10 Things Your Mom Never Told You About Work

The concept that women could do it all was alive and well as I transitioned from student to working adult. And as a young, naïve woman looking for a way to bring it all into my life, I fell for it hook, line and sinker. Why can't women have it all?
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

Remember that old television commercial where a beautiful woman danced across the television screen singing seductively,"I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan and never let you forget you're a man!"

Yep, the concept that women could do it all was alive and well as I transitioned from student to working adult. And as a young, naïve woman looking for a way to bring it all into my life, I fell for it hook, line and sinker. Why can't women have it all?

My own mother added fuel to the dream by sending me to college, assuring me a degree would mean I could have any job I chose. I would never have to rely on anyone to help me make my way in this world. You'll be self-sufficient, in charge of your own destiny, she said. And to a stay-at-home mom who always dreamt of her own college degree, that was a dream worth pursuing.

Working. It's something we all choose to do -- need to do in most cases. So, why are we all so stressed out about the process? Statistics consistently show we are anything but satisfied with our jobs. Yet, even when we hate our jobs and dread going in every day, we still do it. Why?

1. Work is hard work. Love your job or hate it, whether you work 20 hours a week or 24 hours a day, no matter what position you hold, work is hard work. We're in demand, day in and day out. We're expected to punch the time clock based on our employer's expectations, not ours. Don't feel good? Doesn't matter. You have an obligation to fulfill. Even if you love everything about what you do, your career will be one of the most challenging parts of your life.

2. Work doesn't always feed your spirit. Sometimes, you can do your work in your sleep. It doesn't motivate you. It doesn't inspire you. You thought it would be everything you wanted... until it wasn't. Now, it's simply a place you go to keep the money coming in to pay the bills.

3. Work doesn't end when you punch out at night. In many cases, you leave the office and your real work begins. The kids, your spouse, your clubs, your friends, your house and your family all require little bits of time and energy. Sometimes, it can all feel like more work than your actual job, especially when you're trying to squeeze it all in on just a few hours of sleep each night.

4. Work won't bring you happiness. If you aren't happy with your life, there is very little that a job can bring to your life to make you happy. Happiness comes from within. You have to be happy with who you are, and only then can your work define you and make you better.

5. Work isn't always fulfilling. You always wanted to do what you currently are doing... until you got there. Then it wasn't everything you thought it would be. Now what?

6. Work can change who you are. Work defines who you are, the life you lead, the people you hang around with and the future you will have. If you don't like your life, what does it say about the work you chose to do? What else is there?

7. Work can lead you in the wrong direction. Promotions aren't always the best thing for you. New positions won't always give you what you are looking for. In some cases, they can take you off the track to your dreams.

8. Work doesn't equal security. When I left corporate to start my own business, a coworker assured me she could never take that much risk; she needed security in her life. What is your definition of security? Security changes depending on how you look at it, and what is an acceptable lifestyle for you. What was secure for my coworker -- a paycheck every other Friday -- became too much risk for me as I watched downsizing all around me. Two years after I quit, the office closed altogether, and my coworker was looking for another job. Security is all in how you view it.

9. Work won't give you financial freedom. There's a saying within the entrepreneurial world that a JOB is defined as "just over broke." There's a lot of truth to it. Whatever your current salary is, chances are your expenses match your salary. Get a promotion and an increase in income? Your expenses will move up with it. You have to go back to your job every week because without it, you would go broke. The journey towards financial freedom can only be found when you make more than you spend. It's difficult with the JOB mentality.

10. Work can disappear in a heartbeat... unless you take control. My mom and dad often spoke to me about the American dream. Go to school, get a great job and work hard until retirement. The funny thing is that the American dream rarely works out in the modern world. Corporate layoffs, downsizing, outsourcing, hiring freezes and more have long since taken that dream away. While the need to make a living will never go away, the way we choose to make a living is changing and morphing over time.

The alternative may be in turning your big idea into a business.

Do you still work at a JOB, or have you broken free to do your own thing?

What's your big idea, and how can you turn it into a thriving business?

Before You Go