Day 243: The Man and the Working for Love; ‘Nervous’

So a couple days ago I wrote about how nervous I was to approach my boss about trying to seek a promotion or new position somewhere in our company. In that post I wrote about the relationship between employer and employee and how different it was from say, when my parents were working for companies and even more so from when their parents were working. It got me thinking to the time around three months ago when I was coming in late to work, generally disinterested and unmotivated, and my boss pulled me into the same room I used to speak with her to ask me if I still ‘loved it here’. And between those two experiences I started to think about work and how it relates to relationships and love and I wanted to share some of my thoughts.

I think it’s very interesting that the question of ‘love’ has any sort of bearing or relevance Spongbob Workwhen it comes to work. You know this blog really started from a place of love. Of missing love, wanting love, and seeking love but firstly, of working to define what it is to ‘love’ and what we want when we say we want ‘love’. And when my boss asked me that question I was so taken aback and so insulted that she could have the audacity to relate such an important and integral aspect of the human experience to something as paltry and pedantic as my 9 to 5. Love my job?! I don’t have to love my job! I have to do it, do it damn well, and leave it at the end of the day. That’s my work and that’s about as much responsibility and affection as I can stomach or muster for this.

I would never, ever, agree to the idea that one should ‘love’ what they do. I know full well that the reality of life is that there are many people who are in jobs they don’t love, but they do it for the ones they do. All work is noble, but certainly not lovable. This is not some mind-blowing revelation, nor is it anything to be sad about. When my father first arrived in the US he was a gas station attendant. My mother was a phone salesman for a rug company. I look at my friends and I know for a fact that they all almost immediately ‘turn off’ at 5. Sometimes earlier. Hell, I’ve been known to sneak out of the office at 2 or 3 in the afternoon if I know no one needs me or is looking for me. But just because we aren’t in love with what we do doesn’t mean we are any sadder or that our lives are any less complete. For the most part, we are in successful, consistent, and reliable gainful employment that allows us to save for our future, enjoy our present, and share with the ones we love. There is nothing to be disappointed in being able to do all that just because we aren’t skipping and singing to work every morning. So no, I don’t love what I do, but I’m not discouraged by that fact and I’m not sad for it. This shouldn’t be a necessity to do good in whatever it is that we do.

But, I have come to realize that, just like in everything else, having love for your work can certainly be an asset and an improvement. Love is a motivation and an inspiration. Some of the greatest and most successful innovations in any industry have either come from a Elf Workvery deep-rooted sense of professionalism and business acumen or from a place of pure love for the work or the product. In the long run one could even argue that you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference, one from the other. Employees who feel love in their work are often more motivated, more enthusiastic, and yes more loyal. There is always room for love in the workplace, for the workplace, as an effective business asset. But I would be wary to ever put any credence or value in the oft-quoted and very untrue expression ‘if you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life’. This is a lie, best buried in the graveyard of Instagram cliches. Love is work. To maintain, to grow, to find, and to keep. So if you are fortunate enough to do what you love or love what you do, you’ll know that it takes just as much if not more work, but you will find it personally and professionally satisfying.

When love becomes part of the supposed compensation, this can also be a problem. When I was a teacher, I often heard from other teachers and family and friends that ‘we [teachers] don’t do it for the money, we do it for love’.

Pardon my French, but FUCK that.

