I was chatting with Mitch the 10-year-old this week.
As an aside, how good is it when your kids reach a point where the conversations turn interesting, and insightful and not just about crayons, lego and fart jokes (ok, I confess one of those topics of conversation is primarily my responsibility in our family)?
Anyway…leaving that mental image aside…out of the blue, Mitch said to me:
“Dad, do you enjoy your job?”
Do I enjoy my job. Interesting question. Well…do I enjoy my job?
I made some non-committal answer like “sometimes I do Mitch, and sometimes I don’t”.
“If I had your job Dad, I would enjoy it a lot!”
I’m assuming he was talking about my real 9-5 job, not the other in which I moonlight as a columnist and product tester for a R/C car magazine.
The truth of course, in adult world, is that most of us have parts of our job/life that we thoroughly enjoy, and parts that we don’t. The bits of my job where I’m trying to channel creativity, getting involved in interesting conversations that unfold possibility, that help people (including me) see light…these I enjoy thoroughly. The bits that are administrative, organising events, management tasks…well….not so much.
But Mitch’s question has stuck with me, because in an adult-kind-of-way to brush it off with a “sometimes yes, sometimes no” answer seems to do it (and him) a disservice.
I think the deeper question he was asking might be something like “am I glad I do what I do? is it more than just a job? do I look forward to the opportunities I have in my work?”
Or maybe “you spend a lot of time at work Dad (subtext: when you could be playing cricket with me), is it all worthwhile?”
Maybe the truth is that while I’d like to be a glass-half-full kind of guy, I’ve accidentally slipped into a kind of pessimism about the organisation I work for and it’s challenging future. And from that point of view, the word “enjoy” doesn’t quite fit.
So my challenge, for 2014, is to reshape that attitude, to look for the possibility and the potential in every day. To remember my sense of excitement about my work in this organisation, alongside these excellent people.
To reach a point where I am able to answer honestly the next time Mitch asks if I enjoy my job:
“You bet I do”
How about you…do you enjoy your job?
And just because it’s my role in my family…here’s a little gratuitous dad humour for you:
Great questions Scott. I know i myself have fallen in and out and back in like with my Job, I have to say those times when i feel like I’m making a difference are the time when i most like what i do!
That’s the challenge isn’t it Will? To get out of the habit of being in and out of “like” with the job? To try and find a way to “enjoy” or value it even when not making a noticeable difference (right this minute)?
By the way, glad to see you writing over at In a mirror darkly