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The Serenity Prayer Applied to the Job You Hate

You do not have to go to church to garner faith enough to forge a new, more fulfilling future, both financially and “spiritually”

You do not have to be a religious person to recognize a prayer written by American theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr which goes as follows (in its best known, abridged form):

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

Cultural relevance of this homage to wise judgment, humility and appropriately applied effort is prevalent across many platforms and has multiple applications, including ones that will serve you well in business.  It works especially well if you have been a loyal, hardworking employee at the same company for a while and find yourself feeling “stuck”.

In our “always on” society that blurs the lines between our work life and our personal life, the feeling of being enslaved by your job that doesn’t honor your true calling can take hold now more than ever.  Also, buying and accumulating things beyond our financial means is a common story, but it’s also a trap that ensures you will work longer and harder hours to keep up with a materialistic status quo you innocently fell into maintaining, early in your career.  Give yourself a break.  You probably landed your job as a young adult and as years’ passed mercilessly, you woke up at your desk, making a “decent” salary but realizing that you feel you cannot free yourself.

Since this article leans on spirituality via the Serenity Prayer, consider that your reasons for staying with a job you hate isn’t entirely about superficial, materialistic gain (or realistic dependency on that high, white-collar salary).  There are probably spiritual, emotional and habitual reasons why you find yourself disempowered and disconnected to the fact that you are here to live in joy and to make a living doing something that lights you up inside, authentically.

Accepting the things you cannot change with serenity (but do not suffer long)

Your ideas fall on deaf ears:  Your boss doesn’t give you an audience and your projects seem to fall aside in order of priority.

Boxed in at work:  You have tried coming into work with a renewed vigor, perhaps modifying your job description or presenting the idea that you could make a lateral move within the company, but to no avail.

Culture clash:  You didn’t notice immediately, but after you became engrossed in the corporate culture, you discovered a major mismatch, internally and it eats at you.  You are not the boss, so you cannot do anything to direct this climate.   Whether it be a question of ethics, environmental effects of the operation or a situation where you just don’t feel a sense of trust and loyalty as part of this team, your idea of culture clashes with theirs.   Find serenity in accepting that you cannot change corporate culture when you are not the boss.

Your future at the company:  When you put years of your life into your job, there is a temptation to stick with it because we are conditioned to believe that security comes with sticking to that “stable” job. When you envision yourself working at your current job one year from now and you don’t see anything changing, you are right.  You cannot change how those with seniority over you run their company.

Accept and engage the courage to change the 2 most important things you can:

Monotony in the name of money:  Let’s assume you have been working for a corporation for several years and you’re a highly-paid manager with vacation time and bonuses.  It sounds enviable, but something inside you writhes against heading to that office every day.  When you first started years ago, you had career goals that were exciting and you were promised a diverse experience with room for advancement.  The last thing you expected was to fall into a grey, mechanical routine with little variation. You might feel a little guilty complaining to your spouse about the blow to your professional spirit because you’re making big bucks.  If, by now, you do not see the possibilities to grow that once led you to this corporation in the first place after all of your hard work, accept that this is the time for the courage not to keep forcing change within the corporation that has tied you to monotony in spite of your greatest efforts.  It is time for you to change how you make your money.

Professional stagnation:  Some people are content with being contained and will sacrifice personal growth for the illusion that working for someone else offers security if they remain compliant.  But if you are tired of working on the same things day after day and are offered no additional training or chances to mix it up, it is more reason to nod to the proactive part of the Serenity prayer, the call for change.

Here are 3 things you can do to enact the most empowering part of the Serenity Prayer in Business:

Renew that resume:  See a digital print, design and marketing specialist to help market yourself anew.  It is time for a refreshed resume with whatever bragging points you’ve earned thus far, everything that you rightly earned through merit should adorn the new copy.  If you researched and proposed a fantastic idea, throw it on there even if your employer didn’t run with it.  You can still own it.

Business Cards:  Don’t leave your printing professional yet.  You can legitimately call yourself a consultant for the industry in which you labored, learned and produced.

Networking time:  Go ahead and jot down the names of several professionals with whom you’ve fallen out of touch and invite them to lunch, part of a new effort to invigorate your network.  It will renew you, give you some ideas and motivate you beyond the things you feel are holding you back.  You could use the positive energy jolt after dealing with the spirit-sucking trauma of a dead-end corporate job.

Be empowered with the wisdom to know the difference between what you cannot change and what you CAN change

Now that you know that you cannot change the culture or the climate at someone else’s company, but you can change your decision to stay there, it is time to engage the wisdom of knowing the difference.  Never again allow yourself to feel trapped, or victimized by the money you are making or some false sense of obligation to your current employer.  Be wise and realize that the difference is your willingness to tolerate a professional path that doesn’t serve you well.  You could go ahead and job hunt further.  Or, you could do as many thousands with fiery, independent spirits have done, investigate business ownership.  Owning a business either independently or through franchising will make you the boss for a change. Finally, you define the culture and the terms by which you will make your living.

A word about the wisdom of entrepreneurship through franchise ownership:

Hard-working people like you have recognized what they cannot change and more importantly, what they can about the way they earn a living if they aren’t happy even in a highly-paid corporate position.  Those folks, by the thousands decided to put several top franchisors under a microscope during discovery days that were organized with specific questions, bound and determined to put their money into more than an operations manual and a name brand.  They knew they wanted to abandon the job they hated through franchising so that they could rise up to the role of boss without the increased risk of independent business ownership.  They paid attention to senior franchise representatives as they outlined exactly what kind of assistance they would get from securing financing, training, and support.  Also, they looked for the advantage afforded by a bottom-line fattening royalty cap.

Dave Walton, Regional Vice President in North Carolina for Minuteman Press International and the modern printing industry, meets with people like you all the time and has observed the empowerment of new entrepreneurs as they take ownership of their Minuteman Press franchises and their lives, at last.  He talks about how they enjoy making new partnerships and become treasured within the communities they serve.  He says, “Our franchise owners have created new professional lives that allow for greater personal freedom than their former jobs, with weekends off.  They are very good at creating partnerships in the local communities in order to build their business.  The Chamber of Commerce is a great place to start.  It is important to not only be a member but also serve on committees and the board if possible.  This type of partnership not only improves the stores recognition but also contributes back to the community.”

Stop pouring your time and energy into a job that doesn’t invigorate you, even if it pays well. 

If you feel trapped, you are not going to be feeling peaceful and motivated, nor will you be inclined to realize that there are solutions, ways to make money that are far greater, more meaningful and more aligned with the kind of happiness that should rightfully pervade through your working and personal life.  You are no victim. You just need to regain some faith that by stepping back and reviewing, literally, the things you cannot change, the things you can and the wisdom to know the difference.  Once you to that, you will be able to set new goals that are absolutely attainable and promise to give you fulfillment on financial and deeper emotional levels.