On this Labor Day, I thought I'd actually do a little "work".
I use the quotes because to me, writing is not work. It's like breathing. I've always done it. I've always used it as a form of expression. Whether it's any good or not is subjective but I enjoy it and isn't the goal to "do what you love, and you'll never work a day in your life"?
Well, for some of us that's not a reality. Including me. I can't just sit home and think up stories and blogs all day, I have to go out and make a living to support the lifestyle my hubby and I are accustomed to. Sure, we could do without the big screen television and pricey cable package, considering we barely watch more than two or three shows a week. We could do without the big house with the bedrooms that collect dust since it's just the two of us and the dogs. We don't necessarily need to go on vacation anywhere extravagant but we do and we will.
So we work.
The hubby is doing what he loves--freelance animation--but don't think for one minute it doesn't have its share of drama. Despite working at home, there are long hours. There are days when he doesn't leave the house, let alone his basement office. He has demanding clients who change their minds on work he's done per their initial needs and then he has to redo it which can be frustrating. Sure, he is getting paid for his time but sometimes the client doesn't have the budget to include the time he takes to make the end product blow their minds. And he's always willing to go the extra mile, even if it means he's not getting paid for that mile, because he knows the end product is what will get him the next project.
I, however, do what I am good at--administration--where my OCD gets a workout every day managing the busiest calendar I've ever seen, which is akin to putting together a two thousand piece puzzle where the pieces constantly change as you try to fit them together. And, it's not just a matter of making sure meetings are scheduled, it's making sure the "right" meetings are scheduled and that the boss gets lunch, has bathroom breaks, stays hydrated...yes, I make sure my boss remembers to drink water. I don't have to do some of these things but it makes him happy and that makes me happy. I've always been a people pleaser, a fixer, a caretaker. Whether it's making their life easier by helping them fix a problem, or making them laugh when I can't help, the end result is they realize they need me. And when they won't let me help them? I do it anyway. Because I like being the hero.
But I'm not really doing what I love. What I love is happening right now while I type. Putting my thoughts on "paper" and having someone else read it. Maybe it speaks to you, maybe it doesn't.
The reason I started writing this, spawned from a segment on the CBS Sunday Morning show I watch weekly. I love that damn show, it's probably genetic since my mom used to watch it, and my dad still does. The segment that inspired me today was called "Good Job!" and told the story of Market Basket, a New England supermarket chain whose workers went on strike when the company president was dismissed by the company's board so more money would go to the shareholders and less to the employees. Over 2,000 employees walked out as a show of outrage. Now that's loyalty. The segment also highlighted Whole Foods, a company that has been on the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work for list since the list's inception. The employees at Whole Foods vote on team member candidates, putting the power in their hands to choose who they work alongside. I looked at the list of 100 companies to work for and wondered...what's so great about these places? And how hard must they be to get into if they are on this list? And, are any of them going to provide me with the opportunity to do what I love? And, are the employees of these companies making bank?
So, what's the goal then if you can't do what you love?
I think it's finding the right job if you can but making the best of what job you have and being the best at what you do, even if it's not for a Fortune's 100, even if you don't get the Ferrari, even if sometimes you work for free. More importantly, balancing your life with what and who you love. I truly think it's just that simple.