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Work is Personal

September 6, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments
NOT PERSONAL! That is my WORK, my SWEAT, and MY TIME AWAY FROM MY KIDS! IF THAT IS NOT PERSONAL, I DON’T KNOW WHAT IS!” (Julia Roberts, as Erin Brockovich in the movie of the same title.)
Why does anyone work anyway?  At the most basic level, we go out and work so that we can put food on the table.  On a much higher level, we also work so that we can have a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment in our lives. 
We spend a great deal of our natural life in the workplace.  There will never be a place where we will always have high and happy moments; our work life is bound to be a mix of peaks and valleys, but hopefully we will have more of the peaks and the valleys would be manageable. 
Imagine all the stress we have to put up with if we need to deal with energy and emotional vampires on a daily basis – these are people or circumstances that can just suck the life right out of you, and can come in the form of our bosses, office mates, clients or the work itself.  If one is not happy with what one is doing from 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. then one is in really deep trouble.  I also seriously wonder about those who would consider having a 50- or 60-hour work week a “status symbol” of success.  Haven’t they ever heard of having a work-life balance – or having a life outside of work, for that matter? 
I sometimes wonder what the deal is with our workplace culture now – and I speak of this in general terms, from what I observe my generation is experiencing.  You know it’s awful when you hesitate to get out of bed in the morning because you don’t look forward to the day ahead.  In comparing notes with people in my age group from all over the workplace, I just have to ask why it sometimes has to be so toxic these days.  When there is more “work” than “life” in the work-life balance equation, one begins to wonder if putting up with a lot of the stress is even worth the seven-figure salary. 
We all need to understand this fact: Any company will do whatever it feels is in its best interest to survive in the industry.  This is the best reason I can think of to explain all the stress that my generation is experiencing now.  I’m open to hearing better opinions on the subject. 
Any company will look out for its own interests, which is only right – and I think it’s only fair that one should do the same, too. 
If you don’t like what you have to put up with, then get out and find other employment.  Otherwise, for as long as you are where you are, please – please – do your job!  And do it right! 
Still, no matter how awful it is sometimes, it’s so much worse being unemployed in this day and age.  No matter how disgruntled you are with your work, you know this to be true. 
No matter how bad it may seem to be, if you know that what you are doing is decent and moral, and it’s providing you a steady source of income, then it’s still something to be very grateful for.  Not everybody is blessed to have a job.  Talk to the perennially unemployed who would put up with what you loathe if it meant he can lift himself out of poverty and support his family. 
No matter how bad it may seem to be, one should be grateful that the job enables one to put food on the table, pay one’s rent, put clothes on one’s back and send one’s kids to school. 
And, for as long as you have a friend, things aren’t really that bad. 
At the end of the day it’s also a matter of attitude: If you realize how blessed you are to be where you are and to do what you are doing now, then a sense of gratitude and humility can get you through any tough day. 
Now, if you happen to be doing something that makes you happy – the type that you would be willing to work for free – then rejoice!  Not everybody has what you have, and you have all the more reason to be grateful and humble.  But one does not need to wait to be in this situation: Any bad thing can turn out for good if only one makes the most out of it. 
So, what’s my point?  Just two things:
  1. Despite what people may say about work being “just business and nothing personal,” work is actually a very personal matter.  For as long as it is people who are doing what needs to be done instead of machines, it will always remain personal.  Because work is personal, we have to do whatever we feel is in our best interest. 
  2. There’s always a reason to be grateful.  No matter how toxic work may sometimes become, it’s still something to be grateful for, compared to the alternative of not having any.  So do your job anyway and deal with the stress – otherwise get out and do something else that makes you happy, for complaining will not help you one bit. 
It would be best for everybody, from the leaders of industry down to the lowest level supervisor, and down to the starting-level employee himself, to keep this in mind. 
Categories: Ideas and Philosophy
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  1. December 24, 2011 at 11:11 pm
  2. October 14, 2014 at 9:36 pm

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