In LA, every waitress is supposed to be waiting for her break to be an actress.
My Muzhik novelist from last Sunday was probably not a professional writer, not yet.
I don’t know what he did to earn a living.
One of my friends from book club was telling me about her career in Television. “They are grooming me to be a producer. But I just don’t know…I REALLY want to write coming-of-age books for children.”
The guy that I had coffee with was the director of a very respected news program. “But that’s not what I came here to do,” he says. “I have more in mind.”
I’m a video conferencing professional, but I just signed up for a journalism class.
Charles Dickens, author of Great Expectations, had his hero in Oliver Twist say it for us:
‘Please, sir, I want some more.”
Yeah, we all want some more. More from our jobs, more from life, more from ourselves.
And more from our JOBS. That’s a critical thing. After the basics are taken care of–food, housing, clothing, etc.–that job takes on a different meaning. The struggle for survival takes so little effort, that we think we can do it with one hand tied behind our back. That leaves us with an extra hand to do all kinds of other things! Maybe we begin to resent the effort it takes to have a job…And we want to get both those hands working together to do what we “really” want to be doing.
A lot of books are written about that. What Color is Your Parachute? and 7 Habits of Highly Effective People are just two well-known examples. These authors write out systems of how to articulate your values and line up your life according to what you believe is most important.
That’s great! that’s why those books are such bestsellers. Who wouldn’t want to achieve perfect balance?
And they continue to be top sellers, because people are not achieving that balance. In large droves, we continue to have difficulty finding the perfect job.
Does it exist?
I remember talking with my friend a long time ago, we were griping about work. I said, “Don’t you think that this is your dream job? I mean, when you were a kid, if someone told you that you would get to be a computer programmer at NASA, you would have been thrilled!”
“Yeah,” he said. “I remember taking a tour of NASA when I was about 14 and being completely impressed.”
“And you worked hard to get the chance to work there. But now, you complain about it! Being an adult sure turns out to be different than what we thought it would be like when we were kids.”
Maybe the idea of the perfect job is not for everyone. On This American Life, they ran a show that talks about it. In the last segment the narrator talks about his love of making things, crafty art pieces that engaged his whole self in the making.
He researched whether he could get a job doing crafts, but concluded that if it was his job, it would no longer be his passion. He would be compelled to do it, instead of free to do it.
That show has really stuck with me lately. I like my job a lot, it is satisfying and it pays my bills. But I have been struggling with pursuing it as a career, since I am not sure that it gives me the opportunity for expression of my best talents.
But maybe we as human being are more complicated than that. Maybe our best talents, that we are all trying to foster and get more opportunity to express, are not things that we can access 40 hours a week.