HammerWhether you’re applying for your first ever weekend job or wondering if the career you’ve been cultivating for the past decade is what you really want to do, it can be difficult to commit to any kind of work.

You want the money, but you want to make sure you’re using your time wisely. You don’t want to get paid just to sit around doing nothing. As nice as that might seem, it’s actually really unfulfilling and depressing. And deep down, you know that. You don’t want to work furthering a cause you don’t personally support. You don’t want to do something mind-numbingly boring. You want work that is more than mere drudgery.

Unless it’s only on Saturdays. You could probably deal with that.

But you’d prefer to be doing something meaningful, something useful.

This world isn’t built to give everyone their dream job. That’s something that we all have to learn to accept. Only a few lucky people get to be astronauts and rock stars and Pokémon trainers for a living.

And don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t have the same slim chance as everyone else who will put the effort in.

But at the same time don’t forget just how slim that chance is.

Be prepared for the possibility that not everything is going to go right. Not unless you’ve got very powerful friends to help you.

Have a back-up plan. Accept that not every dream that every person has comes true. That, actually, most of them don’t. Most of yours won’t.

But that doesn’t mean you have to give up on being happy, on being useful, on doing something that you enjoy and that other people appreciate.

Just because you can’t live life doing the most perfect thing you can ever imagine, it doesn’t mean that the work you do can’t be equally as fulfilling as anything you might have done instead.

Look for something that you enjoy seeing other people do, something that reminds you that there are people who do good in the world.

You could be a cashier or a bartender or a call centre operator – and those are all jobs that someone needs to do to make things easier for society. Or you could do something you actively enjoy, something that benefits you as much as the customers you serve.

Work with the community, or a charity, or a local government. Work with a company who uses its profits wisely, to do something other than to make more profits. Use whatever position you acquire to do something positive.

You don’t have to go down in history for it. You don’t have to get famous. You don’t have to be remembered forever. You don’t even have to be in a local newspaper once. But if you can make a little positive difference to someone somewhere, your job is worthwhile.

Not everyone is blessed with the luxury of doing work for any other reason than the promise of a wage. If you have the freedom to choose your own career, without your primary concern being to get food on the table and a roof over your head, don’t let this be a rushed decision.

Do something that is legitimately positive. Find a way to make your daily bread someone else’s silver lining.

It’s not as hard as you might think.

Kirstie Summers,

Daily Zen.