(You can click on the picture and relive the scene from the movie “Net Work”)
I have been very lucky most of my working life. There have been parts of various jobs that I hated, but on the balance sheet, I have loved going to work more mornings than I have left the house feet dragging, and cursing under my breath.
I was also lucky that my family viewed work not as the route to happiness or the good life, but a necessity. As my father taught us,
“A job is a job. You get paid to do it. Do the best you can at any job so you can be proud of doing your best. That also might get you a better job.”
Then came the sixties and the “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” gurus. Coupled with that cultural shift came the “Go to college, get the good life” and “Just do it” and Oprah’s “If I can anyone can” philosophies. Many started “Dreaming the Impossible Dream” and pursuing it.
Well, as the article seems to say, the pendulum is swinging back and lots of people (80% is the article’s figure) hate their jobs. I was chatting with a facebook friend last night who did all the hard work needed to get her master’s degree and now can’t get a job to match. Very common. Sigh. This one is for you Elizabeth.
STAYING STRONG TIP: First, I think my father’s message was a wise one. A job is a need; a job you love a want. Needs have to come first. Then you need to take pride in doing what you need to do well. That takes grace and strength, but you are not your job, you are a whole person. Finally, you need to balance your life by making time to pursue the things you love. Here is the article that sparked this post. I have a negative opinion, but maybe you want to read the article first.
Here is a quote. “This strong human bias toward accumulating small wins is what we call progress, but paradoxically, it seems to be inhibiting many individuals from reaching their true potential.”
The quote leads into what I don’t like about the article. The author seems to be challenging you to just quit your job and go for it. That might be an option if you have saved enough to live on for several years or have wealthy parents willing to bank roll you. Most of you don’t. So the more realistic option is to keep plugging away at your job, doing your best, taking pride in what you can, and looking for the next best possibility.
My second staying strong tip involves realistic expectations. I can’t hear music very well now, so I don’t watch American Idol. But when I could hear and watched it, the auditions always had one or two contestants that brought tears to my eyes. Surrounded by family and well wishers these contestants should not have sung in the shower, let alone on national television. The almost winners were hard enough to take, but those who falsely raised to believe they had talent and so to dream the impossible dream broke my heart and fueled my anger at the happiness gurus.
Now as always, it is complicated. As some of you know, I have a learning disability called dysgraphia–I reverse letters, can’t hold onto punctuation rules. I was the despair of all my English teachers. Some told me to not think of going to college. But others saw talents that made up for my gaffes. Their encouragement and my love of writing kept me going. For years I wrote for me. Then computers and spell checkers were born and my writing became more acceptable and now I have published two books, have two blogs people read, and am living my dreams. It has, however, taken me most of my adult life to feel I am a writer. And I am grateful my job–social worker–turned out to be one I loved for the most part.
So the tip, find honest and balanced critics; pursue your dreams, but for the love of the pursuit, not the hope of rewards in the end.
Practice Kindness. Share this and help me grow my blog. Kindness always circles back to the giver.