I Don’t Want To Work: 8 Tips To Find A Better Fit

I don’t want to work

I want to bang on the drum all day

I don’t want to play

I just want to bang on the drum all day

Bang The Drum All Day

Lyrics sung and written by Todd Rundgren

Ever say this to yourself, “I don’t want to work”?

Many of us feel this way at one time or another. Having difficulty getting up in the morning, dragging through the entire day, and not being productive by the time you leave work, dreading the next day.

A Global Gallup Poll showed that as many as 85% of workers worldwide hate their job, meaning only 15% are engaged at their job. American workers are somewhat happier at 30% of those surveyed. Various surveys may differ. Most show well more than half of us are not satisfied at our jobs. 

The attitude of “I don’t want to work” is unfortunate for those who feel that way as we spend so much time of our lives working and we need to earn a living and enjoy our lives. Instead, we offer tips to drop that feeling and find a better fit.

Common Reasons For Disliking Your Job

  • You don’t like your boss or colleagues.
  • You feel burnout.
  • You aren’t being challenged enough.
  • You are stuck in a rut with no potential advancement.
  • You feel apathetic or lack passion.
  • You don’t like the specific work.
  • You lack motivation or engagement.
  • The commute is too long.
  • You want to go back to school.


Mental Health

Sometimes, the reason for not working is due to a mental health problem. Rather than quit your job, it may be a good time for a mental health checkup.  One in five Americans have diagnosable mental health conditions each year, but fewer than half get the treatment they need despite being effective 80% of the time.

Barbara Ricci points to concerns people may have seeking help is due to social stigma, repercussions at work, or lack of access to affordable care. We recognize this as an important reason for many who dislike work and recommend seeing a professional for help.

My Experience Early In My Career

I can relate to some of these reasons. In my first job out of college with a liberal arts degree, I assisted the executive secretary in a three-person consulting firm.  The President of the firm had a blue-chip Rolodex with people like Henry Kissinger and many members of Congress.

My job was to sit at the receptionist’s desk, but we had very few visitors. It was a challenge to look busy, and I was exhausted from the effort. When clients did come, they were dignitaries from the Middle East looking to partner with large American firms. When we had visitors, I served coffee to men sitting on the floor without getting coffee drips on the saucer. I failed miserably and left after a month.

The job was not a good fit, and I moved on, working for financial institutions for a couple of years. At least there I was doing some number-crunching in the back-office of the accounting department of a major investment bank. However, I was still unhappy with my job. I felt like a square peg in a round hole, but in all honesty, I didn’t understand what I wanted to do for my career.

The thought of working decades at a job I didn’t enjoy, offering little upside, made me sad and exhausted. It wasn’t the money I was making as it was quite adequate. Instead, I worked on small unengaging tasks in a group detached from senior management who were using my analysis to make decisions.

A Light Bulb Went Off When I Found The Perfect Fit

After months of doing this work, a lightbulb went off.  I wanted to make changes, accelerate my MBA program, take more finance courses, and move from my current department to equity research.

Before talking to my accounting manager, I had spent time exploring what equity analysts did and spoke to a few people about their job. My boss was not supportive of the move when I discussed my plans. He told me going to that side of the company was virtually impossible from our department.

I scoured the job board (they were on the walls those days, not online) in the hallway. With some luck on my side, I found a posting for a junior analyst to work in equity research and got the job in the same firm. It was a perfect fit for me as I enjoyed the intensity of the analytical work, writing, and communicating with institutional clients.

Make Some Changes For A More Suitable Job

When you enjoy your job and find your purpose, you tend to be more engaged and happy with your life. It is challenging to work at your best capacity when you don’t like your job, colleagues, or the organization. Spending 40 or 50+ hours for years hating your job is a terrible formula.

Don’t want to bang the drum all day? You will need to identify your preferences, and then you can go for it. You can address your situation and make changes based on some thoughtful research, flexibility, and building some essential skills for a potential career change. It is easier to reach success and enjoy your career when work engages you. You will need to identify your preferences, and then you can go for it.

Most of us need to work to earn a living and achieve financial independence. Even those who are independently wealthy seek meaning in their lives, beyond the boundaries of having money. There are many virtues of working, and you just need to find the right fit for you.

8 Tips To Drop The “I Don’t Want To Work “Attitude And Find A Better Fit 


1. Adopt An Abundance Mindset

How we think influences how we see the world around us and can significantly impact our success, prosperity, and our overall happiness. Certain mindsets can better dial your ability to achieve success. People who radiate negativity will face challenges in their careers and life. It can hamper productivity in the workplace.

A positive mindset will help you find your dream job, make friends more easily, and enjoy your life.  Adopting an abundance mindset provides us with a deeper sense of personal worth and security, through seeing more win-win situations.

2. Visualize The Ideal Job

Evaluate your skills and qualifications for what you visualize as a desirable job.  What makes a job desirable to you, and consider images of your future lifestyle.

Consider questions to ask yourself to get an idea of the work and the work environment, like where do you want to live and work, and how you commute.

Do you want to work in the hustle and bustle environment like Manhattan, where everyone seems to be in a rush, or something calmer in the suburbs or a rural community? Are you motivated by high compensation and working crazy hours for a time, or do you want more of a work/life balance?

Creating a vision board can help you visualize a range of goals to consider.

