Does this sound familiar?

When you grow up you have to get a proper job
Are you making any money (at that strange thing that you do) yet?
People actually pay you for that?
Why don’t you get a proper job and stop worrying about money all the time?
You can’t make a living doing that, it’s not a proper job
When are you going to get a proper job?

I can’t tell you how many times this comes up in sessions with clients, when we’re working to uncover the hidden beliefs that are holding them back and sabotaging their success.

A Proper Job - caged employeeAnd even though consciously we might recognise this as past-its-sell-by-date thinking, it can still have a powerful emotional stranglehold on how we show up in our businesses and lives right now.

Plus, if you’re constantly wondering where the next client is coming from and not generating enough money to meet your bills every month, you might just be thinking to yourself “Perhaps they’re right. Maybe I should get a proper job”.

Which drives me crazy!

What is a proper job?

A proper job used to mean paid employment, job security pretty much guaranteed for life if you wanted it, with sick pay and other benefits and a nice reliable sum landing in your bank account at the end of the month. Oh and usually some kind of pension at the end to top up your income in old age.

What could be better than that?

Quite a lot, actually.

For a start everyone knows that job security is a thing of the past – the average adult can expect to change jobs (and even careers) multiple times over their working life, and jobs for life are few and far between.

And if you ask people whether their proper job lights them up and has them leaping out of bed in the morning raring to go, whether it nourishes their soul, the majority will say no, they’re working to pay the bills.

So what is a proper job now, given that the world has changed so much since that old definition held true?

It’s time for an update

(Of both the job description and our limiting beliefs around it – like ‘it has to be hard to be worthwhile’, ‘making money is a struggle’, ‘you shouldn’t be well paid for doing something that’s fun and easy for you’ – etc – plenty more to add here)

When this came up for my client, Wellbeing Coach Sue Baker, we delved a little deeper into what ‘a proper job’ meant to her.

Then we talked about a world where everyone is living and working in their own zone of genius, making a difference with their unique gifts and talents, and getting well paid for it. What would that look like? And what would a definition of ‘a proper job’ sound like in that world?

Here’s just a part of what Sue came up with.

Sue’s Proper Job Description

A Proper Job …

Allows you to shine and spread your light to everyone you come into contact with
Allows you to fulfil the purpose of your time here on earth
Allows you to be your authentic self
Allows you to be well paid for doing the work you love
Gives you a sustainable living
Makes your heart sing …..

(Thanks so much for sharing, Sue)

Yes, I want to live in a world like that!

I want to live in a world where no-one is forced back into work they hate just to pay the bills, because their inner gremlins have been holding them back from stepping up and getting their work out into the world and their support to the people who need it.

Where everyone is working in their zone of genius, knowing they have something priceless and unique to contribute and getting rewarded through their gifts.

How about  you?

Take a close look at your own beliefs around what constitutes a ‘proper job’.

These are likely the beliefs you downloaded from your family of origin when you were very small, limiting beliefs that have been passed down through the generations, that are no longer relevant in the modern world, that may not make logical sense to you anymore, but that are often running in the background, hidden from conscious awareness and powerfully controlling how you show up in your life right now.

Shine the light of conscious awareness on those old beliefs.

Then rewrite your own empowering definition of what a proper job actually looks like in the life you want to create.

We love cross-fertilisation

Do share your new ‘proper’ job description with us in the Comments below and let’s inspire each other with our new versions.

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26 Comments on Is That a Proper Job?

  1. Thankyou for this total re-frame Linda, and so beautifully written! Luckily I’ve never been asked this directly, yet you’re right that there may still be a lingering ‘thoughtlet’ about whether what I do could be considered a ‘proper job’ (in the old-fashioned sense)
    But times have changed, and I would much rather be doing something that makes my heart sing and allows me to make a positive difference in the world by sharing my gifts and being my authentic self (love Sue’s description!)
    I’m sure this will strike a chord with many of us heart centred folk! Thankyou for voicing this alternative view and inspiring us to re-think our answers! 🙂
    Ann Brown recently posted…It’s Not About You: Transform The Fear of Asking for Testimonials.My Profile

  2. Linda, what a great post. I absolutely love your idea of rewriting what a proper job is. (I’ll be borrowing that!) I will never forget my Dad berating me when I gave in my notice from a job I hated to go freelance, with the words,”I wish you’d got yourself a proper job first”. I wish I’d realised then it was his stuff, not mine.
    Katie Duckworth recently posted…When your career needs some loveMy Profile

  3. Hi Linda, brilliant blog beautifully written. It was a real ‘light bulb’ moment for me when we explored what a proper constitutes. It just made so much sense to re-define what a proper job means, not just because of my own blocks but because we are living in a completely different time now, thankfully, and I feel if we truly embrace this new paradigm real magic will happen. Thank you Linda, I do so value the work we are doing!

