Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Busyness and Purpose

A man can only do what he can do. But if he does that each day he can sleep at night and do it again the next day.

Albert Schweitzer

Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.


A professional is one who does his best work when he feels the least like working.

Frank Lloyd Wright

Sometimes I get so busy that it’s hard to know what to procrastinate on first.  J 
That’s a joke I created years ago, but it has a lot of truth in it, especially now.
I haven’t written a blog in almost two days. 
I haven’t been up at 5:00 a.m. in at least a week.
I’m behind on some paperwork.
I haven’t done any significant reading in a few days.
I haven’t exercised in almost a week.
So I’m sitting here and writing because that’s what I need to do and can do.  Being with my Muse calms me down faster than anything else.  So I write.  As is so often the case, I’m not sure if I have anything to say, but I’m going to write anyway.  I’m not going to stop until it’s time to get ready for my radio show. 
I’ll be honest:  I have been greatly tempted to skip work for the last few days, not because I don’t like my job, but because I want to do the things I’ve mentioned above.  I’m fortunate that I like my job.  In fact, the part I do in the morning, speaking and writing resumes, is one of my favorite parts of the day. 
But I know that I also have this desire to study and write more.  C.S. Lewis express the same desire in Surprised by Joy, but he said his desire was selfish.  Maybe mine is, too.  I just know that when I’m doing those things I feel happier and I feel like I’m contributing to the world. 
On the other hand, I’m probably contributing to individuals as well as the world when I write resumes and help people find jobs.  That always makes me feel good about myself.  Also, when someone gets a job because of the coaching he or she has been given, that feels pretty amazing.  It was, for a long time, my chief motivator in life.  Then circumstances changed and I was no longer writing resumes on a regular basis.  Though there was no reason for it, I lost some of my confidence and some of my passion for it.  Now I’m dipping my toes back into the water and it feels good.
King Solomon said this:
“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.”

Ecclesiastes 9:10

In other words, since we won’t be able to work when we’re dead, it’s good to focus on the work that is given us now.  Often people speak of work as if it were a bad thing.  It’s ironic actually how hard people look for work and then when they get it, they complain about it.  Sadly, I’ve done my share of that.  Now, however, I see work for what it is.
·      Work is a gift.
·      Work is a privilege.
·      Work and the money we earn from it can give us hope and improve our standard of living.
·      Work, especially work done to the best of our best abilities, increases our self-esteem and often the esteem of others for us.
·      Work can relieve stress.
·      Work gives us purpose.
·      Work can add substance to our lives.

Obviously, I’m talking about work that one loves and/or finds meaningful.  Working in the wrong job, one I don’t like or am not good at, can often do far more damage than good.  What does one do when in a job one hates?  I recommend one of two things:
1.     Learn to love, or at least like, the job.  Find the value in the work or in the organizational mission.   Find a way to serve customers, co-workers and supervisors.  Don’t just do your job; excel at it.  That may change your feelings about your job.
2.     Get a new job.  This is easier said than done, but it’s also not as hard as everyone thinks it is.  It takes work and planning to get a new job, but millions have done it.  Also, finding a new job is much less difficult than enduring a job one hates.  (By the way, I’m not necessarily recommending that people quit their current position before finding a new job.  Each situation is different.)

I think the solution to my busyness is to work as hard and as well as I can on whatever I’m doing at the time.  I can only do one thing at a time anyway, so I should do that thing to the best of my ability before I do the next thing.  I can also Get Started and Keep Going…while I do my best.