How to transition from a standard 40-hour work week to living your dharma
- The Facts:
Dharma, the principle of cosmic order, is essentially your life’s purpose. You can still follow your heart in the modern day world and use intention to create your reality.
- Reflect On:
How much time do you spend doing what you love?
I studied business and economics in university, so naturally many of my friends from school are working in the financial sector. Although many of them love their jobs, some of them don’t and are seriously struggling with their career paths. Listening to loved ones complain about their jobs isn’t fun, particularly because we are compassionate beings that don’t want to see others hurting. And, when it all comes down to it, a source of pain for many people is their job(s).
Eighty percent of people are dissatisfied with their jobs today! This is an extremely high number, especially when you consider the fact that the average person spends approximately 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime. If we’re going to spend so much of our precious time at work, shouldn’t it be doing something that we love?
Breaking Free From the Standard 40-Hour Work Week
When I refer to the “standard 40-hour work week,” I’m not really addressing the amount of time you work per week, but rather what goes on within that timeframe. Current trends amongst these types of jobs include being overworked, told what to wear/eat/act, told when to work, not questioning authority, lots of hierarchy, suppressing creativity and individuality, feeling stressed/tired/genuinely unhappy, and ultimately feeling a lack of passion or as though you’re not pursuing your dream or “life’s purpose.” If you’re feeling this way about your current job position, then perhaps it’s time for you to abandon the 40-hour work week!
Part of the difficulty in breaking free from this system is the uncertainty of not knowing what you want to do and the continual societal pressure to pursue this type of career. I used to be an accountant and I remember thinking to myself how strange it was to be staring at a computer screen all day and crunching numbers into spreadsheets. It wasn’t that I disliked the work, and I was definitely treated well by my colleagues, but I just didn’t feel passionate about what I was doing. The more I reflected on this, the more it scared me, because if I was having these thoughts at the ripe age of 18, how was I going to feel after doing this type of work for a lifetime?
So, if you’ve made the decision to break free from this system, you now need to pinpoint exactly where you’re going to go next. No, you don’t have to travel or spend a ton of money soul searching, nor do you need to plan out your entire future and every move you need to make in order to pave that exact path for yourself. However, you do need to engage in some introspection and identify what you believe your Dharma could be.
Figuring Out Your Dharma
Dharma, the principal of cosmic order, is essentially your life’s purpose. Regardless of your spiritual beliefs, what do you believe your purpose on Earth could be? You don’t need to go see a career counsellor or spend money on career tests, because ultimately the only person who can correctly identify your Dharma is you. Your Dharma doesn’t necessarily mean your dream job; it translates to the life path you’re meant to be on and the role on this planet your soul will play.
Here’s a series of questions I asked myself when searching for my Dharma:
- What activities make me happy?
- If I could change anything about the world, what would it be?
- How can I make these changes become a reality to create a better world?
- What am I super passionate about?
- What type of environment do I thrive best in?
Keep in mind that these questions exist simply to help the rational mind identify your Dharma. Ultimately, your soul knows exactly what your Dharma is, so meditation helps immensely in this process. You also need to work on developing greater self awareness, as you need to truly understand yourself in order to figure out what your purpose on Earth could be.
Once you feel like you know your Dharma, or if you already think you do, remember that that doesn’t mean you need to remain in the same career forever. You can switch up your roles and try doing different jobs that make you happy, because as you and your soul grow and evolve, the universe’s vision for you will, too.
Incorporating Dharma Into Your Current Job
For some people, the 40-hour work week is their ideal situation, and perhaps it even allows them to be in alignment with their Dharma as well. Though I didn’t love auditing, there could be people out there who are extremely happy doing those tasks. Change starts from within, which is how change spreads throughout your environment. If people see that you’re becoming happier as a result of making changes in your life, then they may follow suit too!
No matter what you’re doing, you can always bring intention and mindfulness into the situation. By setting an intention, you are realigning yourself with why you’re doing this work and giving the universe that exact message. Plus, practicing mindfulness can not only increase your happiness and improve your overall experience at your job, but it will positively affect your colleagues as well.
However, others may like the idea of quitting their 40-hour work week jobs, but are simply too nervous or worried about financial constraints. They may recognize that perhaps they’re not fulfilling their Dharma in this setting, but still feel that they’re trapped. For those of you who do feel this way, know that everything you do always serves a purpose. You are a vital part of this Earth, and even if you feel like your job is pointless or mindless, there is always something to learn from every experience.
So, why not at least try to bring your Dharma into the workplace? Ultimately, living your Dharma means that you’re living in alignment with your Higher Self, and that you’re following your soul’s purpose. So, how can you improve your current reality in your workplace by incorporating your Dharma and mindfulness?
Ask yourself: Why do I want to leave my place of work? Why do I hate my boss? Why do I feel like this job position isn’t good for my soul? As I said previously, change starts from within. You can always make a difference, regardless of what job you’re working. Change your perspective, change your life! So, how can you shift your perspective of your job and find more compassion for your colleagues in order to improve your career?
Though I felt it necessary to radically change my career (multiple times) in order to find my life’s purpose, you may not need to! Connect with your soul and turn inwards in order to figure out what you love to do. Once you’re working in a field you’re truly passionate about, the time you put in won’t be quite as relevant, as you will no longer be clocking in and out of your shifts, but rather doing something that you actually love.
For example, I work every day, typically working full-time hours for six days a week. Many of my friends who pursued careers in the “40-hour work week” segment cannot understand why I love working so much, as they desire their weekends to be free in order to escape from their jobs. However, I absolutely love the work that I do, so I choose to work the amount that I do! If you can find yourself a job where you can confidently say that too, then you’re likely following your Dharma!