What comes first– the job or the happiness?

My office environment has offered both amusement and endless hours of banging my head against my desk for the past year and a half.  Despite my frustrations with my job description, I was lucky enough to land in a place in which we are all nurtured for who we are on the inside. 

The CEO wants our office to be a family.  Team building-esque things like happy hours are encouraged.  Milestones are celebrated.  The CEO gets small pleasure when the ladies of the office sneak out early for hot yoga because we are doing it together.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say we group hug before we go home at night but we sure come close sometimes. 

So while I hate my job, there are so many things about my situation that’s great— the people I work with, the opportunities, the flexibly.  We have good benefits and gets raises each year and have been known to meet $2000 bar tab minimums for going away parties.  We have a nice office routine.  We are aware of each others strengths and shortcomings.  We do each other favors. 

But as much as I love those qualities, there is nowhere for me to grow within the company.  While my responsibilities have increased, I’ll always be the bottom person on the totem pole.  Which means I’ll always be the one making the coffee, telling someone when I have to go to the bathroom so the phone will get answered and having conversations about the amount of sugar packets, or lack thereof, in the kitchen.  There is no way for me to have a career in this place. 

So, the logical thing to do is find a company that would provide me with one— tenure, promotions, upward mobility.  But then what if I hate every single second I spend at that place?  What if my co-workers all suck?  What if I don’t feel like a valued and trusted employee?  What if I not only hate my job description, but everything else about the company too?  Then what?  (That was a lot of rhetorical questions, but these are the things that keep me up at night.)

Actively choosing to stay would be a cop out.  When I leave, I’ll be taking a risk.  But for the time being, I am able to pay my bills on time each month.  I have enough cash in my pocket to meet friends for happy hour and buy impulse tickets to Costa Rica.  And when I show up to work 10 minutes late, or wear my ugly Toms around the office, I am forgiven. 

So what is comes right down to is this— should my job make me happy or should my job be a necessary evil to finance my happiness? 

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