It’s funny. Even the best job in the world gets to be a drag after you’ve done it for 40 or 50 years. But there’s a solution to long-time, big-time job fatigue. Quit your long-term job, and get a new job. On that first Monday, throw yourself into the work. Make friends with your colleagues. Sign up for the 401(k). Impress your manager with your focus and commitment. Keep up the intensity, all the way until the first Friday at which point you quit and start another job — which you also keep for one week. And then quit. And so on and so forth.
Welcome, friend, to the job-of-the-week club.
If getting a new job every week seems unrealistic, you really should talk to Roman Krznaric. Krznaric is an author, and in the week he held that position, or so I presume, he dashed out a book, “How to Find Fulfilling Work,” in which he promotes the concept of changing jobs about as often as you change your underwear.
I learned about Krznaric’s philosophy of job-hopping in an article at Salon.com by reporter Matt Frassica. I also learned that Krznaric believes that we can’t find fulfillment at work because we spend too much time trying to find a job that matches our interests and abilities. It is his belief that “we need to act first and think afterwards.” (This philosophy should appeal to you, since a quick review of your personal history shows your usual response to life is to act first and then don’t think about it afterwards. Or ever.)
If it strikes you that leaping into a job about which you know nothing is a formula for failure, think again. As reported in Salon.com, “Krznaric wants to flip our idea of what success looks like. Instead of aspiring to become ‘high achievers,’ he argues, many of us would be happier as ‘wide achievers’ — dabbling in many fields rather than becoming an expert in one.”
I’m not sure this is true. Think how bad it feels knowing that you’re a miserable failure at your job. Would it be any better to know that you’re a miserable failure at every job?
Now, you might think that changing jobs every week is not a sensible way to survive a difficult economy, but, in fact, “cultivating skills across a range of occupations could be a smart move.” How many jobs do you need to try? Krznaric describes a woman who spent her 30th year trying out 30 different jobs. You could attempt this, but be careful not to fall in love with any one job. For example, I doubt you’d ever want to move on if you could get a gig like the 30-year-old job switcher’s one-week stint as “manager of a cat hotel.”
Still hesitating to quit your current job and start off a series of weekly gigs? Author Krznaric would ask you to consider just how multi-dimensional you are. Deep down, aren’t you one of those people “feeling that plowing a relatively narrow furrow isn’t nurturing the many sides of who they are?”
Of course you are! After all, there’s the drunk you. The glutton you. The sleep-through-the-day you. So if the sensible you thinks this is all bunkum, consult the try-any-lamebrain-self-help-nonsense-that-sounds-good-to-you you. I’m sure that you will love this you for thinking of it.
Recognizing that in this economy, it may be difficult to “go up to an employer and say, ‘Hey, I’m going to try you out for a week,'” Krznaric suggests you keep your current job and reserve the weekly switcheroo to virtual jobs. “Try out every contact you have to shadow or volunteer,” he says. “Of course, it’s not possible in every field. You’re not going to be able to try out being a dentist for a week.”
I disagree. I just spent the last week being a dentist, and it was a fabulous success for me and for my patients. My dentist was less happy about the results, but he seemed to cheer up once I took him out of the closet and untied him. In fact, he was enthusiastic about the week I spent in his shoes, and immediately called the police and told them all about it.
This is truly excellent news. I not only got a week plowing a wide furrow as a dentist, but with any luck, I can now spend an educational week being a prisoner in a federal penitentiary. Sweet!
Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at firstname.lastname@example.org.