Every Day is Saturday

Finding Joy in the Here and Now

Working for a Living

on September 20, 2013
miners
work
wərk/
noun
             1.  activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result.
  • 2.  mental or physical activity as a means of earning income; employment.

I’ve been thinking a lot about work lately.  That’s an understatement – I think about work all the time.  As in my lack of it, how to get it, and what kind I want to do.  Lately I’ve been ruminating on what I would be willing to do in order to bring in some steady money, which is a reflection of the financial realities in which I now find myself.  The answer to that question is pretty much anything not immoral, illegal or fattening (although I might bend on the illegal in the right circumstances).

“Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.”     Khalil Gibran

The above definition of work as a noun seems to imply there is an either-or choice to be made; the meaning of work is either “to achieve a purpose or result” or “as a means of earning income”.  Of course you can do both, but it often seems like we have to choose between doing purposeful work we love or making a living.

 “Do not hire a man who does your work for money, but him who does it for love of it.”   Henry David Thoreau

I had a really good day yesterday.  I had been invited to do work that I love and that I am good at.  I put in a lot of thought and effort into my contribution.  After the public presentation I was told what a fantastic job I had done.  I received an email at 1:00 am this morning to tell me how much people loved what I did.  This kind of reaction to me and my capabilities is incredibly validating, and I felt amazing afterwards.  But it didn’t pay me a dime.  It may lead to other things, but for now, all I got was a warm heart and an empty pocket.

“I think the person who takes a job in order to live – that is to say, for the money – has turned himself into a slave.”    Joseph Campbell

The other thing that happened yesterday is that, once again, I was reminded how beneficial it is to get out and be with people.  When you do that, it creates energy.  When I get out and meet people it seems like a beacon is lit to announce “Amanda is here!”, and all of a sudden, unexpected things happen.  For example, during the day yesterday I got a call from a friend who had a gig for next week and she thought of me.  It was wonderful to know that she’s keeping an eye out, but wouldn’t you know it, next week I actually already have work!  I would have taken that gig in a heartbeat (even though it sounded really boring) if it had been any other time.  But even though that didn’t work out, it reinforced to me how much I have got to find a way to get out of the house on a regular basis.

“It is the working man who is the happy man. It is the idle man who is the miserable man.”    Benjamin Franklin

I want to work.  I want to do meaningful, purposeful, rewarding work and get paid for it.  I know what that’s like – I’ve done it before.  Knowing that I have so much to give and nowhere to give it is not only frustrating, it is debilitating.  It’s wonderful to have others acknowledge my talent.  I know I have to hang in there.  I know I need to find a part time job to keep the lights on, and I will.  But I’m terrified of having to do work that I don’t love, just for a paycheck.  I know what that’s like, too.  I will do it because I don’t see that I have a choice, and I’ll be glad of it.  But I’ve come a long way – I don’t want to go back.  I’m clinging to the promise that if I keep doing what I love the money will follow.  Well, it better hurry up.

“Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”  Theodore Roosevelt

photo credit: Chris Corbett via photopin cc

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