Monday, September 7, 2009

Back in the Saddle Again


That may sound like something dreadful, but in fact looking forward to work is a blessing. How many of us come back from a wonderful, relaxing vacation looking forward to getting back in the saddle? Not so many, I think. Listening to all the folks out there screeching their complaints, vehemently issuing their opinions, positing their views, I think many of us are brimming with hostility. We glare at one another on the train conserving our bit of personal space. We sit alone in our cubicle or office sipping coffee waiting for the day to end. We endure our daily commute. Is this what we thought working would be like? Did we envision this when we went to school?

I used to be one of those people. For fifteen years I worked in the insurance industry reviewing and handling medical malpractice claims. I saw the worst of the worst... doctors who didn't have the skills to heal their patients, and patients who were so busy blaming everyone else for their medical problems that they took no responsibility for themselves and their health. One day I woke up and realized that I hated what I was doing for a living. It was like coming out of a long coma. On that day I made a decision that I would never again work in a job I didn't like or that gave me no personal fulfillment.

I went back to school and created a new career path for myself. One which fulfilled me as a person. Sure it was a lot less money. But if there is one thing I have learned in my life it's that money can make you miserable long before it even begins to make you happy. When I made lots of money... and I did make LOTS of money... I was a slave to the $$$. I couldn't leave my career because I had created a life style that demanded I continue to earn that level of income. What I realized was that I was far happier with less and capable of having a career that I love making less $$$ and loving my life.

These lessons weren't free. They cost me a good portion of my adult life, but I offer them to you freely in the hopes that you won't get trapped by the lure of $$$... keeping up with the Jones' and living your life shackled to your job. We spend fully one third of our life sleeping and one third working and commuting... that leaves only one third for relaxation. We might as well enjoy that third we spend working. Over the course of a lifetime, say thirty employed years, we expend about eighty thousand hours working. Let's make it something that fulfills us, that gives us joy, that allows us to give back to society.

Anyone can make money, be it large amounts or small. That's no accomplishment. Let's learn to make a life!! When you are on your death bed will you be wishing you spent more time at the office?

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