The posts I write do not disappear into the recesses of my mind, I think about them often. My thoughts and feelings often change over time, but when it comes to my attitudes towards work, I’ve remained fairly fixed for years. Whereas the general perception of work has had a major culture shift, accelerated by the pandemic, and one that is great for the world. Hustle culture and working because that’s what you’re supposed to do has been replaced by a desire for more.
Toni Morrison’s excellent post in the New Yorker on the work you do reflecting you as a person has been shared around again recently. Summing up what people seem to consider recent thoughts on the workforce. Yet, this post was written almost 5 years ago.
As the post points out, you shouldn’t be working for anything else but yourself. Not in the sense that we should all have our own businesses, that would be great too. More in the sense that you should want to do the work or the tasks you do. It might seem like meaningless tautology, but the importance of stressing that “You make the job; it doesn’t make you” is vital.
At the root of every position you take should be a root desire for you. It doesn’t matter what that desire is, nor the way it manifests itself. It should be something that fulfils you. Emotionally. Spiritually. Furthermore, it is at this point I must bring up the excellent words of Patrick Rhone.
If I were paid to dig ditches, I would discover that the ditch is for a water line to a new house that means someone gets clean water. Once I think it through, I can find my passion in the ditch digging. - Patrick Rhone
Don’t get me wrong. You can still have a job, it be a job, and you don’t need to be excited by it, nor it reflect anything about you. However, I would bet that you can find something in it to be excited about, but even so that job isn’t you. You are not your job, you are a person, and your job should be how you make money to be that person.
I’m one of the lucky ones. I have a job I enjoy, and it lifts me up as a person. It is still not me. Unfortunately, not many people are as lucky as I. To leave you with one take away, a distillation of all of these words down to a few, it is to remember “You are not the work you do; you are the person you are”.
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