The beauty about life is that it is lived day by day. You can not live two days in a row. You can not live next week in advance. You can also not go back to yesterday, what is gone is gone. You can make plans for the future, but you will still live the plan day by day… and so it goes… on and on. And this is the same with work. Work is a day to day endeavor.
Lets consider this: Your dream Job, working in a reputable prestigious international organisation (all the adjectives). It involves lots of travel, and you love to travel (and meet new important people with whom you take cool selfies). You also get paid a lot (the kind of money you used to dream about when you were still an unpaid intern somewhere, serving tea). You are so good at this job, you are even getting awards for the good work (maybe not a Nobel, but still, awards you can share on your social media). Sounds like your dream job right? Right!
But guess what, even a dream job will have a day-to-day. There will be several days when all you are really doing are mundane things that can sometimes seem inconsequential. Things like reading emails, attending meetings that could have been emails, and then writing more emails… somewhat of a bureaucratic circus. You know the drill, power points. Reports that no one reads. You can fit in lunch with a nice colleague that you like in there; or a coffee with someone whose name you may not remember afterwards, in the name of networking. Or if you work night shifts, you work several of them in a row that you literally feel disoriented. Or if you are an athlete, think of the training days (and nights). Or as a student, think about all the studying you have to do, to answer a handful of questions in an exam. I know you know how tough it was to get that scholarship, but still you have to deal with the day to day study. Think of any typical working day.
even a dream job will have a day-to-day
Most of us expend our energies aiming for the next big thing trying to get a foot in the door, a big break, to beat the sales target, to make it to the next pay check, to win the next award, to get a promotion, to graduate! And all of these are great affirmations, valid demonstration of progress. But all these are momentary highlights, they come far and in between. You will still need to deal with a day to day of whatever it is you are up to.
What if there is another way to approach work. A way in which we cherish the day-to-day. Where we create meaning out of the simplest of endeavors. To mind the details: like how we sign off an email, the tone of our voice when we speak to colleagues, to speak positively instead of complaining, to smile a little bit more and spread good cheer, to genuinely take interest in people beyond networking the next opportunity away. Could there be a way to derive a daily high on the simple pleasures of day to day work, if we worked as though what we do everyday is worth winning the most prestigious award. Like give that report all our best. Enjoy studying and learning just for studying and learning. Enjoying the training days not just the game nights.
Most of us expend our energies aiming for the next big thing
I suspect that many of us feel bogged down by uneventful days that turn to weeks and easily turn into a lack of passion for our work, frustration and a lack of motivation. Even the best jobs will have a day to day that is not about the highlights. There is not much in everyday to call home about. Yet those are the days that matter the most. Those are what 9 to 5 is made of (or 8 to 8). That is what work is. That is literally how we are spending the days of our lives.
And if you can find joy in doing small, seemingly endless inconsequential tasks. And doing them with such excellence and diligence and passion.. maybe then we live out a fulfilling working life, not just living for exciting career highlights to share on our Facebook page.
live out a fulfilling working life, not just exciting career highlights.