Happiness and work

“If your happiness and your work aren’t the same thing, you’re doing the wrong work, or working the wrong way. Change.” ~Martha Beck

That’s pretty straight forward. If my work is not bringing me happiness, I need to change it. There’s nothing at all here about finding a way to live with it as it is. Just change it.

I read an interesting post on this topic today on Heal Your Life by John F. Demartini called The Job or the Money?: The $5 Million Dollar Interview. In the post, the author reveals that when he is hiring he asks each candidate during the interview what they would do with their life if they were given $5 million. If the candidate’s answer doesn’t sound like pretty much what the job opening is, he does not hire them because he wants people working for him that are doing the job for the love of the work, not because they need the money he will pay them. In fact, he tells of one candidate that he did not hire, who was so motivated by their conversation in the interview, that he began pursuing the work that he was truly passionate about and came back to thank him for giving him the push he needed to do that.

The skeptic in me thinks that if every company did this, there would be an awful lot of unfilled positions out there. I know very few people, if any, that would stay at their current jobs if they won that kind of money. They all have dreams of being somewhere else doing something else.

He does have a point, though. Humans were designed to work, so ideally we should all be doing work that brings us happiness while also creating an income. Practicality aside for the moment, the idea that we should all follow whatever song is in our hearts has great merit. But even if I can’t imagine a world that did allow all of us to pursue our passions, I can take a hard look at my own life and see where I can find ways to either change the work I am doing or change the way I am working. I think there are some of both that are at issue in my current situation.

There is work that I could be doing that I would have a much greater passion for than what I am currently doing. There are aspects of my job that I am passionate about, but those things are routinely squeezed out by demands for other things that must be done that I find to be considerably less fun (and in some cases downright painful). I have tried adjusting how I do my work already, but I suspect there are more things I can do that could help. Ultimately, it’s the wrong work for me.

The challenge is to take the aspects that I am passionate about and try to find a way to spend more time working at those things and eliminate those I find painful. At the same time, I need to find a way to incorporate my other passions into my work life in order to make the life I am living more like the life I would live if I had no need for money. I’m working on exploring ways to do that already, but this quote and the accompanying blog post are great encouragement that I am on the right path and that this is something that is necessary.

My happiness and my work are not the same thing. There is only one solution for that: CHANGE. (And sucking it up so I can continue doing what I am doing does not qualify as change.)