  4. What an empowering post! Let’s rewrite what a “proper” job is!
    Ok so my definition of a proper job is one that is secure for life in the sense that we are truly doing what we love, so we will never fall ill with stress related illness because our job energises (not drains) us. It’s a job that is sustainable because we are following our hearts and feelings when making business decisions, rather than cutting off our hearts and feelings.

    And finally, a proper job is one in which we are making a proper contribution to humanity. Our gifts are all complementary to each other and to the sustainability of the planet.

    By getting these types of “proper” jobs, we will all be properly happy!

  5. Oh how I love this!! As an ex-NHS employee, I was subjected to this all the time when I first left. My former colleagues supported me, but at the same time, they clearly thought I was a little bonkers as I was asked this question all the time. To this day many of my friends don’t get that I don’t just ‘do’ treatments & teach yoga, I also run a wonderful solopreneur business that has enabled me to follow my heart, develop and grow exponentially, live congruently and serve others in a way that helps them do the same. I may not be rich in money terms (yet!), but my life is so full and rich and juicy in so many more ways and if I had my way, all those grey ghosts I see on the tube going into the city would wake up and change their lives too, so that they find a ‘job’ that makes their lives light up too!
    Helen Rebello recently posted…How to Bend Time Like a Ninja and Escape the Time Monsters Part 1My Profile

    • Oh yes, Helen, most definitely a Proper Job you have, lovely lady! Aren’t you just a little bit bonkers too though? (just kidding!).

      I remember excitedly telling a friend about my fledgling EFT practice many years ago, and I saw her take a step backwards as she said ‘And do people PAY you for that?’.

      Since then I’ve come to accept that some people will ‘get’ what we do, and others won’t – and what if we could be ok with that? They’re not the people we’re here to serve.

      So glad you didn’t let the nay-sayers hold you back!
      Linda Anderson recently posted…Survivor’s guilt My Profile

  6. Linda I love this! What a great way to rethink conventional wisdom and reframe our proper job. My proper job would definitely be one that allows me to do the hours that suit me, is aligned with my values and beliefs (heart centred), changes people’s lives for the better through what I do and provides a steady flow of abundance in all forms (time, joy, money, creativity). Thanks for writing such a though provoking post Linda!
    Keri Dawn recently posted… or Profile

  7. What a wonderful post Linda…and thank you Sue for your “proper job description”!

    Have you seen the film by Nic Askew, Concerning Choice (I won’t post a link as it’s not currently screening on his site). It is literally 2-3 minutes of office workers walking across London Bridge…did any of them consciously choose the life they are living is the question?

    So glad I’ve broken away from this and am creating a life of work that I love.
    Kate Bacon recently posted…Where do you find lovely images for your website (that don’t cost a lot of money?)My Profile

  8. Oh! how this rings true for me – my elderly neighbour often tries to take a pin to my courage and confidence (just because he doesn’t understand what I do, not that he’s horrid!) and the look on his face when I mention bookings or new clients is most eloquent…
    Sue was telling me about her Proper Job Blueprint during our swap session earlier this week – I’ll be writing mine later!
    Lizzie Carver recently posted…Was your problem once a solution?My Profile

  9. So, so true Linda! I am hearing this a lot from my family and it took me a long time to change my own thoughts about what proper job is, because I realised it was their stuff not mine. Saving this blog asto share if I ever get caught again in this, what is a proper job nowadays, discussions.

  10. Beautiful post Linda,
    My friends largely understand and are supportive, my struggle was that my Dad didn’t understand what I was dong and why (and thank you so much for helping me with this). Partly it was his generation and also the Yorkshire ‘pull yourself together and get on with it’ gene. This saddened me and also gave me a push to prove him wrong. Sadly he didn’t get to hear the interviews I did on Radio 4, he would have understood then.
    I agree with Sue’s description, for me a ‘proper’ job is one that enables me to be authentic, to make a positive difference to others, working to my values and makes my heart sing. It also enables me to continue to grow and develop, and a side benefit is that I’ve met so many wonderful women like yourself and some others who have left comments.
    Lesley Pyne recently posted…What story are you telling?My Profile

  11. Somehow this post came up for me recently in an online search, how funny! I guess I need to read this one today. 🙂 Great post, Linda. I’ve also dealt with this one off and on, especially since I used to be so focused (obsessed??) with my old ‘proper’ job. Thanks for sharing this. <3
    Lee recently posted…Serendipity: Learning to Heal Myself, Part 5My Profile

  12. I’ve totally been there, Linda!

    It really can be paralysing to know you’re a leader, one of the pioneers in the new paradigm of living and working, have gifts that are incredibly beneficial for the world, but still buy in to the outdated family story of what constitutes a ‘proper job’.

    My family is very conservative and my brother followed in my parents’ footsteps – so they really can’t understand my “crazy” choices! But I’d been really caught up in their mindset for such a long time.

    Fortunately now it’s losing its grip, but it’s so important to do the inner work to set yourself free from this.

    Great post, Linda x

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