Doing something strictly for ‘love’ makes you two things. Dumb and poor. There’s no reason why, if you provide a valuable service, you shouldn’t also expect an equally valuable form of FOB Check.gifcompensation. This sentimental argument has been used to keep some professions down and make them feel bad for trying to change their status. There’s no denying that there is a higher sense of purpose and calling for those who decide to pursue education. It is a grueling, often times thankless occupation, but it is a pillar of society to create and improve future generations. Teachers are some of the most valuable and selfless members of our community. As such, we find it so easy to take advantage of their giving natures. We question their expertise, undermine their authority, and when it’s time to start ‘trimming the fat’ so to speak, we are quick to put them on the block first. Simultaneously, teachers have so embedded into themselves this sense of selfless sacrifice that they feel uncomfortable or awkward asking for more. They can, and often times do, sacrifice their financial security and prosperity because they believe the love they have, for their profession, their students, their subject, is more important. But you can’t eat love, now can you? So many want to convince us that doing what we love and loving what we do is so essential, but at the same time these same people want to take advantage of the love we do have for our work to undercut our compensation. Listen, maybe one day I’ll be lucky enough to love what I do. And maybe one day I’ll do something for the love of it. But definitely this day, one day, and for every day in the future, I will need to be compensated.

I think if we talk a bit now about the relationship we have with our jobs and our employers, we can see why ‘love’ became such a hot topic to begin with. I believe there was a time when the relationship between employer and employee was actually very much akin to the relationship of two lovers. There was a time when being ‘married to the job’ was true in more than one sense. It used to be a person could come into the same place of work every day for their entire life and know that a) their job was secure b) their pay was fair and c) their future was being provided for. My father hung his hat on the same hook for over Temple Grandintwenty years. Back then I think companies took a much more honest and caring approach to their employees. You didn’t think about hopping from one company to another. Compensation, opportunity, and security could all be found right where you were. You used to get gold pens and watches on work anniversaries, and a retirement was like losing a family member. 9 to 5 is 8 hours of your day. That’s 1/3. Five times a week, 50 weeks a year (minus vacation of course), that’s 2000 hours or 1/4 of your year. When you spend upwards of twenty or thirty years in the same place, you start to build actual relationships. And you might as well, because you’re going to be here a while. So much of our work culture and language are interchangeable with family and married life. Being ‘married to the job’. Having a ‘work wife’ or ‘work husband’. Meeting your significant other through work was much more common. Granted, so was meeting the person you’d eventually have an affair with but, hey, it all comes with the territory. The point was, you could realistically spend a good portion of your life in this one place. Work was like a second family or a first wife (or husband, whatever). In this marriage-relationship you knew that the two parties were equally responsible but for different things. You cared for the company, and it in turn cared for you. Work for reward. Security for loyalty. For a very long time the relationship between employee and employer was one akin to marriage.

I don’t see that nowadays. I see a complete and utter lack of concern or interest from employers to employees. There is a deep-rooted sense of ingratitude on both ends I think, that causes both parties to distrust each other and so relations deteriorate. Employees still Lucy Workwant very much of the same thing. Security, good pay, benefits. The major difference now is that with much more job mobility and flexibility, when an employee realizes he or she isn’t getting these needs met, we have more freedom to get up and leave. So retention goes down. Loyalty goes down. In turn, companies start to mistrust their employees and invest less value in them. We’ve turned companies into stepping stones and companies have in turn turned us into interchangeable parts. I don’t know of a single person in my generation who has worked in the same company for longer than three years. And don’t get me wrong, I fully realize I am part of this problem. I too am currently looking for a new and better position and yes, I am not opposed to the idea of leaving this company. I just recently hit two years and I’m looking around and seeing how many faces are different and whose faces are the same and I fear I am not smart enough to leave yet and I don’t want to be the last rat off a sinking ship.

I think companies are trying real hard to throw the wool over our eyes too. Yes, my company has a bar and free drinks every first Friday of the month. We have barbecues and outdoor parties in spring and summer. I did a slip ‘n slide for Christmas. There’s this rampant atmosphere of party and free perks. But I never asked for beers and a beanbag chair. I wanted to be able to work my way up and know my efforts would be recognized and rewarded with further responsibilities and therefore compensation. Companies nowadays are very good at enticing you to get into the door. But they don’t know how to keep us there. It’s all flash and pomp and circumstance but no real substance. At a certain point, companies stopped taking care of us and we stopped taking care of companies. I don’t know which came first but at this point it doesn’t really matter because I see no signs of any sort of improvements or changes to this. It’s hard to love or feel love in a relationship when you know both parties stopped trying a long time ago.

