You don't hate your job because your boss sucks. You don't hate your job because your coworkers suck. You don't hate your job because you've spent far too many hours commuting on Interstate 5 reading the "SUX2BU" personalized plate on that guy's 1992 forest green Mazda Miata.
No, you hate your job for the best possible reason: It is massively unrewarding and no way to spend a big chunk of whatever years you have on this earth.
In the last few years before I started my company, I was a relentless, unapologetic job-hopper. At one point, I held four separate six-figure jobs in a single calendar year.
I didn't hate all my bosses.
(In fact, I only hated one.)
I didn't hate any of my coworkers.
(But...in all honesty, I strongly disliked more than just one.)
And I didn't spend a single minute sitting behind a forest green Mazda Miata.
In other words, it did not SUCK2BEME.
Still, I was deeply unhappy.
I expected my job to fill my wallet and my heart.
Each of those four jobs did a good-to-great job of paying my mortgage, paying my car payments, and making it so we no longer had to sneak a package of broken Red Vines from The Dollar Tree into the dollar theater.
Unlike my wallet, I was empty, directionless, and frustrated. That job-hopping took a toll on our family. In a fourteen-month span, we moved from Phoenix to Miami to St. Louis. It was like the Joad family from The Grapes of Wrath swapped poverty and a Model T for a Roth IRA and a late model Kia minivan.
Why the wandering?
A big part of my heart was empty.
I was doing financially lucrative but personally unrewarding work. My day job rarely involved doing anything creative--in fact, one of those jobs involved organizing invitation-only conferences for elite antitrust lawyers.
Reread that sentence.
It was as awful as it sounds.
That said, my frustration wasn't the fault of my bosses, my coworkers, or my commute.
I was the problem.
I expected my job to give my life meaning. I wanted my job to fill my soul--and that is not what a job is.
A job is a series of duties someone else creates. When you take a job, you promise to complete those duties in exchange for compensation. If you are lucky, you might find meaning and purpose in your job--but if that happens, it happened by accident.
No employer ever drafted a job description with the intention of filling the holes in our souls.
What changed for me?
How did I stop looking for meaning in my paycheck?
I started writing, and that writing grew a following. Eventually, my following gave me the opportunity to start my own communications company with my wife. It is incredibly rewarding--though it still doesn't give me everything I need, and that's okay. That's why I write novels and children's books on the side. The money never justifies the time--but seeing my name on a book cover goes a long way toward filling the holes in my soul.
Writing is my incredibly time-consuming, extremely unprofitable side hustle.
And I love it.
Hopefully your job gives you a sense of purpose.
If that's the case, consider yourself lucky.
You are the exception.
If you're like the rest of us, stop trying to decipher the meaning of your life in a list of KSAs drafted by an HR coordinator and a hiring manager who might be just as misguided and miserable as you are.
Go create the opportunity--even if it's "just" a side hustle--that you were always looking for.