3. Networking Is Your Friend

Before you make dramatic changes or quit the job you hate, you need to do some research to consider your qualifications and interests. Establish your network and continue to build it throughout your life and career.

The purpose of networking is to establish relationships with those who can advance you. You can start in high school with your relationships like your peers, alumni, teachers, and friends. Some people you meet at college may become friends for life, and others represent potential connections to career opportunities. 

These contacts may share interests with you that can be helpful in learning more about jobs and careers you hadn’t previously considered. Reach out and buy them a cup of coffee or jump on a zoom with them. Ask questions about their job, share your interests with them. These people may be in areas of your interest or know others who are in your desired field.

Networking will be your friend and an asset but will only be as good as you nurture your list over the long term.

4. Evaluate Your Qualifications And Skills

Review your hard skills and soft skills and where you may have some holes for your future job. When I considered becoming an equity analyst, I received excellent advice from someone who became a close friend. She asked me if I had experience with public speaking.

This question was a turning point in my potential new career. I not only had little experience, but I shied away from any courses that required public speaking due to being terribly frightened of speaking to crowds. If I was going to pursue equity research, I would need to make daily presentations to our salesforce, and to the largest institutional investors. How was I going to be able to do that?

Wanting to mend my apparent deficit, I immediately sought ways to get over my fright, starting with Toastmasters, then I took evening courses that were part of my MBA program that would require making speeches. After a successful career as an equity analyst, my presentations became at least passable, and I regret that I avoided public speaking at an earlier age.

Fill your skill gaps as best you can for what is essential in your desired career. Know what potential skills are needed for success and consider available training programs. If you are undecided about your career direction, do some research in areas where there is strong demand for people with high income skills.

5. Take Risks Early In Life And In Your Career

There are a lot of pressures for graduates to get a desirable first job out of college. They have loans to pay, and four years under their belt of being on a tight budget during school.

More than 40% of college grads take a job that doesn’t require a college degree. According to this study, the problem is these folks are five times more likely to still be in that job years later.

Consider the job offer very carefully as to how it fits your profile. Are you a risk-taker? When you are young, take risks that will add to your portfolio. This may mean that you have to step out of your comfort zone. What is easiest is not necessarily a good choice.

Overcoming challenges are excellent for your growth and career. Seek challenges to expose yourself to different environments. In the early stages of your career, build character, skills, and experience. That matters more than how many “A’s” you had on your transcript.

Employers will ask you about the greatest risks you have taken. How did it work out? Working hard is simply the minimum. They want to know how you dealt with challenges and failure. Failure is acceptable if you learn from it. Those experiences provide valuable rewards in your current job. 

6. Find Your Sense of Purpose And Meaning 

It is easier to work hard and find success if you enjoy what you do for your career. Steve Jobs said, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” Finding purpose and meaning in your job increases motivation, engagement, and self-worth.

According to a Gallup Poll in March 2016, only 34% of the US workforce were engaged at work. Be committed to your work or consider changing to a job you may be happier doing. 

An old parable about three bricklayers, called “Building A Cathedral,” expresses the power of personal purpose of one of the bricklayers who was indeed a happy man. 

In his book, Man’s Search For Meaning, Viktor Frankl identified survivors of the Holocaust as those who had a purpose or reason to live and survive beyond themselves. Like Frankl, my mother was a Holocaust survivor who wanted to survive to find her family after the war. Others survived by finding meaning in caring for and helping others in that horrific experience.

7. Follow Your Passion

Following a passion can be a lifetime pursuit. In an Indeed survey, 60% of employers said lack of desire for work is why some employees don’t perform well in their roles. In recent years, passion has become a priority over salaries for college grads. Long term, those with passion are better workers, and most importantly, they are happier.

I would not have succeeded as an equity analyst working more than 60 hours a week for so many years if I didn’t have a passion for my job.

Yes, I made some sacrifices personally to work intensively. Still, it was historically an exciting time for the telecom industry (for which I was responsible), undergoing a dramatic change from a regulated to a competitive industry just as the Internet became accessible for consumers.

I ran from one part of the country to another to learn how the industry, respective companies, and Congress would unleash competition and how consumers would gain or lose in this race to change.

That professional commitment is not for everyone, and the burnout factor was relatively high for many professions, like physicians, nurses, attorneys, accountants, and healthcare workers.

The point is to find your passion balanced out with your skills, qualifications, and interests in the respective fields.

8. Monetize Your Hobbies

Speaking of passion, many people have talent, interests, and hobbies outside of their jobs. They may do woodworking, carpentry, photography, jewelry, clothing, draw, comedy, writing, racecar driving, and a host of other activities one can imagine.

Hobbyists are passionate, engaged people who network with others who have similar interests. They may go to flea markets, clubs, and gatherings. They are sometimes one step away from being able to monetize their pastimes. Unlike the jobs they may barely tolerate, they may want to devote more energy to make or do things in their spare time for money.  These efforts could result in side hustles to earn income.

Final Thoughts

It is common for us to think, “I don’t want to work.” The reality is that we need and should want to work to earn a living, become financially independent, and enjoy life by finding our passion and sense of purpose. To do so, we point to tips that may help to find a better fit.

Thank you for reading this article! If you enjoyed this article, please share it with others. Please visit The Cents of Money for more articles of interest.





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