Break The Rules

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We absorb expectations about work and career from our communities, and families, particularly as we grow up. The way those around you interact with work guides the way you think about your work. You have many shoulds and should nots, dos and do nots, that guide you — whether or not you are aware of them.

The rules you hold about work define your relationship with it.

In order to find a sense of freedom and space for yourself, you have to be willing to break the rules.[Tweet that]

You have to be willing to confront the rules and tell them off (it’s harder than it sounds).

Doing your work is an act of rebellion against so much of how we’re “supposed” to operate. You’re not a cog and you have something great to give (see the Manifesto for more on that). Pursuing a sense of calling and vocation takes deep courage and a willingness to challenge the status quo.

Your own version of “status quo” becomes apparent once you start examining your work rules.[Tweet that]

In order to break the rules, you must begin by naming them.

Some common rules are (add your own in the comments):
– get a job and keep that job (no matter what)
– work shouldn’t be fun, that’s why it’s called “work”
– you don’t need to love it
– real life is what happens in the evenings, weekends, and after you retire
– it doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you make good money
– having a career and providing for your family matter more than anything else

Know the rules that have guided you thus far, find who and what they come from, and then break the rules that are not helpful.

You are more free than you think you are.

In the comments, what are the work rules that you’ve had to break? What are other rules that should be added to my list? What happens when you break the rules? Click here to comment.

Dan Cumberland is on a mission to push you into the places meaning, life, & work intersect. He is the author of The Meaning Manifesto. Read more about him here, and connect with him on facebook and twitter.

There Are 2 Comments On This Post.

  1. T

    Growing up in the church, there were a lot of rules that were created about what was “holy” enough, or sacrificial enough, or just Christian enough. The jobs and career path I sought out had to fit those criteria, and if I didn’t have to sacrifice enough when doing the work, then the job must clearly be selfish and have no real meaning.

    • Those are heavy rules with big implications! Glad you’re aware of them and where they’ve come from. Thanks for sharing T!

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