Saturday, July 26, 2008

Your Job Versus a Visit to the Dentist

In the August issue of GQ (yes, even at 56 I check it out to see what clothes I wouldn't be caught dead in) in an article, "Congratulations, You're Fired!," writer Cecil Donahue makes a great point. He writes, "If a visit to the dentist feels like a vacation compared to your job, it's time to be gone." I couldn't agree more.

I'm all for you having a Perfect Workday and a big part of that is enjoying what you do; feeling satisfied at the end of the day that the hours of your life invested in your work have been worthwhile.

The research on work satisfaction is contradictory. In one report a large percentage of workers will say they are satisfied with their jobs. In the next report the majority say they would leave for a wide variety of reasons. Granted, sometimes it depends on who you survey and what time of day it is.

But the point is this: At the end of the day are you glad you went to work? I'll agree that every day can't be blue birds and lemonade. The simple fact, though, is that if you work from the time you are 18 until you are 65 you'll work for at least 11,000 days. And the wild thing about it is that you are not at work for all 11,00 days. You are actually at work for only 8,000 days; the other 3,000 days are the cumulative number of hours you spend thinking/planning/worrying about work while you are on your way to work, on your way home, and lying in bed at night and in the morning. If you are going to spend 11,000 days doing ANYTHING it should mean something.

I don't have to tell you that we live in challenging econonmic times. I have a 50+ friend who has had a tough time getting a job. He was a successful entrepeneur and things went south on him. Now he's in the job market. It's taken him over a year of letting his house go, moving, doing a lot of soul-searching, and now focusing on a new opportunity. But he's done it and I believe he will be as successful in his new venture as he was in his previous career.

Here's a heretical thought: You never have to work just for the money. I know, you say you have bills, kids, a mortgage. But, if you are someone who can work just for the money and you can do a decent job you can always find work. There will always be someone who needs something done if you don't care about what you do. The classifieds are full of those kinds of jobs. In those kinds of jobs a Perfect Workday really is not being there.

If you want a job that matters, something that feeds your soul, you have to look inside. You have to ask yourself about your skills, talents and abilities. You have to sit down with pen and paper or at a computer and write down your description of a Perfect Workday. What would you do? With whom would you do it? Where would you do it?

If all you are looking for is pay, it's out there if you don't care what you do and are willing to do it long enough.

If you are looking for a Perfect Workday I can promise you it's out there. And I can promise you that it never feels like a trip to the dentist.

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