Whether you’re in your 30s, 50s, or just getting started in your career, growing tired of working is not uncommon.
And the feeling of being tired of working is a hard one to deal with. Normal working hours for most people are 9 – 5, five days per week for forty hours per week. So if you’re spending forty hours per week doing something that you are simply tired of, it can be incredibly draining for your life as a whole.
So, to that end, we’re going to unpack what to do when you’re tired of working. This article is going to discuss why you might be tired of working, if it’s normal to be tired of working, and what to do if you find yourself in that situation.
Let’s get started.
Why Am I Tired of Working?
You’re likely tired of working in your because the work that you’re doing isn’t life giving for you.
And many people get to that point in different ways.
It might be because, as James Clear said on a Tim Ferriss podcast episode, you’re playing the wrong game. What he meant by that is that you may be trying to win at something that ultimately isn’t in line with what you truly want.
The most common example is working to climb the corporate ladder to acquire as much money and status as possible. Yes, it’s great to have money and to be respected but, ultimately, is the game that you want to be winning at one that is full of stress and limited free time for family and adventures?
Alternatively, you might be tired of working because you didn’t demand more out of what you wanted from your work. Maybe you just accepted that a bland 9-5 to pay the bills is all that work can be.
Lastly, it could be because you simply have to make ends meet, don’t have many options, and just took a job because you had to earn money.
Whatever the reason, if you’re tired of working, I believe it’s because you’re doing work that does not fill you with life and/or energy.
Is It Normal to Be Tired of Working?
Yes, it is quite common to be tired of working. In fact, according to a recent survey, the average worker experiences career burnout at the age of 32.
From my perspective, career burnout can happen at any time if you’re doing the wrong work. Or it could never happen if you find what is truly your best fit work. I know people that happily worked into their 80s because they enjoyed what they were doing so much.
The key is what type of work we’re doing and whether it fills us with life.
Where I think many of us run into trouble with work is thoughtlessly following what Paul Millard calls the “default path.” And that’s the path of viewing work as a competitive ladder that we need to climb to achieve as much status and wealth as possible.
Pursuing that default path can be a recipe for disaster. You’re operating on auto pilot to pursue a path that may get you status and acclaim but if it’s not one that gives you energy, brings you joy, or enables you to feel like you’re making a difference, then it’s one that will likely result in you simply feeling like you don’t want to work.
Alternatively, we may run into trouble by taking the alternate path and just work as a set of handcuffs that are placed upon us to force us to make money. If we don’t view it as anything more than something that we’re forced to do to make money, then that’s all that it will ever be for us.
In my opinion, the right work can be amazing expression of creativity and contribution if we don’t just settle for what is easy or obvious.
What To Do If You Are Tired of Working?
If you find yourself tired of working, then it’s time to step back and assess what you really want and experiment with different paths for how to get there.
At a high level, you want to start by establishing a vision for your life. And I mean looking at your overall life, not just work. Too often, in the United States, I think that we start by selecting our work path first and then building our life around that. I recommend that you think about what you want your life to look like and then seek work that fits into the context of that life.
Once you have your vision for you life, then try and find tangible career paths that fit into that vision and that may be life giving you. I find the Ikigai to be a wonderful framework on how to do that.
From there, once you have a sense of what some potential paths might look like for you, it’s time to go out and experiment and reflect on which of those feels right to you.
I unpack that whole process and provide tools and references for each on the different stages in our article called I Have No Idea What To Do With My Life: How To Get Unstuck.
Feeling tired of working is a tough spot to be. When you’re in that place, work can feel like a joyless burden. And many people ultimately just accept work for what it is and try to numb themselves to it.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Work is a huge portion of your life and if you find your best fit work, it can be a wonderful place of life and contribution.
So I would encourage you to think deeply about the life you want, the game you’re playing, and the path that you’re on, and use the tools provided in this article to find work that will help you win the game that you truly want to play.