As I was pondering over the seemingly never ending of work at my desk and the continued thoughts of the future of gnawing at my brain, I suddenly had a flash of inspiration.
For you or for them.
Great, I asked my flash of inspiration. Would you care to elaborate?
No, it replied, as it flitted out of my office down to the coffee machine to get a refill.
Fine. I"ll figure it out on my own.
So I sat and thought about it, the papers slowly sliding around on my desk, migrating from pile to pile, my Microsoft Outlook helpfully going "ping" every time I received a new piece of e-mail. I thought and thought and thought and thought.
And then it hit me: who am I working for?
Yes, of course I know I'm working for a company. But as I've lectured myself and others for years, don't invest all your hopes in any company: they will take all the labor you can give them, be thankful for it, and then let you go at the drop of a hat. Your loyalty may be encouraged, but theirs is not guaranteed.
But I still have to work for them.
Or I still have to work.
The key, as it suddenly became apparent, is that I am working for myself, at a particular company. Am I not getting additional benefits from investing in my career through greater understanding, new skills, or even better at what I do? That's my fault, not theirs. I have a great deal of latitude within my assigned tasks to choose what I do and how I do it - they just care that the work gets done.
And those sometime extra hours and long nights? Again, if I'm getting nothing out of it except what a paycheck, it's for them. If I'm learning something out of the opportunities I'm given, it's for me.
In a somewhat bizarre way, it relates back to that getting and becoming discussion I had here and here. What am I becoming as I do any job that I do: a more skilled employee and well rounded person, or someone who just collects a paycheck and grumbles about it?