Americans celebrated Thanksgiving, aka National Elastic Pants Day, last week. This holiday prompts awkward conversations with family members and thoughts about what we’re grateful for.

And for most of us, the list is long. When you really stop and count your blessings, it’s overwhelming how much richness and opportunity we all have access to.

But what if you don’t feel grateful for something that you have? Instead, what if you feel like you’re settling for less than you want?

I’m talking about your job, specifically. This is a concern a lot of clients have raised with me over the years. They’ve said things like:

“My mom said I’m lucky to even have a job.”
“My husband doesn’t understand why I can’t be happy with my ‘great’ job.”
“My job looks perfect on paper, but being in it doesn’t feel good.”
“I feel selfish for wanting something else because I know other people have it worse.”
“I know I need to just be happy with what I have, but I can’t make myself.”

There’s tension between what you feel and what you or others think you should feel. You don’t wanna be ungrateful, but your experience of your job is that something is off.

Are you being ungrateful? Or are you settling when you shouldn’t be?

Here’s the test:

If you can fully acknowledge the blessing of what you have and you still want something different, that’s not being ungrateful; that’s being unfulfilled.

I want to say that again. If you’re grateful and still not satisfied, you’re unfullfilled, not ungrateful. So tell that to Aunt Sandra when she criticizes you over pumpkin pie.

Wanting to be fulfilled is not selfish, wrong, or too much to ask for. In fact, being fulfilled in your work creates the conditions that allow you to do your best work and be of the most service. There’s nothing selfish about that.

So…do you need more gratitude for what you have, or do you need something new that will fulfill you? Think about it while you finish off the last of the turkey.

Laura Simms is an expert in meaningful work who challenges conventional wisdom by asking people to ditch their passions and start with purpose.

If you have too many passions, zero passions, or can't seem to combine your passions, try her purpose-first approach to find a career you love.  


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