Sunday, February 7, 2010

(Don't) Quit Your Day Job

     Sitting here this Sunday eve, I start to feel the effects of PMS; “pre-Monday Syndrome.” Now mind you I am blessed in the fact that my work week actually starts on Tuesday so I am spared what many feel in a handful of hours from now.

     Monday mornings, I do have to return to my drill sergeant duties in getting the troops ready for school, my chef’s duties in getting lunches ready and often off to the grocery to buy the required sustenance for the upcoming week, and I once again return my attention to the online banking and work related emails. Oh yes taxes...*urp*...taxes. (I think I threw up in my mouth a little).

     Anyhow – I often briefly scan my Facebook account to see what friends are up to, my duties on other accounts, posts and random how-do-you do’s. Most of the status updates however, post laments of Monday and the related dread of its arrival.

     In writing my book, one point I observed is that if people “hated” Mondays as much as they profess on my scrolling social network screen; and they lived an average life of approximately eighty years, they would be spending 11.4 years of their life in a state of dread and dismay. Profound huh? Add another day to the mix and, well, you do the math!

    I think this stems a lot from the proverbial “Day Job” that haunts us.

     I find it interesting as I sat here most of this wonderful Sunday creating my book proposal and query letters for my book I have written. I spent hours upon hours (my kids were gone or entertained), feverishly trying to give my dream the leverage to get published and perhaps unfurling my sails to venture into new and uncharted blue waters. My dream is to one day be at my own book signing, my book an inspirational tome to where I hope the attendees are if not moved at least entertained. I want the cardigan sweater with the patches on the elbows. I want progressively bad eyesight that accompanies the career of a writer. Okay, maybe not.

     Why is it I spent much of my coveted weekend propped in front of a keyboard “working” when I now dread going back to work? Why do others feel the same? When did our dreams of doing what we do, just simply become an income generator, a hurdle to get through, and like an old lover, we now only consider a friend (if at all)?

     What is interesting to me is when I ask people, “If money was not a concern, would you be doing what you are doing now?” The answer most often is “no”. Secondly and peculiarly is that what we would do for fulfillment is quite often completely and randomly different from what we now do. Does this shift occur from boredom with the task? Does it occur from external disillusionment? Were expectations to high to begin with? Perhaps a force we could not see like the economy caused our emotional detachment. Maybe who is in charge of our progression is a hindrance. It is rough when your boss is a mean or lazy a-hole, and you are self-employed...

     I often hear, “Don’t quit your day job” directed to someone following their passion. Usually a discouraging outburst by someone who wants to see you tethered to that which weighs you down. Ah, the day job; the nemesis of excitement, yet that which provides the necessary sustainability to exist in the dreamless world, and slows our progression to be able to peer through our sextant and focus on the next guiding star.

     What helps me is in reaching for my goals and new territory is that I realize that my day job is truly what keeps my boat afloat in the meantime. Also I am more aware of when I am simply wasting time. Recharging is one thing, but when I could be utilizing my efforts to achieve whatever task, hobby, or dream I need to work on, I am more in tune to my application of my mental and physical efforts.

     Funny too is that I realize now that in my desire to not be at work, and have my leisure time, I would often waste much of it with boring tasks, watching TV, or daydreaming. The daydreaming spent wishing my life were different. Who was to blame? What can I do differently?

     Now as I sit and try to narrow my 11.4 years to a more palatable number, I also spend reasonable time with reasonable expectations on adding variety to my life. Quit my day job? Who knows? The next best-selling author? I still don’t know. Cardigan sweater with the patches? Wal-Mart here I come.

     What I do find is that when my job and life become boring or challenging, the effort I can dedicate to another goal or dream is enough to distract from my displeasure with the “same ‘ole, same ‘ole.” It is energizing and nourishing. It often alleviates the “day job” from the target of my whining, and redirects my focus to healthier tasks.

     From hairdresser to writer is quite an odd transition. As I said, many of us find where we are quite a bit different from where we wish we could be. As I look here to my right I have a small square hanging from my wall with the inspirational quote: “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” I am attempting mine---what would you do?

Repost from Artisan of the Human Spirit