Work Purpose – Passion or Paycheck?

God only knows, God makes his plan
The information’s unavailable to the mortal man
We’re workin’ our jobs, collect our pay
Believe we’re gliding down the highway, when in fact we’re slip sliding away

Crazy lyrics, aren’t they? When you’re working a job, and are part of the masses doing a 9 to 5 gig, the above can be a little…well, unsettling.

“Slip Sliding Away” is a Paul Simon song that was blaring from the speakers of  the almost vintage Cadillac that I drive on the way to work the other day. The irony of the above lyric hit me like the cliched ton of bricks:

Is my life actually slip sliding away while I go to my cubicle each day and perform the duties of an employee?

And is that a reason to dislike, even hate, the circumstance?

I thought about it for awhile, and concluded that I’m stuck somewhere in the middle. Worker bee limbo. I neither dislike nor love the current situation as it pertains to work.

Not everyone hates their job. For some, the only emotion is indifference.

Maybe it’s a by-product of a lousy economy, but there just seems to be an avalanche of individuals these days that will no longer work for the man. They are running micro-businesses, working independently, and writing blog posts all about it. I must admit, at times I am jealous. They all seem to have it going in the right direction.

What’s an old school kinda guy to do? Well, this theory seems to work—

It’s perfectly fine to try and find some meaning within your day job, collect that check, and have a great passion outside of work.

Find something else to do, besides your job, that will stoke your fire. It doesn’t have to be related to work. Who wrote that rule anyway??

My grandmother worked day and night in her restaurant without necessarily “loving” everything that she did. My grandfather worked a shift in factories, and then went to the restaurant to help out after his day was done at the  job. I doubt he was “passionate” about most aspects of his work. He would probably say he did it for the food, the clothing, and the roof.

My job fulfills income criteria as well. That’s all I really require of it.

The idea of a “dream job” can be a fallacy for many of us. I don’t have that one singular, all consuming passion for something that I could make my living at. I do, however, love aspects of my work in sales. I love the competition and the consistent striving to be better than I was yesterday.

My passion is reserved for my God, my family, my friends, ocean front vacations, and my baseball team. My work can just be my work.

Excuse me while I work my job, collect my pay, and yes, glide down that highway.

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2 thoughts on “Work Purpose – Passion or Paycheck?

  1. “My passion is reserved for my God, my family, my friends, ocean front vacations, and my baseball team. My work can just be my work.”

    Absolutely! Work is just work. The trouble with work isn’t necessarily the job itself but the emphasis our society places on identifying a person by the work they do, not *who* they are according to what they love, what their passions are or what they do outside the office.

    That’s the wrong way of thinking and what I think is a huge part of our perspective on work. Work is something that a lot of our society seems to look down on, as if we should be doing as little of it as possible. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have that dream job that others have but we all need to make a living somehow.

    So long as you are able to find meaning in life that doesn’t revolve around how you earn your paycheck, you’re doing great in my book. I know that once I’m done with school, I’ll be on the road to a so-called “real job” too. I just hope each day that I land in something I get to love.

    Great article!

    1. Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Steve. I used to define myself totally by my work, and may still do to some extent, but as I have gotten older, that has changed for the better. If I can’t love the work, there’s plenty of love to go around outside the job. The check is all that I need.

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