15 Things I believe about work that you might not

What drives Rethink Work? Why does the world need this site? Why is it different to any other?

To  answer those questions, I created a list of 15 things I believe about jobs, work and making a living.

It’s probably not comprehensive, but it mostly covers it.

Do you believe the same things?

1 — Life is too short to be miserable in your job

It’s a total cliche but that’s because it’s true. And if you’re miserable in your job, you’ll be less happy in all aspects of your life.

2 — The alternative to being miserable in your job isn’t just to quit

Quitting could be a good option, but it’s never the only one, and it’s rarely the first one your should try. If you’re prepared to quit, you have the ultimate leverage to change your current situation. Worth a try first don’t you think?

3— You must be crystal clear about what success is for you

Most people who end up in a miserable job got there because they were chasing someone else’s definition of success. Driven people achieve stuff. Few spend enough time being clear about what their version of success is. They achieve what others think success is, not what makes them happy. That sucks.

4 — Money should not be the thing tying you to your job

Yes, you need money to live. But you probably need less of it than you use now. You can make some changes (either short term or permanent) to get by with less that you think. There are always other ways than your current job to make enough money to live.

5 — A job isn’t a battle between employer and employee

Employees who are happier do more, better work. It’s in your employers best interest for you to be happy too. Remember this!

6 — Small changes to your job can make a big difference to your happiness

And making changes to your job is rarely as hard as you think it might be. If you don’t ask, you don’t get, and if you do ask, you often do get.

7 — Employees are more valuable to their employers than they think

Replacing you would be hard, expensive and time consuming. This works is in your favour if you want to ask for a change. Remember, happier employees are more productive, a small change could make you happier and replacing you would be painful. That’s enough leverage to ask for what you want.

8 — You don’t have to quit to start something new

You can (and should) make steps towards your new goal before you quit your existing job. Your salary is great for giving you the room you need to get started. And when you have a new plan to focus on, your job often becomes more bearable. Light at the end of the tunnel and all that.

9 — Time is not the thing holding you back

We all feel like there isn’t enough time. There’s always time for something new if you prioritise it. And you can achieve a lot with a little time if you focus, and do the things that matter.

10— If you do quit, there’s always a way to use your existing experience

You don’t have to start from nothing — your skills, experience, network and know how all mean that you can create a job or a company that pays the bills. Ignore the “10 step systems to build a business”, and figure out your own way.

11—Not having a good idea is a terrible excuse to stay miserable

Have lots of ideas, even if they’re bad. Copy other peoples ideas. Try some of the “bad” ideas. You’ll find better ones along the way.

12 — If you’re waiting for something to happen, you’re making excuses

Seriously — there is no reason to wait, you can start small, but if you start now, you win.

13 — You can’t figure out your purpose in life

Not by thinking things through. No amount of coaching, blog reading, self development or personality testing can give you your purpose. You can discover it by trying things. Doing always beats thinking about doing.

14 — Jobs as we know them won’t always exist

Who knows when it’s going to happen, but it will. Freelancing, remote working, flexible hours and all kinds of things that are not mainstream today will become the norm. You can choose to wait for that, or get ahead of the curve.

15 — There is so much opportunity, there is no excuse to be miserable

There really is no excuse for sitting bemoaning your lot. This is the time in our history when there is the most opportunity for the most people. Everything you need to make a change is there. Don’t stand for you own excuses.

So, do you think the same way as me, or completely disagree? Let me know in the comments…


  1. Gretchen says

    What you say in #6 is so valuable: “If you don’t ask, you don’t get, and if you do ask, you often do get.”

    I know this to be true and I’ve done it successfully many times at work in the past. Right now, I find myself at a moment where I need to ask for more, yet I’m procrastinating doing it. It’s an uncomfortable conversation but so is every minute of every day when you feel like your contribution is out of balance with what you’re getting in return. Thank you for the reminder and the nudge!

    • Rob Young says

      Thanks Gretchen. You’re right, it can be difficult – asking is hard and uncomfortable – but only for a few moments. The discomfort of not asking usually lasts a lot longer…

    • Rob Young says

      Thanks Danilo,

      Definitely makes you think – money shouldn’t be everything – ever!

  2. Thaddaeus says

    Great stuff Rob! Every single one of your points resonated with me. In fact I have put many of them into practical use. Two years ago I quit what many would call a very good job, that I was pretty miserable doing. I took some time off and started three businesses, all of which promptly failed. I wrote a book that I feel really good about, but it sold very few copies. Finally without really trying I wound up in a better job, with a better company, at a much higher level of responsibility, and making more money. Now I know that I can do the same thing again anytime I might need to, and I am very happy with my new company. The kicker is that after I started in my new role one of the people who interviewed me said a deciding factor for hiring me was my entrepreneurial spirit. Keep the good work!

    • Rob Young says

      Love your story Thad! It’s knowing that you can do it that makes all the difference right? Very inspiring.

  3. Zoe says

    Very thought provoking stuff Rob. Have read through a few times and agree with all the statements. It’s setting my plan of action in motion. Another point I always think is worth a thought is at work you are always replaceable but to your loved ones you are not. I think there are a hell of a lot of people out there in very well paid jobs but if you work 24/7 when can you benefit from it.

    • Rob Young says

      Thanks Zoe, excellent point – you’re the only one who can be you for your loved ones. Excellent!

  4. says

    Hey Rob :) Great post!
    #13 really stood out for me. What I benefitted most from quitting the 9 to 5 was having the time and space to try different things, in a non-judgemental environment. Looking back now, I’m so very glad I took the leap.

    I spent many years wishing and dreaming of a different life; one where I would be free to explore my creativity in a more meaningful way. And I’m glad I finally decided to stop dreaming and actually start doing something about it.

    • Rob Young says

      Yes Lindy! I think the person that finds their purpose immediately is rare – experience over theory every time.

  5. says

    ‘If you’re waiting for something to happen, you’re making excuses.’

    YES. This is the #1 thing that annoys me about some of my friends/students.

    • Rob Young says

      exactly. It’s convenient, but there’s almost never a good reason to wait. Thanks for sharing.