“Become Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable.”

I interviewed recently for a position with a company that really seems to embody the spirit of good business in today’s world:  They invest in their employees heavily, look out for each other, and promote a very healthy-yet-very -professional work environment.

I was immediately attracted to this job because of one single statement, made to me by the company’s owner.  During the interview, he said something along the lines of, “We work a lot of different aircraft here–pretty much every corporate aviation airframe they make.  You will have to accept that it will take a very long time before you can feel like an “expert,” with so many different planes, and you will have to become comfortable with being uncomfortable.”

My first thought was honestly to prick my ears up and prepare for a challenge.  Not an attack, but a challenge. In truth, I’ve never been someone who has the patience to become an absolute expert at just one single thing–I like variety, I like breaking up the monotony.  I’m the guy who has to rearrange my living room furniture once or twice a year, just so I can have a fresh space to walk into every once in a while.

In the past, I have been guilty of loving my work, and hating my job.  The reason was simple:  While I became a relative expert on the airplanes, the work was always the same, day-in, day-out.  The same set of inspection requirements, over and over again.  I even did my best to advance within the company as well, just to attempt new things.  (I kept my eyes peeled for something new, but never really got the opportunity.)

I guess it’s telling of my personality that I reacted this way; it really taught me that I don’t like “comfortable” at work because it usually makes me “bored,” which then leads to adjectives like, “restless” or “unhappy.”

I suppose that’s how it is in life as well.  I mean, think of it:  How many of you have ever met someone who has done the same job for thirty years and hates it?  I have asked a couple of them as they complained one day why they didn’t do something else at some point, and they give me the grandparents-generation mantra of, “Well, then the kids came, and so did the mortgage, and you just did what you had to do.”  This was typically followed by a defensive “Bills don’t pay themselves, you know” variant, and I usually would say nothing more.  I just…disagree, is all.  Sure, money doesn’t grow on trees, but over time and with proper planning, nearly any goal can be accomplished.  Thirty years later these men and women have raised kids and paid off their homes and are still at the same job hating it.  Why?  I think it’s because they never got comfortable with being uncomfortable.

I am hopeful for this job because it seems like my cup of tea.  How do you all feel about this subject?  Do you feel it is important to develop a sense of flexibility to adapt to the world?  Or do you feel that becoming comfortable with your position makes you more of an authority and gives you credibility among your peers?

Further, can tolerating being consistently uncomfortable be taught or learned, or do you think it is more of an innate instinct of personality trait?  I love your comments, and don’t forget, if you like content, don’t forget to click the subscribe button on the right!

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