Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Work Work Work

They say that if you do a job that you love, you will never work a day in your life. But why do we have to work in the first place? Even if you do love your job, you will still have days when you wish you could just pack it all in. Ok, so I guess the bills need to be paid and mouths need to be fed, but is that the fundamental reason for why we work?

I like work. Not all work, just the work I like. I like working with people and I like the satisfaction of getting a job done well. I like jobs which can be completed and I hate work that is never ending  I guess I am generally quite driven and motivated; if I put my mind to something, it will get done.

Currently, I am not working as a student or an employee and it is driving me insane. In the past, I have thought that if I came into a whole load of money which would mean that I wouldn't have to work, then I would be quite happy. I then realised that my mind started to wander and think about all the new projects I could start up with all the money I had which is when I realised that my drive to work must be more than just money. This stint in hospital has only just confirmed it.

I guess, to some extent, I find purpose and meaning in work, I feel useful because I am contributing using the skill set that I have been given. But, so people tell me, this is an opportunity to rest and recover. So this is my question, how exactly do you do that? Does it mean that I have to lie in bed all day? Does it mean that I need to do what I enjoy? Well, I enjoy working but that is not an option. But then maybe it is. It is probably dependant on how you define work. In some respects, writing this blog is both work and not work. It is work in so far as I have decided that I would start this project and see it through to completion. But, in another way, I don't think it is work because it doesn't feel like it.

I think there are two extremes in attitude towards work which most of us are carry out and a wise middle ground which a few land on. Sluggard and Workaholic. Being a sluggard has never been an issue for me but being a workaholic has been/intermittently is. The consequences of not resting for me have been catastrophic in the past leading to burnout and severe depression. I tend not to rest until it is forced upon me ie when I have crashed and burned. By that point, the ship has sailed for rest and it is recovery that needs to happen which is different and takes energy in itself.

For me, resting requires organisation and discipline. I need to organise my rest time so that I do something that I know will refresh me - if I sit in front of the TV for a whole day as my rest day then I will definitely feel depressed by the end of it. Resting requires discipline because it is very easy to let other commitments which masquerade as higher priority to invade time that has been set aside for rest. Ideally I would like to be able to set aside one day a week for rest but that isn't quite practical for me. Realistically, I could probably manage one day a month, but even that is a challenge. I think the challenge for work and rest lies in finding the right rhythm to life, as oppose to a jerky stop start approach.  I guess it is similar to clutch control in a car - when you first start to learn, gear changes are very jerky and stalling is common; but as you get more practice gear changes become seamless. For me, I'm probably still at the stalling stage, so I guess I'm going to have to continue working at resting.

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