Do work you love and you’ll never work another day in your life.
I don’t remember where I heard it but stuck in my head is a factoid that among the people with the most job satisfaction are those who dispose of road kill. I guess I can see it: Lots of time outside, lots of instant gratification as the roadway is made safer and more attractive with each carcass removed.
If that’s true, do you think these folks feel like they never work a day?
Do you think that every Sunday evening, they go to bed extra early because sleep is the quickest way to pass the time until they get to launch into another workweek?
Me? I’ve got job satisfaction out the wazoo. I live in a sort of perpetual state of amazement that I get to make my living doing work that I find enlivening and exciting and deeply fulfilling. Seriously, friends, I can’t imagine work I would love more than coaching.
And I do work. I work rigorously and consistently, usually at least some part of six days a week, give or take. Some days, I find it overwhelming. Once in a blue moon, I wonder if it wouldn’t feel kind of nifty to work for someone else, doing stuff I find less fulfilling but getting, in return, a predictable paycheck, paid time off, and a benefits package. Oh, to dream of company health insurance!
It is a form of unattainable idealism – read: Perfectionism – to imagine there could be some form of work so compelling and so completely lacking in monotony that you never feel like you’re working.
Instead, finding work we love is more about finding the blend of professional opportunities and challenges that feel good to us. I haven’t seriously considered a full-time position in 15 years because the income insecurity that comes with self-employment continues to be more than worth it to me to do the work I get to do and in the way I prefer to do it.
I used to know someone who would say, “If it was meant to be fun, they wouldn’t call it work.” He was being cheeky but he also meant it. To him, work was a time to suffer through day after day. He wasn’t the happiest person I ever knew.
There is a middle ground to be found here, one in which we’re not seeking a mythical Valhalla where the work is indistinguishable from play nor are we giving into decades of professional misery. Between the two is your unique, fulfilling blend of enjoyment and drudgery and an acceptance that, yet again, perfection isn’t a thing.
So, happy Monday, friends. Wishing you a week of more enjoyment than drudgery and the presence of mind to sneak in play wherever it will fit.
p.s. If you ask the interwebs for the originator of this problematic quote, you’ll get answers that includes everyone from Confucius to Mark Twain to Arthur Szathmary, who was a philosophy professor at Princeton.
p.p.s. Replace all the words related to working with words relating to relationships (romantic and otherwise) and you’ll get to the same conclusion…