Over the past year, I’ve been working five days a week in an office processing papers and answering phones. Not exactly a huge fan of it.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who doesn’t love their job. Practically every day I hear my colleagues count down the hours to home time.
Yet I’m not giving up working full time anytime soon. I can’t.
We work most days of the week to financially support ourselves. Things don’t come free. Sometimes working most days of the week is the only way we can afford to buy food and pay the bills.
In the year after I finished university, I worked as a casual academic research assistant, interviewing people for health studies. This job was fun but it had erratic hours. There were weeks where I had no work which meant no pay and a single sushi roll for lunch. Eventually, I had to get a steady job to make ends meet.
Sometimes we work in a job we don’t like as it’s the only one we can find. Landing a job is more challenging and time consuming than we think. For over a year while working casually, I sent out my resume and rang employers almost every day before landing my next job. A full time one.
We work for love. A noble thing to do. With kids and a family to take care of, someone needs to be the breadwinner of the household. As I spent free time outside of my casual job writing, my Malaysian mum nagged at me to find a job and act like a filial Asian offspring whom their traditional parents can be proud of. Which I eventually did because my parents aren’t getting any younger and won’t be working forever.
Some of us don’t mind taking on any job – a boring job is better than sitting at home. We work for our self-esteem. We work to feel useful and wanted. To learn new skills.
Not all of us hate our jobs. As the saying goes, “If you love what you do, you don’t have to work a day in your life”. True, some of us are lucky enough to make a living out of what we’re passionate about, say music, painting or dance, but we’ve probably earned it one way or another, with a bit of luck on our side.
Whether we like or hate work, at some point we’ll wonder what exactly are we getting out of our jobs – and what we’re doing with our lives, what’s important to us and what really makes us happy. One year ago when I started my job, I thought would be content making a living out of sorting papers into batches and yapping on the phone. Today I can’t disagree with this more.
There’s a silver lining to every cloud. Not having to crank out a seemingly endless stream of job applications day and night is a perk of having a job, freeing up a lot of time which I spend writing. It’s nice to write without worrying if I can have another meal when I’m hungry. Nice not to hear my mum nagging at me to find a job and earning enough to set aside something for a rainy day.
Recently during lunchtime at work, I chatted to a colleague about what we did outside of “work”. I mentioned I came home everyday and wrote, and blogged too. She then asked, “So, it’s a hobby?” My heart sank.
Working is a reality check, a means to an end.
We work, at the very least, to survive.
And we work, to find ourselves.
Why do you work? What’s your dream job?