As a result, many people reject the idea of wanting a job and wanting to work at all. Instead, they come to feel that “I don’t want a job I just want a life”.
And if you find yourself feeling that way, know that you’re not alone.
The Great Resignation was evidence that many people are unsatisfied by the current role that work plays in our lives and yearn for something more.
To that end, this article is going to unpack want to do if you find yourself struggling with the role of work in your own life and find yourself wanting more.
Let’s dive in.
I Don’t Want a Job I Just Want a Life: What To Do?
If you find yourself feeling like you can’t live the type of life that you want as a result of your job being too restrictive or consuming, then it’s likely that the job that you have doesn’t yet play the right role in your life.
The first thing that I would call is that, in an ideal state, our work would be a wonderful and core part of our lives.
As the philosopher Dallas Willard said, “work is the energy that we put forth to produce good”. If you think of work that way, then I think producing good is something that most, if not all of us, would want as a part of our lives.
The problem is that many of us don’t feel like we’re producing good in our jobs and/or our job is too all consuming in the context of our lives to be able to build the life that we want outside of it.
So, before diving into what to do about how you’re feeling at your current job, I wanted to start by calling out the potential of work.
If you can find your best fit work, it has the potential to be a context in which you are contributing and producing meaningful good. And, if you can produce good by doing work that aligns with your personality and interests, it can be also be something that you actively enjoy.
How to Find Your Best Fit Work?
Ultimately, finding the right intersection of work and life I think comes down to finding your best fit work.
And what is your best fit work? It’s the energy that you put worth to produce good in the context that you want to produce it.
If you can find work where you feel like you’re making a contribution, that fits into the life that you want to build yourself, and where the act of doing it helps to bring you to life, then your work or job won’t feel like it’s taking away from your life. It will feel like an important and enjoyable part of your life.
So, how do you do that?
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, particularly 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 work paths that fit into that vision and that may be life giving to you.
I find Ikigai to be a wonderful framework on how to do just that. I do acknowledge some of the criticism of Ikigai, which is that it can be a bit too much of a “pie in the sky” framework for trying to identify the perfect work for you, which may not really exist. Some people say that it’s not grounded in reality and that you can’t always make money from things that you love, are good at, etc.
Even if that criticism is true, I find that going through the Ikigai exercise can open your mind up to career paths and possibilities that you may not have thought of before. And I would challenge you that in our internet era, there are more opportunities than ever to make money from things that you enjoy.
Heck, there’s a dude on Twitter who made his job organizing cocktail parties and teaching people how to network because he enjoys socializing so much.
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 find journaling as my personal favorite means of reflection).
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
What To Do With My Life If I Don’t Want to Work?
Ultimately, if you feel like you simply don’t want to work, I would challenge you that you haven’t yet found your best fit work.
You may be thinking of work within the confines of the what Paul Millerd calls the “default path” and feeling like your only option is to work a 9-5 for somebody else.
Work can be so much more than that.
Ultimately, my recommendations are similar to the above for finding your best fit work and seeing if finding work that better suits the contribution that you’d like to make and the life that you want to build for yourself ultimately changes your desires around work.
I unpack that further in the article, “I Don’t Want to Work: What To Do“.
Can You Live a Good Life Without a Job?
Yes, you can absolutely live a good life without a job.
However, I would argue that it’s tough to live a good life without some form of work to give yourself to.
And by work, I’m referring to the definition that was provided previously, which is “the energy that you put forth to produce good”.
Now, there are many aspects to living a good life. I provide some details on what I believe some of the aspects of a good life to be in our is working a 9-5 a waste of life article.
One of the key aspects mentioned there is contribution. I think it’s difficult to expect to have a good life without contributing positively to your society or community in some way.
A job is not the only way to make that contribution. But I do think you need to find some way to make a contribution through the work that you give yourself to.
I Don’t Want to Work Anymore But Need Money
If you don’t want to work anymore but need money, there are a couple of different routes that you can go.
You can either put together a tight plan for the amount of money that you’ll need to live the type of life that you want and then save to achieve that amount. This is similar to the Financial Independence, Retire Early movement.
Alternatively, you can work to earn an income outside of the context of a traditional job. In our current day and age, there are many ways to do that. You could start your own business as an entrepreneur, work to earn money online, or join the gig economy.
Regardless, I would encourage you to figure out a way to independently take care of your financial needs and not be a burden on others financially out of a desire not to work a traditional job.
It can be common to feel like working takes away from your ability to live the life that you want.
However, I think that we need to raise our expectations about what work can be.
Your best fit work can be a means of producing good. And it can be something that you actively enjoy and that fills you with life and energy.
So, I would encourage you, think about the life that you want to build for yourself. Think about work that can fit into that life. And experiment and explore widely to find the work that enable you to build the life that you want to build for yourself.