Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Truth About Jobs

Excerpt from Summer Pierre's book...

The Truth About Jobs
I have never had a job where employees didn't have an ongoing list of complaints.  It seems to be the nature of work life.  The management is lousy or the employees are underapprecited or they are just bored out of their minds.  But here is the reality:

Your job is not the problem.

For me, I always believed my job was the problem.  I was an artist and I hated having a job, but I didn't know how else to live.  I tried different kinds of jobs:  art store clerk, nanny, and administrative assistant in various atmospheres.  I tried to get a job in something I believed in - helping the poor - and I was still bored and angry.  I tried getting a job working with kids - ditto the experience.  I decided I needed more money, so I got a job at a wealthy foundation - still frustrated beyond measure.  It finally dawned on me that it didn't matter how much money I was being paid, or what kind of environment I was in, it was still me coming to work:  depressed, sarcastic, adolesscent me.  I realized if anything was going to change, it had to start with me.

So I tried to quit working cold turkey - a few times - and something interesting happened.

I didn't do so well.

The magical life I thought being a full-time artist would entail dissolved the moment my coffee mug was empty.  I was still bored, still scared out of my mind, only I was lonelier than ever.  I still felt disempowered and like a victim of circumstance or of my own poor childhood or of whatever thing I could think of.  Also, and more important, I got just about as much art done as I did when I was working full-time.  I was still me and I was baffled as hell.

It turned out there were a lot of things that having a job did for me.  At a minimum, it gave me structure, accountability, and an opportunity to be around people.

If we are dissatisfied with work, we think:  "If only I could win the lottery and not work, tha twould solve all my problems" or "I wish I could just work from home."  But the truth is, work, like anything else, is a relationship that requires our own participation.  i assure you that if you didn't have to go to a job every day, you would have a whole set of other issues that would come up.  Consider how you are participating in your own job relationship.  How do you show up?  If your job really is the problem then get out now.  When you get another job, just check and see if the same issues keep coming up.  Are you still bored, angry, frustrated with your bosses and the management?   These things happen everywhere - that doesn't make them right, but ask yourself what is going to change with me?

Before we can find our ideal work environment, we must find out what about work works for us.  There are a lot of resons that we work for jobs, but have you ever considered how a job works for you?


Try this:
Make a list of all the things your job actually provides for you - be as specific as you can.  Instead of "rent", say "two-bedroom apartment, with colorful walls."  Also include things that you use or enjoy that come directly from being at the job.  For me that would include tea, coffee, hot chocolate, Internet service, a social atmosphere, and the pen I am writing with.

For whatever reason.... I absolutely could not get this photo to upload so that it was facing vertical.  So... either tilt your head or tilt your screen.... and check out some nifty facts about Dr. William Carlos Williams, a totally "legit" artist as well as a doctor!
William Carlos Williams
Legendary poet, playwright & short-story writer
Totally "legit" artist
Influenced & inspired the beat writers!
Mentored many poets, including Allen Ginsberg
As a doctor, he delivered over 3,000 babies!
Wrote poems on prescription pads
None of his patients knew he was a respected writer
Won the National Book Award & the Pulitzer Prize!

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