Let me start off by saying that I have struggled with the belief in employment too. I have felt worthless, I have felt like a freeloader, and I have felt like my life had no meaning or purpose. Mind you, I have also felt like this at times when I had a job, but somehow at times when I didn’t have a job, these feelings became magnified and all-encompassing, and sometimes even extremely hard to bear. So what made the difference?

The difference is in what society expects of people. People are all expected to “do their part”, which comes down to making enough money to pay your bills. You have to work 5 days a week, so that you can buy a house and furniture, and lots of stuff you don’t really need. You also need to earn money to buy the stuff you need so that you can work, such as a car to get there, or a TV and other distractions to de-stress after a hard day at work.

But wait a minute… where did it all start? We all need to do our part. What does that really mean? Does it mean sitting in a cubicle all day staring at your computer screen analyzing how your company can make slightly more profit? Does it mean attending meeting after meeting, where you are expected to be, without any meaningful outcomes? Does it mean selling people meaningless stuff that they don’t really need, and forcing yourself to believe in the product so that you can come across sincere, all the while lying to yourself? Does it mean spending most of your life with people you don’t really like doing something you don’t really enjoy and don’t even value?

I think most people rarely think about their job in this way. Many people are just happy they have a job. They don’t wonder what their job contributes to and whether they agree with it or not. They don’t wonder what life would be like if they would do something they would really enjoy. And some people don’t even know anymore what it is they used to enjoy doing.

If this is you, then it may be time for a change. Because you can do your part without having a job. You can have a fulfilling life without having a job. You can still employ your skills, qualities and abilities. You can be employed in doing something you really enjoy.

So ask yourself what you really enjoy doing. The keyword here is contribution. What is something you used to enjoy? Or what would you rather be doing than what you are doing right now?

Start doing that. Stop wasting your time doing what you ‘have to’ do. Stop wasting time chasing ‘air’ (unimportant things). In the end, all that matters is how you contributed to other people’s lives. How other people benefited from what you did. How the earth and all its inhabitants benefited from what you contributed. Anything that enriches the planet, other people, the animals and the plants and trees, will enrich your life too. Immensely so. Your life will never again feel meaningless. Never again will you feel worthless. And never again will you be poor, even if you don’t make any money.

1. Start small
2. Try out new things – all the time
3. Find something that enriches your life – if it is valuable, it will bring you joy and a sense of fulfillment
4. Share your new-found passion with others.

It is that simple.

Forget about the money. Forget about status and what society expects of you. If what you do is valuable to others, then money, the support and other resources you need will come your way automatically.

The following quote by Howard Thurman sums it all up beautifully:

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

(I also published this post on LinkedIn)