Do you like what you do?
That is an odd and weird question, if you really think about it.
Arguably the heyday of corporate whoredom, when it seemed most of the world was on a conveyor belt straight to mindless nine-hour hells, is definitely behind us.
Nowadays work-life balance is the new mantra that all the corporate gurus are chanting.
On the other hand, thanks to email, sms, smart phones, laptops and the internet, perhaps the past ten years will be recorded as a mere blip of sanity before the restoration of normality by our corporate overlords.
So the only balance we seem to have achieved is a work culture were the losses suffered due to that lazy fat one currently snoozing at the desk are offset by the gains made that crazy workaholic compulsive who never goes home and checks the smart phone every five minutes, in case emails have come a-calling.
However, what is truly disturbing is how easily we assume that ‘doing one thing that we like’ and ‘doing anything else that we may also like’ are two mutually exclusive concepts.
I am occasionally jealous of people around me who work hard and get promotions and salary increases. I never manage to emulate them because I am lazy and usually fail to see the point of it all.
Whenever I mention to someone that I really cannot motivate myself to work like others do, I am usually met with the question “But I thought you liked what you do…”
Well I really like my job. I have great satisfaction in what I do. But since when did this automatically translate into “Therefore I will work so hard my balls will fall off as a form of protest”.
I happen to like many things. None of which I am prepared surrender my life too.
Now I am not mocking doing what you like all day. It is a sensible way to earn an income, rather than say, shoveling shit all day.
But we seem to be embracing a new trend where ‘doing what you like’ has been transformed into a euphemism for doing it for the rest of your life – 12 hours a day – while ignoring everything else.
Side note: Incidentally, If you are the kind of person who can put in 12 hours of work a day for anything, then it probably doesn’t matter what you like because I assume you are suffering from Stockholm syndrome.
This only applies to corporate work though.
If a thousand people came on the streets and spent 12 hours screaming we would call the police or elect them ( Both Parliament and jail being a place where they could do it without bothering us. )
If a thousand drunks spent twelve hours day drinking we wouldn’t have to call anything other than an ambulance to take the body to a morgue.
If a thousand people watched movies or serials twelve hours a day we call them crazy or critics (the two are usually interchangeable)
The Japanese have even come up with a name for the disease – Otaku – and are working feverishly to fix these “mental illnesses.”
This sentiment does not apply to “work” in a corporation though.
Here NOT doing what you vaguely ‘like’ obsessively compulsively is considered the first sign that you are mentally disturbed and must be purged for the good of all. Or at least you must be sent to one of those motivation/training exercises.
Frankly I think I rather be ‘purged’ on my knees behind the chemical shed than face more of those.
But the new work-life balance business means that you can’t have only the crazies, a few sane ones have to be kept in the stables, for the look of things.
So you have an odd world where most of us willingly, if not down right gleefully, do what we “like” over and over and over again while some of us, mostly deviants like yours truly, do what we like and everything else and still get along just fine.
I like so many things.
I like that pretty girl with the damp hair and I like to occasionally propose to my friends of the same gender to test their liberal credentials.
I like watching You Tube and calling random numbers in my contacts list and refusing to hang up if they are “busy”…no I don’t care if you are busy because that an audit is coming up, I really, really want to tell you about this cat I saw which I swear was like, totally a vampire in disguise…I am not making this stuff up, I swear!
So if you ask me if I like what I do, I would have to say –
Yes I do. And by that I mean I like everything that I do, not just work. I like both being alive and how I make a living.
I don’t understand why the two always seem seated on the far opposite ends of the grand table of life, but I do know that this is how people usually make the seating arrangement.
They are of course paid far more than me. And so I guess that makes it all right.
And until I find a way to both make a living and go on living, I guess all I can do is watch them climb the grand staircase.
From the outside…while eating an ice cream, which I also like doing by the way.