The Hidden Cost of Doing the Wrong Work

My husband lost his spark.

It was well over a year ago, when we were living in Los Angeles. He had been a working voice actor for several years, and was paying the bills with his work. He was a respected leader in the VO community. He was excellent at what he did. He had it all.

Except that he didn't. What he had, but lost, was his sense of purpose. He felt disconnected from the work. And as a result, he atrophied.

He sat in front of the computer more, played more video games, did less around the house, and was less engaged with me.

He wasn't happy with what he was doing, or how he was behaving, but didn't know what changes to make.

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A few years earlier, the roles had been reversed.

His career was booming and he was on top of the world. My acting career was only crawling forward, and I got jealous of his success. Everything just seemed to come so easily for him. It's not that I wanted him to be less successful (well, maybe), but I did want him to have to struggle like the rest of us. It didn't seem fair.

I couldn't genuinely celebrate with him when he got a new project. I felt like a failure and couldn't stop comparing my career to his. I closed off and closed up, because it was either that or say something hurtful that he didn't deserve.

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The moral of our stories: let's not pretend like you're the only person who's affected by your deadbeat career.

When your work drains you, bores you, and makes you feel empty, it changes how you behave, and it harms your relationships.

  • How much more could you show up for the people in your life is you were engaged with your work?
  • How much more could you appreciate the people who love you if you loved how you spend your days?
  • What would it be like for your friends and family if you came home from work energized and proud?

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Luckily, our story has a happy ending. We're now both doing work that feels like home. And the result? We laugh more, we talk more, we play more, and we also work more. We like what we do and sometimes have to pull ourselves away from our work. But...

meaningful work = meaningful you

Your turn. In the comments, let me know…

Have your relationships ever suffered as a result of doing the wrong work?