Going to get a bit heavy for a moment. Feel free to skip this post–I’m sure there will be more cats, fountain pens, biking, or something in a moment…
Anyone who follows me on twitter knows I haven’t been having the best of weeks at work.
Truthfully, anyone who has followed me on twitter for a long time knows that I’m often frustrated, enraged, depressed, or otherwise negative about work. There are some things that are generically frustrating (Microsoft Outlook, off-hour pages), that complaining is about things I suspect are universal, and really aren’t what has me chronically unhappy.
There are some things that are unique to the organization I am part of, however, that really get me down. These are the things that keep me up at night, stress-eat, and otherwise feel hopeless. It’s easy to say “I work to live, not live to work,” but, at the same time, the job is what enables life. I also realize that, through a very challenging economy over the last five years or so, I’ve been employed, and making a good living. I’m grateful that I am in such a position, and know that whatever complaints I may have are, in the great scheme of things, trivial.
Still, it’s easy to fall into periods when what’s happening at the office becomes all-consuming, and I fall into the trap of letting my job define who I am. For some people, this is self-actualizing. They can center their lives around their work, and see that as fulfilling, and making a difference in the world.
While there are certainly occupations where that is innately true, for the vast majority of jobs, that’s not going to be the case. You won’t be able to get the rewards–material or self-worth–equivalent to what you put into it. I think the best many of us can hope for is to have a job we find relatively pleasant most of the time, and look to other ways to make our mark on the world.
Azizah, my friend at Gourmet Pens, posted a comment on my last baking post. It came at just the right time, in that it reminded me that regardless of who I have to be from the time I step on the bus in the morning to the time I climb my hill* in the evening, it’s not who I am. Oddly enough, this blog seems to reflect who I am:
- A husband and father (even if posts about them are rare)
- A baker, whose daughter has rarely had store-bought bread at home
- An advocate for wildlife, especially cats
- A rescuer of house cats
- A caretaker of writing instruments, including the knowledge and skills of how to use them
- A cyclist
- A geek–someone who loves things so much, all the details are interesting, and wants to share this enthusiasm.
Looking at these posts, I see the person I am, or at least aspire to be, and the difference I can make in the world, however minute. Since my job is what enables me to take care of my family, take pictures of cats, or any of the other things I love to do in ife, then, really, it’s a bargain.
*the literal hill I live on; not a metaphorical one