Saturday, February 14, 2009

Wisdom and Work

So I went walking in the dark and windy cold tonight, arguing with God.

My argument? Do the exercise of self examination - strengths, passions, obligations - gave me exactly what I feared: a list of things that I want to do, would love to do, but simply cannot do. Why? Simple answer: making a living.

So I walk around, angry that I had to go through the exercise yet again, angry for the reminder of how far I am from what I am interested in, far from the what I dream of.

And then God, in form (I presume) of Wisdom, starts talking to me.

"Pretty cranked about this, hmm?"

Stomp stomp stomp in the dark. "You have no idea. I can't believe I went through this whole exercise yet again."

"You don't think it's valuable."

"Of course I think it's valuable. It's just that it's painful. Maybe you missed the part where I'm out of a job now, and I have a phone interview on Monday which is in the industry I am currently in - far away, I can assure you, from my strengths and passions."

Stomp stomp splash stomp.

Wisdom tried a different tack. "So how's everything you used to track."

"Huh?"

"You know, when you got bored at work. The stuff you would look up, the stuff that you thought were so significant."

"Haven't really followed it. Doesn't have much meaning now, being without a job."

Stomp splash cross street stomp

"So your saying that now that you have the time, you're not doing anything with those things?"

"Of course not. I'm focused on finding a job."

"Even though these others things were more important?"

"Well yes, I need to focus on finding work."

"So you're saying that you can focus on what is important when it matters, to the point you let others things go. Just a matter of perspective?"

Stomp stomp stop. I hate it when he does that.

"Yes, I suppose that's true."

Walking in a more calm manner now.

Wisdom started in again as we turned the corner. "I know this isn't necessarily the greatest thing for what you believe your strengths and passions to be. At the same time, there are gradations in what you do. Move towards those. And look at the bigger picture. Depending on where you end up, this could make a lot of those other things work for you. Not full time, no. But imagine what you could do if you have the focus and you are where you're not worrying about next week's income. Focus? You've already shown you can make something you're focus. It's a matter of be willing to do it - or, as that quote you read this week said, boys live in fantasy worlds, men deal with reality."

Walk walk walk

"Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings, he will not stand before obscure men."

"Proverbs 22:29, right?"

"Right. Standing before kings doesn't sound like being completely bored out of your mind or not having other interests to me. Sounds pretty interesting and important."

"I hate it when you're right."

"Well, you said you wanted wisdom. You know what they say."

"Be careful what you pray for?"

"Yup."

2 comments:

  1. I think this is a very telling post. You have made a significant self-discovery.
    "So you're saying that you can focus on what is important when it matters, to the point you let others things go. Just a matter of perspective."
    When I was in my 30's I wasted time regretting that I wasn't a forest ranger. I wasn't willing to go school at night to get the necessary degree that would have allowed me to pursue it. Later on in my late 40's when I could have gone back to school I found excuses why I no longer was suited to pursue it. I think I finally got a glimpse of the bigger picture and realised it didn't matter what I did as long as I made a difference in whatever I chose to do. I think you are realising the same thing now.

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  2. Wow - you make me feel like I actually accomplished in a reasoned and logical fashion. Sad to say, it was mostly forged out in the last five minutes of my walk afer grumping for 40 minutes.

    I would agree with what you say, although I might put a slight twist in my thoughts.

    1) There are parts of my job that I do enjoy - audting, for example, including the report writing and follow-up. There are parts that I don't. I need to gravitate towards those parts that I do enjoy (and tend to want to be better at).

    2) Even within my current job function, there are things I like to do - as I mentioned above, the report writing, the application of regulations, the creation of new systems. I can do that in my current career field - again, I just need to focus my attention in those areas.

    3) Other things that I want to do, to be crass about it, require money. I happen to work in a well paying industry (when I have a job, that is). I need to use this to get to the other places - not just that sort of "well, I'll do it someday" but set aside the money (and time) to move towards those other goals.

    Le Quebecois is the inspiration here. He did what he could within the industry he worked in to stay active and interested, eventually focusing on those parts he liked - along with his eyes on the prize of what to do after that. Say thanks to him for me.

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