Force Yourself To Think Ahead By Getting ‘Uncomfortable’ With Your Job

Force Yourself To Think Ahead By Getting ‘Uncomfortable’ With Your Job

Tim Ferriss, author of The Four-Hour Workweek, provides an interesting thinking exercise in an interview with the 37 Signals blog. In short: What if you hated the work you have right now? What would that compel you to do?

Ferriss suggests that it’s OK to love your work, or really loathe what it’s doing to you. But if you’re “comfortable” in your day-to-day gig, you might never do actual thinking ahead:

So how do you break out of a comfort rut? Ferriss says, “It’s very valuable to amplify the pain. If your job is mediocre, sit down and do an exercise on paper to really run through what your life is going to look like in two, three, five years if you continue to do what you’re doing. What options are you going to have? If you don’t have kids now, but you’re going to have kids in five years, do you want to be in the same job at that point? What are your options going to be then? What is your risk tolerance going to be then?

The whole interview is worth a read, and it clarifies a point about Ferriss’ and other seemingly time-freeing productivity methods: the end goal is not idleness.

Tim Ferriss on tolerable mediocrity, false idols, diversifying your identity, and the advice he gives startups [37signals/Signal v. Noise]


  • I was at my past job for four years.
    The position was stagnant and not challenging to me at all. Each day was the same thing. I was blasting through my work with little or no challenge.

    I could have stayed there and continued on as I was but, being 35, I wasnt happy with that option.
    Around August 2010 I thought to myself “Where am I going to be in a years time? What am I going to be doing? Sitting in this office doing the same thing?”

    It dawned on me I had to get out. So I resigned, right there and then without a thought of what I was going to do.

    I have a wife, two kids, mortgage, etc. . . have to provide for them.

    Three days later I was, basically, headhunted by another company who knew of me, where I worked, the quality of what I was producing, etc.
    Im now heading the art department where I am.

    Was the best decision I made.

    • Nice story, I hope you’re happy in what you’re doing now. Unfortunately it doesn’t always work out that nicely.

      I opted for a voluntary redundancy to leave a stagnant role back in April last year. Following interstate move, I was still looking for work until November, and am still yet to secure a full time role.

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