|Play a guitar and harmonica at the same time and people are impressed, but add cymbals and|
a trumpet and you're a punchline.
While employed as a government civilian, I was having a discussion with a supervisor when I made the statement that I always do my best at my job, giving it everything I have every day. His response was that everyone does that so it is nothing special.
I disagreed. If you have ever gotten bad service, had a bad meal, sat in line waiting on someone muddling through the line, or had to return or throw away a defective product – you would also disagree. It would be easy to go off on a rant about bad parenting or the loss of work ethic amongst the populace, but I think the root is much easier to see – bad matches between people and their job – indeed they put time in at a job instead of performing work.
We have all heard it… work is effort you put towards something you want to accomplish; a job is what you do for money. Too often they are not the same thing. I have a vastly varied work history that shows they are not the same thing. I have had jobs that brought me great contentment and some that barely lasted a full day - I was not then, nor now, nor will I ever be a vacuum cleaner salesman. What all my jobs taught me was to always look for something new and different that might be a better fit and bring not only greater financial rewards but greater spiritual ones.
After many years of promising myself I would create such a list, I finally did it – I compiled a list of all the jobs I have done over the course of my life. This does not include things I did as a volunteer or as a parent – just the things I actually made money doing, and more or less in chronological order:
Mowed Lawns, Newspaper Sales, Scout Camp Staff (Crafts & Indian Lore), Babysitting, Veterinary Assistant, Baskin-Robbin's Soda Jerk, Wendy's Burger Flipper, Night Club Janitor, Bus Boy (Officer's Club), Busch Gardens Ride Operator, Disc Jockey (Country, Rock, Oldies, & Soul), Blood Donor, Port Vehicle Delivery, Life Guard, Arcade Attendant, Research Assistant (Work Study), College Newspaper Opinion Columnist, Loan Agent, Repo-Man, Customer Service (Men's Clothing), Tour Guide Andersonville National Cemetery, County Training Center Trainer, Vacuum Cleaner Sales (1 day), Shipping Line Worker (Levi’s -- 1 week), Liquor Store Clerk, Air Passenger Service, Guitarist (Train station busker & salaried), Air Cargo, Maître D', Security Guard (unarmed), Photographer (Wedding, Sports, Art), College Instructor (Photography & Computer Science), Software developer, Software Company President and CEO, Bartender, Air Cargo Service, Strategic War Planner, Board of Directors Association of Shareware Professionals, Painter, Master of Ceremonies, Logistician, Air Force Reserve, Technologist, Chief Cyber Security Officer, IT Project Manager, Chief Information Officer, Director of IT Operations Europe, Middle East & Africa, IT Manager Middle East, Network Engineer/Architect, and Author.
In very rare instances, I have found what I call the euphoria of work. That is work that you can’t wait to start, that in which you find intense happiness within, and that work you don’t want to stop doing at the end of the day. I once heard that Henry Ford once said he didn’t spend the week waiting on the weekend, he spent the weekend waiting on Monday. He had found his euphoria and I think I have found mine too.
As I continue wading into my next life choice as a full-time author; I am finding intense satisfaction and pleasure in doing it. My mind is constantly working on telling my tale, even when I am out of my writer’s garret and away from my keyboard – not due to worry but because I find fulfillment in the work. I hear the voices of my characters and I am always looking for ways to improve the descriptions and plot lines. I am eager to get to work and happy with the progress and end result. It has been a long time since I have felt such a frustration free and creative work environment. Granted, I really like my boss, but this is something deeper and more eclectic -- a vibe that flows.
One of the biggest life lessons I can pass on is to search until you find work beyond the job. Financial realities may not always make it possible for them to be one and the same, but there is always time for work in life – use it. You will reap the reward of soul drenching serenity as you put your efforts towards your discovered work.
I will admit that in the back of my mind I hear a voice telling me that I will face critics and possible failure when my effort is done – but because this is work and not a job I know it will not change the way I feel about what I am doing – after all I have been writing a blog for over 7 years and I am still not a millionaire nor have I won a Pulitzer prize (yet) – but I have gotten the occasional kind word and great heartfelt joy from the work.