I’ve written on here before about my bitter-sweet relationship with my job. I work in the civil service and it’s a good job but it’s not the job that I love. It’s not what I would ever choose to do with my time if I didn’t need to earn the money, which isn’t a bad thing. I think that there are many many people who are earning a living while doing things they wouldn’t otherwise do. When a person is paid for work, or when they work to get something they need, it can be very satisfying. Just because it isn’t the thing you most love in the whole world doesn’t make it abhorrent.
Just getting something done through hard work can feel really good. Solving a problem can bring a rush of pleasure, even if the actual work isn’t always enjoyable.
Cultivating a garden and growing food is something that a lot of people love to do, and I really don’t think that many of those people would dig in the dirt and pull weeds and water the earth if something wasn’t going to grow that they can enjoy in some way, whether it’s eating it or selling it or enjoying its beauty.
Participating in a process and seeing the results can be hugely satisfying, and in the case of working for somebody else, that process can still be satisfying even if it’s not a process that we would have initiated on our own – even if it’s someone else’s process. Just to be a part of it and to bring it to fruition can be satisfying.
While this may be true, it is also possible to not feel that satisfaction when working on someone else’s process and this has certainly been the case for me at many points along the way in my eight plus years working for the Ontario government.
At my worst, I would say that I resent my job. I have been feeling lately that I am selling my time for a good wage, but I am grieving the time I’m selling. I want to scrape some of it back. There are so many things that I would like to be doing with that time that will not earn me as much money if any, so I feel resentful of my job. I feel stuck and I feel like I want to escape.
It’s not a good way to feel and I’m sure that it’s not healthy for a person to feel this way for long. I had mentioned in an earlier post that I was a little bit depressed at the end of last year and into the beginning of this year but that the weight of that had lifted unexpectedly. I think that much of that was due to my feelings about my job and what I am doing with my life at this point in time.
In the past couple of weeks I had felt that same frustration rising again and I was trying to figure out how to keep my feelings above water and to avoid slipping back into that depressed place. Well, I have come to something of a resolution – not that the job situation has been resolved or changed, but the resolution has been taken in my mind and it remains to be seen how all this will unfold for me.
I realized that there are a few separate areas in my life that are demanding significant chunks of time that I don’t feel I have available to give. They are:
- Renovation work on my house
- this blog
- editing and finishing my book for publication
My family is not in this list because they get the time no matter what. There is no debate about whether or not they get my time. For me that’s always been the way of it. My job is also not on the list because it always get written into the schedule in pen before any of the other stuff gets looked at.
So the way that I had been looking at my problem was that if I want to leave my job I need to find some other way to earn money. The most logical places to look for those are my writing projects (because that’s what I’m actually working on), but also the least logical place to look for those are my writing projects (because writing doesn’t make much money). Even if I could earn serious money from writing it would take a lot of time and effort to build up to that, and that’s a whole other project, when really what I want to do is to finish the writing projects I’m working on.
So then, if I want to leave my job, I have to find another job. I have to find another way to earn money. What will that be? What could that be? But if I try to find another job that earns me enough money to support my family, then won’t that become a new project that takes up a lot of the time that I’m trying to gain back by leaving my job?
Add on to this my faith. It is God who ultimately takes care of us. The source of our lives is in his hands – the way food grows and air and carbon dioxide are cycled through the system; the presence of the sun raining down light and energy for our warmth and our vision. One of the most important points of faith that has been embraced over time among those who have demonstrated a deep faith in God and in Jesus is that God takes care of us. There are so many stories about the way that God takes care of those who put their trust in him. At the same time there are many (myself included) who believe deeply in God and who work hard to follow Jesus, but who, practically speaking, don’t really trust God. They don’t need to, because they live in the midst of affluence and wealth and education.