You have a right to be satisfied at work
My life is similar to a lot of people my age: I have a 9-5 job in Customer Service at a technology company. I live with my husband, our dog and 5 roommates in a big house outside San Jose. I bought a car and am paying it off. I recently paid off my student loans, and have begun saving for my own house.
My typical week is highly predictable. Wake up, drive to work, might be guilty enough to go to the gym, come home in traffic and make dinner, relax for two hours, sleep, wake up and do it all over again. This routine happens Monday through Friday, and then I have the weekends to make plans. They fill up quickly and it's easy for me to tell you what I will be doing for the next three months.
I have a well-paying job and I'm good at it. It mostly comes naturally to me and it doesn't require more than an average amount of discipline. The hardest part about it is generally sitting at a desk, looking at a computer screen all day. Oh, and one little thing that practically nobody from the older generation seems to think is important: it doesn't bring me any satisfaction.
The amount of criticism I've received for caring about my own happiness/satisfaction at work is astounding. I've had co-workers laugh at me and make a joke about how I'm 'a typical millennial'. I don't understand this train of thought at all. How is aspiring for a job that you feel has meaning to the world a characteristic of a spoiled person?
It's not that I don't want to work: I do more than is required at my current job, and I do it quite well. I'm a hard worker, and I care about the results I produce. However, I'm currently job-searching for something that will give me more satisfaction in my life. A job that I feel makes the world a better place. Ideally, working for a cause that I feel passionate about, such as wildlife conservation or working to provide everybody in the world with clean water.
The fact that I even had such a desire was a point of humor for many people older than me. 'It's work - it's not supposed to be fun' or 'Everybody hates their job'. I disagree completely with this mentality and want to change it. No job is fun and satisfying all the time - there will always be times when it just feels like work. On the flip side - jobs aren't supposed to suck. That's a thought process of somebody who is defeated.
We have the privilege of choosing what we do for a living in America. Why is it admirable to strive for a job where you make a lot of money, and 'spoiled' or 'entitled' to endeavor towards a job with meaning? This is reprehensible in my opinion. In a world where accepting things as 'the way they have always been' and peddling away your life (because time is all you have - and you're selling it to whatever job you work at) for something you don't care about is normal, I want to be abnormal.
There are plenty of people out there who will respond to you choosing satisfaction over money with comments such as 'Well, aren't you lucky to have such a choice' or other passive aggressive condemnations. Yet no matter what economic status you're at, you can always choose a job that makes the world a better place, if that's what you really desire. This ambition is not limited to those with financial freedom. You can choose to work at the front desk of an animal shelter instead of Mcdonalds, at a recycling center instead of a clothing store. You can work doing something you care about and pay the bills. This is not about status or privilege. This is about the small choices we make as a person that become a part of the greater whole.
I won't let people who criticize me deter me from my goal. I'll keep searching, and making the small choices that I feel represent the type of person that I would like to be. I've already seen a lot of people in our generation doing the same thing. Hopefully with time we can all build the type of society we want, and get the happiness we all deserve.