Thursday, December 10, 2009

Do what you love

I initially wrote this blog a few days ago, but when my trusted editor (my wife) read it, she told me it was a real downer. From my perspective, I thought I had simply shared some thoughts about working life. My intent was not to complain or garner sympathy, but when I separated myself from the topic and reread it from your perspective, I realized it could come across negatively. So, with that in mind, and in an effort to satisfy my editor, let me try to present the subject a little differently.

We have all heard the expression, “Find a job doing what you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” If I am honest with myself, I’m not sure I can say that I have loved my job consistently over the 40 years I’ve worked. By no means do I wish to be pitied. It’s not that I have hated every one of my 10,000+ workdays. It’s just that if I may have had a “higher calling,” I didn’t hear it or answer it, and I now find myself looking inward, contemplating how I would like to spend my waking/working hours. It’s an interesting process to pursue.

CLARIFICATION TO APPEASE MY EDITOR: While I have not necessarily loved every one of the 4.8 million minutes I have worked (not counting overtime), I have enjoyed many, and have been blessed with steady employment for all but 8 weeks of this period. I have liked working with 99.9% of the people, and consider some of them to be good friends even now, 30-40 years later. I still come home each day with a smile, to get a hug and a kiss from my loving wife, and a squealing, tail-wagging doggie greeting. It’s tough to beat that! No complaining here!

In my early years, I needed to work just to keep gas in my car, and spending money in my pocket. Like many others my age, I had no concept of planning for a long-term career, and my idea of preparing for the future was to plan for the following weekend.

CTAME: Yes, I admit I was a bozo, one who didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life, and thought he would just figure it out as he went along!

As I gained experience in the working world, I was fortunate to move from one position to the next, always staying near the front end of graphics technology. Indeed, there were years in the 80’s and 90’s when I was receiving calls from headhunters at a rate of about 3 or 4 per year. Besides the ego boost that interest afforded me, I was able to do some traveling as I considered offers. Those calls gradually decreased as I entered my 50’s, and it is evident that older guys aren’t as highly regarded in my business.
CTAME: I don’t get many headhunter calls anymore, so what. That’s OK with me. I know that I’m at the top of my game, and my experience and knowledge is immeasurable. I don’t want to move to another state and start over, anyway! The majority of my family is here, and I enjoy traveling so I have plenty of opportunity to see the cities I’ve passed up over the years. (Besides, if I changed jobs, they would probably want me to tweet!)

So now, it’s the eve of 2010. I have successfully climbed the management ladder. I have met most of my career goals. While I have no clear desire to start my own company, I would not rule that out. I presume I have 9-10 years of full time work ahead of me, and who knows how many years beyond that to be active. It makes sense to spend that time doing something I really enjoy.

CTAME: I love the thought of having a relatively short time left to work before retirement, but the fact of the matter is that I will never stop working. I will simply change what I’m doing each day, and you’ll have a different phone number to reach me between 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. While I enjoy the role that I have as the “wise ol’ boss,” and I find it amusing that younger workers sometimes affectionately call me “Pops,” I am excited for the future, and all of the unknowns. One thing for certain: from this point forward, I’ll be buying a lot more oil paint.

Stay tuned!

1 comment:

John said...

That was a great blog! I can't count the number of times I've heard you or mom say, "If you find a job you love, you'll never work a day in your life." Lucky for me, I've found a job I love. Sure, some days are less than perfect, but in the end I love my job and I love where I work. And thanks to you two, I have started planning for retirement (age 50). Here's to 25 more years of doing what I love before the real fun begins!