Love your work

A poem that my mother used to post in our home goes…

If you don’t like your work, You’ll need three times the energy: To force yourself to work, To resist the force, And finally to work…

-H.L. Neri

It’s Monday – one of the most dreaded days of the week, the day everyone has to go back to work or school. Then they drag themselves throughout the entire week with the hope of making it to Friday, on which they sigh in relief “T.G.I.F.” Friday is the glorious day we all look forward to reaching, a time when we can finally wind down and commence our much awaited weekends to relax and do what we really want.

Work for many is like a necessary evil. But to others it is a fulfilling endeavor, an opportunity to exercise one’s talents and realize dreams. People do what they do for all sorts of motives and reasons.

A prime driver for excellence in what we do is sheer love for our work. If it is our passion, we will naturally excel. Like an apple tree that does not need to force itself, it naturally bears apples. And like a seagull floating still against the breeze, flying through our duties and responsibilities will be almost effortless.

But why do so many people have such a negative attitude towards their work? A simple question to reflect on is this: “If you lived in a society in which everyone had no paid salary but was free to choose any vocation they desired (where every job had a vacancy), would you choose your current job?” If you answered “No”, then there you have it. You are most likely in the wrong line of work.

If your work is not something you get excited and all fired up to do as you would for your hobby or sports activity or being with your close friends, then most likely you are misemployed into taking on a role not really suited for you. So the important core issue is firstly whether we are in the right type of job or not.

There are three major decisions we have to face in life: (1) what vocation/career to undertake, (2) who to marry, and (3) where to spend eternity after this earthly life. The first relates to your specialization and skill, the second relates to whom you will spend the rest of your life with (family), and the third concerns your core beliefs or religion, which eventually spells the fate of your eternal soul.

Unlike some things in life which we had no choice on, like our ethnicity/birthplace, our parents/siblings, and which religion we grew up as a child in, we do have a choice as to which vocation we are to pursue.

Some people are in their current job because it is what their parents encouraged or even forced them to pursue. Others are less fortunate to have to settle with it because that is the only source of livelihood available in their area. But for the fortunate few, they are in their dream job – one in which they find satisfaction, fulfillment and happiness doing, a job they had always wanted to do ever since.

pisay-robotics

As a Zaxxun, one must strive to find the job he/she really enjoys. You have reached the ideal sweet spot of your career if you find yourself viewing your current job as a hobby for which you are getting paid. What would be more rewarding than being paid to have fun? A win-win situation for both you and your employer.

Does your job exercise your natural inborn talents? If you are the creative type, does it involve design? If you like socializing and meeting people, maybe a sales or marketing job is fit for you. If you like to travel and see nature and various cultures, maybe you should be a photographer for a travel magazine. If you love music, then maybe you should be playing an instrument before a crowd. And if you love to see children learn, then maybe you should be into teaching.

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But if you find yourself hating what you do and enduring that chore day in day out for most of your waking hours, then you are in a miserable state. Nobody is forcing you to stay in that state. Do not even blame your circumstances or your past. It is your mind that has trapped you into believing the lie that this is all that life can offer – that your only choice is to be resigned to just accept your fate, thankful to at least have a paycheck that ensures food on the table.

This is not God’s design for your life. God placed Adam and Eve in a garden surrounded by natural beauty and animals, and their job was to tend and care for it – something that God knew for sure they would enjoy doing. Many have the misconception that the curse for Adam’s fall was “work” itself. They fail to realize that it is the change to a harsh environment for doing work (ground bringing forth thorns and thistles, the heat of the day, and the like) which is the curse, not work itself.

There was a point in my life where I was in a decent-paying job but it was a type that I found wanting. It felt like I was missing out on the action, the way an athlete would be feeling being among the spectators rather than out there playing in the arena.

Of course, the basic reason for working is to earn money. But if money is the goal and end all – we are shortchanged and missing the mark.

Would you rather do a job that earned a five digit salary but which you didn’t really like, or would you rather have one that paid just half but which involved the kind of stuff you are so excited doing? Money should be secondary to enjoying the work you are engaged in. Don’t settle for second best if you have the option to have what’s on top of your wishlist. Life is short; why waste it on something you don’t really like doing?

Listen to the Mind of Christ in you – that gut feeling originating from the Spirit of Life, who is there to guide you to find your destiny and true role on this earth. Move to a different city or country if you have to. Pray that doors would open, and for divine appointments to come your way. There is nothing impossible to one who believes. Close your eyes and imagine yourself doing what you do best.

Like geese flying across continents to a place they don’t even know exactly, their inner compasses tell them to move on to where they should go. If you are confused as to what you should be doing, or what you are fit to do, just look at your bookshelf – it is the mirror reflecting what your interests are. Look at how you spend your free time – that activity is what you really enjoy doing, as nobody has to force you to do it. You find yourself gravitating towards doing it without being told, an activity which you may even find difficult to stop.

Ask friends and family what they observe to be what you are good at. And Jesus promised – if we keep asking, seeking, and knocking – we will receive, find and have the door opened to us. It is good to dream, but be sure it is in line with the will of God. We all have a purpose in God’s kingdom agenda, and that purpose is built into us – all we have to do is to take the step based on God’s leading.

One of the key tenets of the early Christians that transformed Europe and North America into the advanced societies in terms of productivity and culture was “vocation of work”. Work was viewed as a divine calling by God. In like manner, we should see work not as separated from our service for God (religious, Sunday-only); we should drop the line that demarcates religious and secular.

Once we adjust our lenses so as to view work or school correctly, then life won’t seem to be that difficult. We can begin to approach our offices/schools on Monday with anticipation – as the start of yet another opportunity to do what we love. As the seasons of Spring and Autumn are both fresh changes within a year’s cycle, let us view our transition between weekends and weekdays with such an attitude of welcome and anticipation.

T.G.I.M.!

Andy Philips | 2015-0426

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