Thursday, January 3, 2008

Work, Pay, Life.

Strangely it's rarely the work that is the big problem with a job. Most people can learn how to process the paper, or give the training. It's not the day to day nuts and bolts that are what drive people crazy it's; The lies, the old boy network, the dealing with the expectations of others, the bosses that want all the credit for your work and insist that you make them look good but don't care about you, the disrespect of the median, and generally the ego driven and high school reflection of the american work place. I have worked several jobs (yes I have had a few) over the years, where what drove me away wasn't the work. I have even had managers who did everything in their power to stop me from growing and moving on tell me over and over that I did a great job.

Several years ago I was working at the University of Michigan, working as a Housing Security officer, I was doing my rounds (as in doing the JOB) and I passed a young couple who where talking and this is the part of their discussion that I heard

Girl: There are poor people in the world and it makes me sad
Boy: That's the way the world works and there isn't anything that we can do about it.
Girl: but it makes me sad

Now this is a young couple at a very large, very liberal, very social transformation agenda, and someone that is feeling, thinking and showing a desire, or at least the first step towards breaking out of the safe-american-home mode, and her boyfriend just shut her down...

That's just the way that it is.... or at least that's what most people will tell you.... but really what gets me going all of the time is the fact that it doesn't have to be this way. Really you know if people were just a little less greedy, a little more thoughtful and a little more willing to be open and put a little more trust in the guy in the cubical next to them, or behind them or what ever the frustration, apathy and unhappiness in many work places could be lessened.

One thing that is on a lot of peoples mind when they think about work is the pay. Let's face it one of the truths of life is the more money you have, the more you can buy your way out of the tribulations and trials of the world, or lessen their impact... really it all comes down to something that one of my high school teachers said in class one day 'The more bread you have, the less shit you have to eat!" Yes I know that's not an original statement on his part, but it was the point when I heard it and it stuck with me. So a few thoughts about pay.

Pay is a tricky and emotional issue. It's very tricky and it's of great importance to everyone. It's how people put a roof over their head, put food on the table and provide clothes and transportation..... not to mention afford the special little (or big things) that make life worth enjoying.... really for me, all I want is enough to keep me off the streets to pay my bills (which I consider to be modest for the most part) and to afford the non essentials that I enjoy. I have no desire for lots and lots of money, if for some reason I started to make or was give a huge pile of money I wouldn't turn it down, but I am not chasing it. I think that most people really just want what they need to cover the basics and to take care of their other needs.

I was at one of my jobs recently (I am just finishing up a seasonal job and have a very part time other job at the moment) and one of the women asked me what I wanted to be doing in 20 years (or something to that effect) and the best that I could come up with is traveling the world. Obviously, if I could find a job that allowed me frequent travel that would be ideal, I think that it would be a good use of my life and time... and that's the last thing that I want to talk about... life. I have lots of insight to life, and what it means, at least for me. What I realize if that it is simply the time that one has and what you do with that time. Do you chase after pleasure, wealth, power, or simply the ability to live in comfort? I have seen a lot of stuff in my 35 years, not all of it good, not all of it bad, and for me, what I search for seems pretty simple, and that's to enjoy the journey. To follow the road and enjoy, engage and live each stop on the way.

I think that's enough for today. Am I making sense? is there something that I left unfinished? Is there anyone out there? Thoughts, comments, wanna cook me dinner, spare change?

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