Makin’ a Livin’

what to doQuick Look

Much heartbreak and many self-help books address career choice. We expect more from our work than ever before in human history, and many of us are disappointed.

A Tale

Each of the following is a real quote; I have listened to good people that I cared about say each one. Each one could have been developed into A Tale, but I’m grouping them today.

  • “The jobs I really loved only served to put me in debt.”
  • “I made a lot of money, but it just about killed my soul; lost my marriage, and I’m just now getting re‑connected with my kids.”
  • “Well, it pays for health insurance, and keeps a roof over my head. But that’s about it.”
  • “You don’t have to put up with that treatment! Just quit! You can do better than that; tell the jerk to shove it!”
  • “It’s my ministry; I feel called to it, no matter what.”

The Tale(s) Wagged

You and I have watched people stay too long at a job and become deeply wounded. Others have left good positions impulsively, jumped out of the frying pan only to be burned badly in the fire.

Personally, I remember hours spent taking personality inventories, trying to find A Calling of some kind. I especially envied people who seemed satisfied while making lots of money. I envied others who just seemed to be having fun with their careers, even if they weren’t really making ends meet.

I was more fortunate than many: I had several periods when my work was fulfilling, but changes in management, market conditions or personal requirements could dash my utopia to the ground. To this day, I still get scared when I watch people in libraries poring over the jobs sections in the classifieds, taking notes, reading books about resumés; it’s quite painful for me to remember those times.

I’m not sure I learned much from all this. I seemed to have approached work almost as a religion, expecting it to give me a deep sense of worth. I was also seduced by materialism, grasping for luxuries of various kinds. Between the two demands, I could seldom live with balance, seldom hear my inner self.

I’m retired now. I’m privileged and I know it and, frankly, I kinda don’t know how it all happened.

Coupla links:

Yeah, but how do we put it into practice?


Echoes on Work


About RayMunn

Husband, father, Zen guy, web designer, film-maker.
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