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That Day You Hate Your Job

I talked to a young woman the other day who complained she hated her major because it was too much work, and the tests were stressful. I told her there were less challenging and stressful options, although they generally had lower starting pay. But she said it wasn't fair she should be required to miss parties and endure stress just to get a high paying job.

After a long, soul-searching conversation, I finally ripped off my coach hat and put on my "Mom" hat and announced that life was full of trade-offs, and anything worth having was going to require a bit of pain and suffering along the journey to the goal. I'm not saying "life sucks and then you die." I'm saying that some days are hard, but getting through them is how you get to the joy at the end.

You Have to Pass the Tests to Get the Diploma

Yes, attending class and doing graded assignments can sometimes be a disruption to an otherwise awesome college experience, but that's why a college degree is such a source of pride - because it was hard! For those with the grit and determination to struggle through the harder classes, a great career can be at the finish line.

But, if you find no joy in your major class subjects whatsoever, by all means, reconsider your options while there is still time!

You Have to Solve the Problems to Get the Promotion

We promote the people with the grit and creativity to overcome the prickly situations, or worse, the prickly co-workers and clients, to keep things moving forward. If your job is easy every day, then you're not growing and you're not moving forward. Finding ways to do things better, cheaper or faster makes you valuable. The ability to effectively collaborate with difficult co-workers, managers and customers also makes you valuable.

But, if you are in a situation that is physically or emotionally dangerous at work, or if you are being told to achieve objectively impossible goals with no support, start seeking other options!

You Have to Talk Past the Argument to Stay Together

This same student was dreaming of someone who would "complete her." That means you can't leave at the first sign of difficulty. The best partnerships and marriages I know (including mine) have people who are determined to work together through difficulties, and talk together through disagreements, even when things seem their worst, so they can make the relationship and each other stronger.

But, if you are in a situation that is dangerous to your long-term physical or emotional health and safety, you may be better off standing alone.

You Have to Do the Tough Workouts to Win Races

I hate speed work. A lot. But I've never hit a podium at a race without it. It's the difficult workouts where you get the most improvement.

But, there is a fine line between a challenging workout and over-training. Know the difference or work with a coach who does.

So here's the thing. Some days you're going to resent your job/major/partner/hobby. But it's the process of overcoming these days that makes all of these things richer, more fulfilling and more meaningful. As long as the good days outweigh the bad, you have a lot to be thankful for! We get to the awesome places in our careers and lives by climbing over the stumbling blocks along the way. The only way to get to the high points is to crawl out of the pits and keep going.

While there's a level of pain and suffering that may not make the goal worth the challenge, there is a certain degree of challenge along the way that's absolutely necessary for long-term, sustainable success at work or in life. So, take the bad with the good, learn from it all, and enjoy the benefits that come from every step of the journey!

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