Do you ever feel like you “should” find really meaningful work, but deep down, you feel content just to work a regular job and do the things you’re passionate about outside of work?

Or, do you have a passion or calling that, try as you might, you just can’t seem to figure out how to get paid for? And, part of you just feels done with trying to market your calling?

If this is the case for you, I want to introduce you to the concept of the “good enough job.”

I first encountered this term from Barbara Sher in her book, Refuse to Choose, which she wrote for people who are trying to create careers out of their multiple passions. 

The good enough job is relatively enjoyable paid work that meets your financial needs while leaving you with enough time and energy to pursue your passions and callings outside of work. 

Although not everyone will want to pursue a good enough job,  this concept offers two significant paradigm shifts that I think all of us could learn from.

First, at its core, the good enough job is a recognition of the fact that not every calling has to take the form of paid work. 

Poet Kahlil Gibran writes, “work is love made visible.” In other words, work can encompass a myriad of unpaid pursuits such as raising a family, engaging in activism, and healing our bodies. Not all work is paid.  Although, I believe it’s important that we earn our wages in ways that are in alignment with our values, we don’t always have to earn our wages at the same time that we’re following our callings.

Second, separating wages from activism can sometimes make our activism more effective. For example, nonprofit staff too often face hard choices between maximizing chances of receiving funding and the long-term effectiveness of the movements they’re part of. What if we were able to pay the bills while working part-time at good-enough jobs and devote a large chunk of time each week to unpaid activism?

As Vicki Robin writes in Your Money or Your Life— 

Insisting that your calling and your paid employment be one and the same can tip the balance of your focus from mission to money… By giving up the expectation that you will be paid to do the work you’re passionate about, you can do both things with more integrity. You can make money to cover your expenses, and you can follow your heart without compromise.

Pursuing a good enough job allows many people to stop defining their self-worth by the jobs they do. And, in turn, it affords them the opportunity to earn more money, enjoy more time and energy, and feel more satisfied in their life outside of work.

With all this in mind, I invite you to consider what it might be like to have a good enough job and reflect on the following questions—

  • If you didn’t have to earn money, how would you want to spend your time?
  • What paid work might you do to cover your money needs, have time to pursue your other interests, and live in alignment with your values?
  • How might the concept of the “good enough job” support to you?

I’m curious to hear how the concept of the good enough job lands with you! 

What do you think about the idea of the good enough job?

Please feel free to share in the comments below, and I will be sure to respond!

Much love,

Katherine

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