Day 243

Man: 210 Loneliness: 33

 

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14 thoughts on “Day 243: The Man and the Working for Love; ‘Nervous’

  1. Yet you love to cook and would love your own restaurant, would that not be work? Life is too short not to enjoy your work, my ex husband used to say he detested his job and he worked there only to earn money to love BULLSHIT (excuse my French) that was just an excuse for not getting off his arse and finding something he could love

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do love to cook and I think I would love owning a restaurant, but I don’t think I’d ever say ‘oh this isn’t work’. Like, it’s hard stuff! Ramen-yas are up at 6 to make the broth and stay til midnight to clean and prep the next day. I think when you are doing something you love, you work more, work harder, work more enthusiastically, but you are very well aware it’s work. Loving it doesn’t make it less like work. I think some people can be okay with not loving what they do and finding their enjoyment and happiness outside of 9 to 5. I don’t know if it’s the best method or the healthiest. Hahah. But my friends certainly seem to subsist okay.
      I also feel like it’s good to separate this idea of love and work because it’s just not realistic, in a way. If we all only ever did what we loved, I don’t think we’d have janitors or sewage collectors. But they do it for the ones they love I’m sure. Maybe passion would be a better word. I think regardless of love we should all desire to pursue our occupations with passion.

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  2. I don’t know if you’ve seen this, but the last part of your post really reminded me of it:

    I don’t think I could work at something I didn’t at least like quite a lot – it’s a lot of your life to devote to something if you don’t like it. I also wouldn’t want to earn peanuts for something I love, unless I could live on those peanuts… It’s a hard balance to strike!

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    • A big part of the inspiration behind what I wrote is actually this video! I don’t know how I found it a while ago but I saw it and I was like…huh…yeah! There were a few points I disagreed with and I think he was a bit too sympathetic towards ‘millenials’. (I don’t even like to use the word because to me it’s like…sticky. Like you start to touch it and use it and you’ll never shake it off.)
      I’ve never stared at a job from the long side. I’ve always migrated the moment I didn’t like it. This is the longest I’ve been with a company and so the decision to stay or go is a bit more complicated now. I feel like I’m in a ‘before I devote’ stage of my life. Like all these jobs are just phases. I want to be able to afford to devote myself to something i love. But if that means I drudge a few years through the mud, so be it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah great, I just realized that I wouldn’t say “I love to program”, I would say “I enjoy to program”. Hmm.. So…I guess that I don’t love what I do, I only enjoy it? Well I’m confused lol.
    Sadly I’m not a computer to have someone look through my files to find the error and fix it. Sigh….
    Great post! Remember that you don’t have to love something to be able to do it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah I mean…I hate math. Like despise it. But because my father was really serious about making sure I was good at it, I was always put in advanced math classes. I could always barely keep my head above water but after all is said and done, despite how much I hated it, now I’m fairly good at it. I do have another post I want to write in the future about how love and passion in work are two different things. And how happiness is unproductive and real artistic and creative struggle is supposed to be hard but satisfying. It’ll basically come down to…one day if you’re ever kept up late at night because you’re neck deep in some all-encompassing project or endeavor, and you realize you’ve been fueled and driven all day, you’re going to realize it’s 3am and that you’ve felt a whole range of emotions that prove to you you’re onto something and that you’re where you’re supposed to be. And that happiness was probably the last thing on your mind.

