I am very happy at the moment. Perhaps the happiest and most relaxed I have ever been. Life is good, the flowers smell great and the sun is on my back. What got me here? I don’t know, probably a combination of things; I’ve got my head screwed on straight, I have a good job, a great girlfriend and a fun social life. I’ve managed to balance my time effectively, working on little pet projects but not getting obsessed. My girlfriend and I cram our weekends with activities, some exciting– like making tom-yum soup, and some mundane — like shopping at makro. It’s all good.
It’s at this point in my life that I am acutely aware of time. It slips by, week after week, month after month… Perhaps this is a morbid view of things, but it does force me to pay attention… and I find it strange how time didn’t slip by so fast when I was not in such a happy place in life… In fact it may have dragged.
My father worked for 25 years as a white collar manager. He got a R1600 HiFi on his 25th year anniversary. He still works there. Corporations do not care about you, even the good ones. Besides, we really should have more stuff going on in our lives than to expect to garner happiness from our jobs. Sure, it’s great if you can… like I said, I have a great job… it has mundane moments like any other job but makes up for the mundane with the occasional challenges and a great work environment. I do not however look to my job for happiness. I would be foolish to do so.
I would be more foolish to let my job affect my happiness… This is what this post is all about. Letting your job get the better of you. I have a friend whom I love to bits, she’s a tad crazy and always a lot of fun. She works in advertising… an industry notorious for it’s long hours, crappy work environment and stupid bosses. Even with the infamy of the industry I am gobsmacked (I literally don’t know what to say) by her stories and situations. And perhaps even more so by her apparent “okay”ness with it all. Sure she moans and groans, but she doesn’t walk out the door and say “screw you guys, I’m goin’ home!”
Is she stupid? No. Is she brainwashed? Perhaps a little…. Is she stuck? For now. Let me just paraphrase her job: She goes to work at 8am, 8:30 if she’s feeling buck. She works till 10pm most nights. 9pm is “early”. She works a few hours on each weekend. She is not being paid a huge salary.
I realise that I have a job that is essentially a walk in the park compared to what she’s going through. I’ve been with my company for a year. I’ve *had* to work overtime once and that was really just so that I could switch from one system to the next at the end of the month. I get there at 9am, take a short lunch because I actually quite like getting work done, and leave between 6 and 7… occasionally I’ll leave at 8 if I get stuck into whatever it is I’m doing.
My friend’s situation is bad… ugly even. Everyone at her company works like that. They’re like droids who’ve become brainwashed (and really, considering the stress they’re under, using the term brainwashed might not be so far off) by the routine. They brag about how late they worked, they joke with each other about taking the weekend off… they get shitty if you leave at 6.
In many ways we’re two polar opposites; but I want to bring you back to the point I made earlier. It is only now that I am happy and stress-free that I am so acutely aware of time and how it flies by so rapidly. I fear that my friend, in her stressed state, is not aware of how time is passing her by… how the number of evenings she could be sitting on the couch drinking a glass of wine with her better half are slowly disappearing… and for what? A cheap hifi after 25 years? Should she really let bad management take those evenings away from her? Those saturday mornings eating toast in bed? Those “Survivor” nights? A week-night dinner party?
Another friend of mine left his company after nearly 6 years of service. He got a framed certificate. If I had not known better I would have thought it was a joke. It wasn’t. Now he runs his own company and takes his gorgeous 5 year old daughter for walks on the Seapoint promenade while the rest of us suckers are sitting at our desks.
If this post tells you anything it should tell you this: Pay attention to your time and don’t let your job abuse it… Life is beautiful, but only for so long.