The Dream Job

It’s been a while since I have bitched about my job. Thank God. – I’m not going to complain today. My job isn’t perfect. It’s not what I want to do for the rest of my life. Right now, I could be worse off.

But every now and then, I wonder: what would be the perfect job ? If you’ve read this blog before, or Heaven forbid, you know me, then I can just picture the grin/smirk on your face:  “Arne, quit talking about it, do something about it, get another job.” Good point. I just don’t know what I want to do. Yes, I’m completely and utterly and hopelessley helpless. I can think of a million things I would be curious about – study-wise so to speak, areas of interest. But I can’t think of anyone whose job I’d rather have than mine. Seriously, not one !!! So if there’s nothing better around, could it be that my job’s perfect ?! Talk about a dilemma.

When the only vague sense of most other jobs comes from the people who hold them, you get a bit of a distorted picture. Some may claim they love their jobs when it’s obvious they’re enslaved. Some may love doing things that I think would be the most mindless, devoid-of-purpose rat race type occupation. How could you be dedicated or passionate about something so dull and boring ? I don’t need a different job that registers at 50% on the passionometer. If it ain’t 80% or more, why make a change ?

The perfect job would have to a perfect balance of purpose, personal interests, and personal growth, for starters say 33% alotted to each. Purpose is merely saying there has to be a minimum of meaning, feeling every once in a while that your small contribution to the world will make this better. Well-measured, minute doses administered sporadically throughout the working week would totally suffice. It would be like an expensive spice, just enough to instill the promise of more to come but way below the threshold that numbs the sense. Yes, this may be a lofty goal, but the older I think that seems to matter more than it used to.

Personal interest doesn’t mean pursuing goals, records, accolades, but rather that your heart is in it. That what you do is what you love. That you’re in your element. That people believe you that you love what you do. If that’s not so, the quality of all you do will suffer.

Lastly, personal growth doesn’t mean therapy, meditation, or enlightenment. It means education, getting better at what you do, pushing the frontier, letting your career take you places – geographic and virtual – that you never thought you’d visit.

So here’s my personal SURVEY:

Purpose – Things that would make me feel like my career has purpose: investigative journalism, teaching, running a business that produces a “really good to the world” product, environmental activism, farming…

Interests – Things I would be interested in enough to take time off to study them – economics, ecology, French, landscape architecture, art history, hydrogeology, global warming, history, gardening, wine making, beer brewing, climate change, carpentry… you see my problem ?

Growth – That’s kind of a mix of the two above. Getting better at doing any of the above. Using your interests and skills to find purpose and pushing the purpose frontier by getting motivation from your interests. In the prefect job, everything is reinforcing everything else, perpetuum mobile like.

PS: I think reading the Wallace’s commencement speech I posted about yesterday got me started on this one…

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