Thursday, July 31, 2014

Why do you work?

"Make your career something you love and you'll never work a day in your life!"


Let's get real for a minute here - nobody WANTS to work and if you turn something you love into a career, you WILL eventually see it become something you USED to love.

If you ask someone, "Why do you work", nearly every person will tell you the same thing - "I need to make money".  However, money isn't the REAL reason that most of us suffer through the office drama and 9-5 grind.  In reality, there are other reasons - far more important reasons - and it's important to take the time to sort those reasons out.

Money gives us a certain latitude.  With money, you can pay for shelter, food, water, and the luxuries of modern life.  However, most of us do not NEED money to get these things; there are forests and charities that can supply the basic necessities.  You say, "yes, but I want to live in the city and I don't want to use welfare".  Ok, but is that REALLY all you want?

Many will make the distinction between "jobs" and "careers".  The former is something we do to cover expenses whereas the latter is something we devote far, far more time and effort to, even to the point of essentially giving our lives to it.  In the end, though this distinction doesn't really matter; you're still almost certainly not doing it for the money.

Both job and career oriented workers seek money for similar purposes.  The most basic is to cover day-to-day needs - food, shelter, water, clothing, and so forth.  There are some people who really do just work to get through the day-to-day expenses of living.  Most of us, though, want more than that and this is where the philosophy of why we work comes into play.

A single mother may hate that she needs to work two jobs to make ends meet, but she isn't doing it just to make money.  She is working those two jobs to take care of her children; to give them a decent life, keep them fed and clothed, and put them through school.  A father with a career in business puts in the long hours so he can increase his earnings potential and buy that house in the suburbs, ensure his wife can stay home and raise the kids, and put his little girl through years of dance lessons.

In both cases, the money is what makes these things possible but it's just a small piece of the reason we do the things we do and it is so important in this age of unhappiness to remember these reasons!

Some of the happiest, healthiest people I've ever met had neither a job nor a career.  They lived off the land, they lived on the beach, they lived on the kindness of others.  The hardest working people I know tend to be far more unhappy.  They're so caught up in the rat race that they've lost sight of why they put in those long hours, give up weekends, and miss family events.

"I work so my faceless corporation can fill the shareholders' pockets," said no one...ever....

There's nothing wrong with grousing a bit about the workplace; there's a reason we call it work instead of play.  The key thing, though, is to remind yourself every day - I'm doing this so my little girl can someday be a prima ballerina; I'm doing this so my son can go to college; I'm doing this so my sick parent can keep the family home.  Educators do so for the sake of the children they teach; firefighters work to save lives; researchers seek answers to questions so they can better the lives of everyone.

We all have reasons to work that go beyond the money and this is the key to keeping your eye on the ball.  It adds some measure of sense to getting up each day and making that drive to the office.  It gives purpose and meaning to our labors.

So...why do you work?  Comment on the blog or Google+ if you like...!