We talk about “being in the rat race,” but this is probably unfair. It’s actually demeaning to the rats. Rats won’t stay in a race when it’s obvious there’s no cheese. The popular little book, “Who Moved My Cheese” showed how even smart rats quickly look for new routes to follow when the cheese is gone. Humans, on the other hand, seem to often get themselves into traps from which they never escape. Some research shows that up to 70 percent of white-collar workers are unhappy with their jobs— ironically, they are also spending more and more time working.
Jan Halper, a Palo Alto psychologist, has spent 10 years exploring the careers and emotions of over 4000 male executives. She found that 58 percent of those in middle management felt they had wasted many years of their lives struggling to achieve their goals. They were bitter about the many sacrifices they had made during those years.
Rats, however, move on once they realize the cheese is gone or perhaps was never there. Rats would probably be embarrassed to be labeled “being in the human race” for doing ridiculous things like continuing to go to a job that they hated every day.
I chose this excerpt from the new soon-to-be-released 20th Anniversary Edition of 48 Days to the Work You Love because it’s such a great introduction for today’s podcast.
A listener asks: “Why can’t I just be satisfied with what I have?”
Some of us aren’t cut out to do the same thing year after year. I recommend that you embrace your desire for change, challenge, and variety.