DOING GOOD WORK
Work is good. We all need to work. Not for ‘the man’, not for the money, not because we have to, not to do a job, but to do good work, because good work is good for us. Because doing good work is what we were put on this Earth to do. We weren’t created to sloth about on the couch, Dorito crumbs on our shirt, rewatching Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Netflix for the third time. What an existence! We were created to work, to contribute. We aren’t struggling at the moment because we’re “bored in the house, and I’m in the house bored”, we’re struggling because 1. Things are fucked and strange and unfamiliar and uncertain. 2. We are lacking social connection 3. We are losing our connection to good work. We aren’t all doing up our backyards and rearranging the house because we are bored. We are doing it because of how we feel after doing good work. Making progressive changes, building, sweating, moving, making good use of our bodies. It helps us feel useful. It helps keep the mind occupied. It makes us feel good when we’ve completed our task.
Often although, we wish our work away. We cannot wait for it to end, for the day to be over, for Friday knock off. And oh how much we dread Monday’s! All so we can get back to our little comfort centre and stay there as long as possible. But why though? I believe it is due to two main reasons:
- You hate your job.Once the world goes back to normal and jobs are stable again I have one simple solution for you. Get a new job! You are literally wasting away 5/7ths of your week! That’s 240/365 days of the year (yes I included 4 weeks of holidays) wasted. That means you only enjoy 34% of your days. YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO ENJOY >95% OF YOUR DAYS! The money is not worth it. Get out.
- You are not present when you work.If you are working, but always pining for the end of the day, or only there for the future dollars, you cannot give good work and you will not enjoy the benefits of doing good work. If you are not present and mindful of your work, of contributing to a greater cause, of creating, labouring, progressing, inching towards a shared goal, making a small difference, you miss out on all the satisfaction that good work creates.
It is easy to label someone as lazy when they are slack at work and only seem to be there for the pay check. But I don’t believe that they are lazy. I believe that they just aren’t present, or feel a lack of connection to the job. This may be because you have a shit boss, a boss that never allows their staff to enjoy the internal benefits of doing good work. The culture of the workplace might just be shit. As I pointed out in point 1, it’s probably not the place you should work at. Businesses like that exist everywhere, businesses like that don’t last as long as ones with good cultures either. Or maybe, it may be because your head is simply somewhere else. The future. The past. Anywhere but here. Even the most monotonous of work can provide satisfaction and stillness, as long as you are present. Chopping wood, laying bricks, entering data, spinning a STOP/SLOW sign. If you are aware of your contribution to a greater cause, there is benefit to be found.
The day you wished away, you don’t get that back. Be grateful that you have it. Make the absolute most out of what is in front of you that day. Give your best effort and complete attention to every task, enjoy laughs with you coworkers, suck down a ripping hot coffee and fail at the daily crossword, take pride not in your position and status, but the importance of your place and your contribution. Be present. Do good work.
“At the break of day, when you are reluctant to get up, have this thought ready to mind: ‘I am getting up for a man’s work. Do I still then resent it, if I am going out to do what I was born for, the purpose for which I was brought into this world? Or was I created to wrap myself in blankets and keep warm?’ ‘But this is more pleasant’. Were you then born for pleasure – all for feeling, not for action? Can you not see plants, birds, ants, spiders, bees all doing their own work, each helping in their own way to order the world? And then you do not want to do the work of a human being – you do not hurry to the demands of your own nature. ‘But one needs rest too’. One does indeed: I agree. But nature has set limits to this too, just as it has to eating and drinking, and yet you go beyond these limits, beyond what you need. Not in your actions, though, not any longer: here you stay below your capability.
The point is that you do not love yourself – otherwise you would love both your own nature and purpose for you. Other men love their own pursuit and absorb themselves in its performance to exclusion of bath and food: but you have less regard for your own nature than the smith had for his metal-work, the dancer for his dancing, the money-grabber for his money, the exhibitionist for his little moment of fame. Yet these people, when impassioned, give up food and sleep for the promotion of their pursuits: and you think social action less important, less worthy of effort?”
– Marcus Aurelius