72. The “Good Enough” Job

Is your job your singular focus or simply a way to fund your passion? Is your career the thing that defines you, or do you identify as something different…something unrelated to your work? Do we put too much pressure on our careers to deliver happiness? Ease? Meaning? Joy?


Today on Crina and Kirsten Get to Work out hosts talk about the concept of good enough as an important part of ease, meaning and joy.

Pascal Bruckner said, “unhappiness is not only unhappiness,; it is, worse yet, a failure to be happy.”  This quotation acknowledges the expectation that we all be “happy” and when we are not, we have somehow failed, missed the point or missed out generally.  The point of this show is to explore that possibility that “good enough” can actually contribute to ease meaning and joy. 

Some people, like Kirsten, experience work as deeply meaningful – although stressful.  Crina’s son works when he needs money.  These are two very different approaches to work.  Is it realistic for everyone to “pursue their passion?  Do you really have to find a dream job so you never work a day in your life?  Can it actually be about something more than the money – or is it just a matter of paying the bills?

Our hosts posit that putting pressure on ourselves to create the perfect job probably takes away from ease, meaning and joy at work – and at the same time, is there something more than just a paycheck?

Rather than dig into the research, our hosts dig into the history.  The idea that we love our work is a relatively new phenomena.  Historically, work was never supposed to be enjoyable.  In fact, author Sarah Jaffe, whose book Work Won’t Love You Back hits stores in January of 2022, argues that the “love your work” mantra is a myth of capitalism.” She says that in the 1970s, just when manufacturing began to die and labor movements began to lose ground, bosses started handing down aphorisms like, “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

When we carry the belief that we must find meaning and fulfillment from work, we can be disappointed – and we can neglect other parts of our lives.  If our jobs are our sole source of fulfillment, we not only create unrealistic expectations, but also miss out on other parts of our lives.

Enter the idea of the “good enough” job – relatively enjoyable paid work that meets your financial needs while leaving you with enough time and energy to pursue your passions and callings outside of work.   Maybe you love the people you work with, or the work that you do – or even the mission of your employer – the point is that there is something in the job you find enjoyable.

The “good enough” job embraces the reality that not everyone’s call is this work, the “good enough” job leaves you time to focus on other meaningful aspects of your life – art, music, volunteering, reading, relationships etc.   The “good enough” job is more flexible because you have less investment.  It is easier to leave a “good enough” job to do something else because your interests have changed or to move somewhere else.  Because there is less energy and connection and commitment to the “good enough” job, it is less likely to hold you back from other parts of your life.  Consider, friends, the “good enough” job!

Good Reads:

Fredi Founders Discuss The Fallacy Of “If You Love What You Do, You’ll Never Work a Day in Your Life.” Why Wellness, Not A ‘Dream Job’, Is The Key To Fulfillment At Work

In Praise Of ‘Good Enough’ Jobs — What A Girl Gotta Do

Why Young People Want Comfortable, “good enough” jobs

The Research We’ve Ignored About Happiness at Work