To All the (Un)Gainfully Employed…

Disclaimer: There are a lot of generalizations in the post that is to follow. I judge not. I am simply expressing one point of view. As we’ve established from my previous post on personal brands of crazy, et al, I have many, many feelings on the same topic that I apply accordingly based on the day, time, phase of moon, and Baskin & Robbin’s Flavor of the Month.

I’d like to dedicate this post to everyone out there like me… And for today’s discussion, I assign “like me” to the following definition:

– Loads of untapped potential and intelligence. (Make it butt loads for emphasis.)
– Good at a lot, great at nothing.
– Loves too many things to settle down comfortably into a passion for one thing.
– Caught up in clockwatching.
– Way more interested in the part of life that you can actually claim ownership to – you know, the hours spent outside of work.

And so, I reference The Vogues, “Five O’Clock World” (a.k.a. The Drew Cary Show theme song):

This song is instrumentally, vocally, and lyrically classic. It speaks volumes on the average American attitude on career and life, respectively. It lifts my soul from long, monotonous days at the computer to a place that is free and playful and more importantly… mine. It reminds me of how much more the things outside of my job matter to me than climbing the proverbial ladder, assuring less and less time that is my own. One of the things I do love about my job is how little it impacts the rest of my life. No late nights. No overtime. No weekend deadlines.

But I am fickle, I admit. These thoughts make me feel both successful and utterly unsuccessful. I mean, success has a very personal definition, custom denoted to each of us. I feel successful in that I’ve found a job that is very flexible, no strings attached, that I am quite good at. But am I accomplishing anything? Am I making a killer salary? Do I love what I do? Am I challenged? No, no, no, and no. Sometimes I think, if I found a career that I loved and was sincerely interested in, my ambition would be ignited and I would be won over to the “my career is part of who I am” side. It’s a slippery slope. 

The “career” topic is one that I have great angst over. If provoked, I could spend countless hours becoming dreadfully depressed over the cyclical battle of ambition vs. love vs. life vs. career vs. success.

But mostly, I feel so resentful of the time that work claims within its salaried parentheses. I feel resentful that someone owns so much of my life, mandates what I’m supposed to be doing between the hours of 9:00 and 5:00 Monday – Friday. Don’t misunderstand me – I take pride in the quality of work that I do. I understand the need to work.  That’s just life. I’m not a fool. And yes, I am grateful for my job (which is actually a great job, all things considered), especially in our dire economy. But… It’s a Monday; I’m American, and I’m allowed to complain.

Wow, this post was intended to be an homage to the aforementioned song, but has instead spiraled into a long ranting of my personal struggle with the concepts of work and career. Time to book some couch time maybe?

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