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      • I find math entertaining, it makes you think and even if I don’t like it, I gotta know it due to programming. A teacher writes down some coding on the board or gives us worksheets of coding where we need to find what the program does and what results we will get from it and it’s usually numbers and in Programming it’s like a whole other language, that includes math symbols. I know you may never use any of what they teach you in math in life like, finding what x equals to if x=y+1 .-. but eh, nothing I can do about it. My parents, especially my dad expect high grades from me. Over in Mexico we are graded by numbers, a 10 equals to an A. If I get lower than a 9, which would be a B, in any subject, my dad scolds me. If I get lower than a 9 in more than one subject, I’m grounded. It can be quite stressful for me.
        Well, I’ll be waiting for that post, seems interesting, maybe I can get a better understanding from it. I think I don’t understand it quite well because I’m still preparing myself for a career?
        Also, by “real artistic and creative struggle is supposed to be hard but satisfying”, does that mean like me, that I love to dance and love to draw? Both activities are complicated, both are very satisfying. I don’t know, I still feel a bit confused over the whole topic and the last thing about being neck deep in a project reminded me of when I had tons of homework due for the next day and it was 12:00 am so I decided to go to bed but I got back up and finished all of my homework but turns out I never got out of bed to continue my homework. I was dreaming that I was finishing it. xD
        Hahaha, anyways, I’ll be waiting for that post soon ^^
        By the way, do you mind if I ask what type of teacher you were? As in, math, science, history, etc?

        Liked by 2 people

  4. This was saddening. Especially when you brought up the topic on teaching and education and stuff. And yeah, maybe the actual reason why I took my course was numbers. I did not love accounting. Correction. DO NOT. Who in hell loves accounting? But the goal was – and still is, to work with numbers, counting money and being good at it. The reason was because you had to realize this later in your life. I guess all those years of listening to my mom rant about every single thing you said (how people used to be married to their job) and more of the things you mentioned reminded me of her. She used to always have these movies on inspirational movies for teachers and growing up, I would watch them and be amazed at the enjoyment one teacher feels when his/her students graduate and succeeds in life (either, I guess). Doing something strictly for “love” leads to two things? Dumb and Poor? Nah. It’s all perspective, I guess. I’ve had a lot of very dear “teachers” who have been taken advantage of because of this attitude, yes, but they’re all so great and still do it. One very good example is Mr. Stratton of my Stratton’s English post. I don’t think they see it as people taking advantage of them, though. And yeah, well, sure you might not be able to afford a lot of the things you want on a whim but the utter fulfilment and joy is enough. Practicality is important in this godforsaken word, yes. we need to eat, dress, and blah blah blah. But if you look closely at the other areas of the world, if you were to watch documentaries like “The Doctor is Out” and stuff where I am pretty sure are not funded by anyone but by their own pockets, I’d still hope for humanity. That someday, people will marry their work (not become obssessed with it like in the movies) and that the ladder of self-worth becomes parralel to it once again. At least it’s what I see in my family and what I would surely like to accomplish someday if I do manage to last until regularization in this training job I have. I mean, it’s not like my mom does not complain about her salary but … I don’t know. Yeah… maybe I go watch that video to clear my head up a bit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So I’m definitely not saying you shouldn’t do what you love, or even love what you do. But what I’m saying and especially with teachers is that if all you have to gain from it is this ‘love of work’ then that’s dumb. You should feel no shame or hesitation in demanding rightful compensation for something you do and are good at and benefits the world, regardless of whether you love it or not. Like I would see teachers themselves justify poor pay and compensation by saying ‘well you do it for the love, or the kids, or whatever, not for the money’. And it’s exactly that thinking that let it get so bad in the first place because people would hear that and use it against them. It’s so unlike anything else. Take restaurant owners for example. The ones who are in there every day and in the kitchen because this is what they are passionate about and, yes, ‘love’. They work and toil but they get what they’re due. They don’t charge less or expect you to pay less because they ‘do it for love’. In education only it seems that the higher nobility of the cause has actually worked against it to lower its worth. Which is weird. Because people still keep going to it. And justifying it. Like the struggle is good. No…it’s not…fix it by stopping to contribute to it and let people feel the strain and the necessity.

      Liked by 1 person

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