you are doing on a regular basis?
  • Do you believe in what you are doing?
  • Can you make the world a better place by doing what you are doing?

If the answer to these questions is “YES”, then you are on a mission. You may currently be calling your mission a JOB (because that is what society will recognize it as), but it is more than a job.

If you answered “NO” to most of these questions, you probably have a job.  Or, you may be unemployed and waiting for a job to open up, so that you have a job. 

Stop it. 

Start a mission.  Live it.  Eat it.  Sleep it.  Dream about it.  Determine what you're passionate about and create a mission.  Don’t wait for an “opening position for a mission” to come around.  Create your own. 

Now is better than soon.” 
                             –Seth Godin

If you have a job, I recommend considering trying to replace it with a mission. There are a couple ways to go about this:

  1. Figure out what you are passionate about. Use this to determine your mission.  Invest time and energy into learning everything there is about what you're passionate about.  

    Next, do it. Work towards completing your mission.  There will either be so-called “jobs” that will harness your passion and pay you, or you will create “jobs” for yourself.
  1. What do you do at your job?  Why? Could you make this your mission? I have worked at a number of factories over the years and, although I would not have chosen “making doors” as one of my missions, it was the mission of one of the factories I worked for. I knew that I had to go to the factory to work every day for 8 hours.  It was up to me whether I would go there with a negative attitude and “put in my time and collect my check”, or if I would embrace my role and turn it into a mission.  I figured that by working hard, adding compassion to the environment, and looking to innovate, that I could help contribute to them making a better end-product.  

    While working, I tried to converse with everyone there, trying to help make their day better, every day.  I didn’t enjoy being there every day that I was there, but when I made it my mission to help create a better product, more efficiently, while building rapport among my coworkers, I actually enjoyed most days at work.  When you know that a task you do not like doing moves you towards a larger goal, a mission, it suddenly becomes much easier and more rewarding to do.

    This second type of “forced mission” isn’t as natural and enjoyable as a passion-driven mission that you choose, but it is a decent alternative.  Besides, in the meantime, you will be improving your skills, becoming a more valuable part of the puzzle, and will be helping create an environment in which everyone can have a better day.

    Try doing this.  I bet that it leads to raises, promotions, and a higher level of “job satisfaction”.  Or, don’t try it, and continue “doing time” at your job.

In Conclusion: 
Don't have a job.  Have a mission.  Create your own missions 
(and make one of them spending quality time with family).