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Do you like your work?


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#1    pantodragon

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 03:26 PM

When Maximus (Gladiator) asked his servant if he found it difficult to do his duty, the man replied, “sometimes I do what I want to do, the rest of the time I do what I have to.”

This morning I listened to a UK, Olympic gold medallist rower, talking on the radio about her life.  She had taken to the sport while at Cambridge.  It had taken over her life.  She had to train every day, with only one day off per 3 weeks.  At the end of every day’s training she had to have the attentions of a physiotherapist.  I’m not sure she even got any holidays --- the summer was spent training on the Rhine, and that was the nearest she came to a holiday.

She clearly did not ENJOY this life --- I mean, how could she? How could anyone?  She said that she had thought of packing it in, but when she was told she could compete at the Beijing Olympics, she told herself, “Only three years, then she could pack it in.”  In other words, she only kept herself going by ticking off the days till she could escape and return to ‘normal’ life.

This is the life of so many people.  Musicians: how many hours a day for the rest of their lives do ‘great’ musicians have to spend at their instrument?  Dancers, singers, artists of all kinds, novelists included, all have to shackle themselves to their work to the exclusion of just about all else.

Elia Lamb, back in the 19th (?) century, in his Essays of Elia, bemoaned the amount of time he had to spend at work, considering that that time was time not lived for himself.  The only time he considered himself to be really living was the time he had off work; for the rest of the time, most of his life, he was just doing what he had to do.

According to Allan Bennet: “Sooner or later everything in life becomes work; even work becomes work.”  You hear writers all the time talking about what hard work it is --- they are not working on a roll of inspiration, but are grinding it out, going over and over the work to ‘improve’ it, which many and many a writer will tell you usually means taking out the bits they really enjoyed writing.  I remember one writer saying that whenever he enjoyed a piece of writing he knew it had to be bad, self-indulgent is the phrase usually used, and so he would go back at the end of a session and remove anything he had liked!!!????!!!

I MEAN, what does that say about artistic freedom, about writers actually writing the way THEY really want to write --- it says there is little or no artistic freedom, and that writers are forced to obey rules of writing that are nothing to do with their own preferences, like and dislikes etc.

Have I ever heard and artist (writer, painter, dancer whatever) talk of anything other than having to discipline themselves, having to find ways of forcing themselves to get on with the job?  I do not think I have.

Then there was the woman who was a buyer for a clothes retailer.  She had gone into that line of work because she loved clothes and wanted to work with them, but it took just a few months for her to lose her interest in clothes all together.  She stayed in the job --- you’ve got to have a job, but it had killed her biggest interest, the thing she loved most in life.

I read a crime novel (can’t remember the name) which featured a computer crime.  The detectives brought in a ‘hacker’ to help them catch the criminal, who was also a hacker.  The hacker was described as having distorted hands from working on the key-board all day every day.  He was also described as often having his hands typing a ‘phantom’ keyboard when he was away from the computer, thinking, or even when talking to other people.  I have no experience of hackers, but these sounded like ‘authentic details’ to me.  I suspect the writer contacted a hacker while researching the book.

Quite recently I asked a woman I got to know slightly since, for a time, we got the same bus home in the evenings.  I asked her what she did for a living, and was told she was a primary school teacher.  “Do you enjoy your job?” I asked her.
“Yes,” she said.  “I love it; I love the children.”
Why did I not believe her?

Writers on writing forums and writer’s groups and elsewhere critique each other’s writing to help them ‘improve’ it.  Basically they are applying the same values, rules, as editors apply to the writing of professional writers.  The members will tell you that the process is ‘painful’, that it is even ‘humiliating’, but that it is necessary.  When you ask if they enjoy writing they say they do.   If you ask if they are writing the way they want to, if they are being ‘true to themselves’, they say, “Yes.”
Why do I not believe them?

When people on these forums tell me they enjoy their jobs, why do I not believe them?

When people on these forums say they like modern technology and the internet, why do I not believe them?


Robert Graves wrote this interesting little poem:

You learned Lear's Nonsense Rhymes by heart, not rote;
You learned Pope's Iliad by rote, not heart;
These terms should be distinguished if you quote
My verses, children--keep them poles apart--
And call the man a liar who says I wrote
All that I wrote in love, for love of art.

Robert Graves recognised that writers will lie about liking writing.

I had an aunt who, when she decided to get central heating installed in her bungalow (this was many years ago), went round all her friends and acquaintances that she knew had had central heating installed and asked them about their systems.  She was looking for an assessment of the various systems.  On the basis of this experience she told me that if ever I wanted to do something similar never to ask other people what they had done/bought/had installed, because they will always lie.  They will always tell you that they had done/bought/had installed the best, or at least that it was very satisfactory.  In other words, they will never admit to their mistakes, never admit to have been taken in, never admit to having been sold a duff.   One only finds out the truth from what people let slip inadvertently --- that’s one of the problems with lies: remembering them well enough at all times that one can maintain them under all circumstances.  It is almost impossible to avoid the occasional slip up.

When I see a person with mangled toes from working on points all the time, and see that person in a lot of pain much of the time, and I see that they have to go over the same steps, the same dance moves, over and over and over and over……………… day after day after day, all day and to the virtual exclusion of any other life, and they say they love ballet dancing, why do I not believe them?

When I hear writers claiming that they love writing and yet I see that they are way short of prolific, that, in fact, they actually produce very little writing, and despite that they still say they love writing, why do I not believe them?

If I saw a fish sitting in a nest in a tree and I asked it if it enjoyed nesting in trees, and if the fish said that it did, why would I not believe it?

I would not believe it because it is not fishily possible to enjoy nesting in trees.  Even if a fish had dreams of the delights of life in the trees, it is just not designed for an arboreal existence and so it would suffer too much pain and discomfort and bad health.  And what could it do in the trees?  It could not run about and jump like a squirrel having fun; it could not sit on a branch and sing like a bird enjoying itself; it could not launch itself from a branch and ride the currents of the airways like a bird having fun; there is nothing it could do to have fun.  It would also be denied the things it is designed for, the things that come naturally to it, the things that fishes do for fun.  That is why I would not believe it if it told me it was enjoying life in the nest.

So why does the fish say, “Yes, I like life in the trees.”?  What do I think is behind the lies of the fish?

I think the fish may be dead, not on the outside, maybe, but on the inside.  Being dead on the inside, it is just going through the motions of life; it does not actually like or dislike anything and so it just mouths the platitudes.

Or I might search for a puppet-master, might suppose that the fish is just being manipulated.  The puppet master could be a boss, it could be fear, it could be competitiveness, or it could be a drug, like power.
(When a person lives in fear, they are not in control of themselves; they are ruled by fear.  When a person is competitive, they are not in control of themselves ie they do not do things for the love of the things, are not expressing and following their own likes and dislikes, but are doing things for the sake of competing.)

When people tell me they like writing/the internet/science/their job/painting/sports ………..I do not believe them because they are telling me they like doing things that it is not humanly possible to like.

I believe that if you tell the same lie often enough for long enough you come to believe it yourself.  So I do not necessarily believe that people know that they are lying, but I am alert to the inadvertent give-aways, the little slips that it is impossible to avoid, and these do not lie.

I believe some people are dead on the inside.

I believe that people are not in control of themselves, that if you look you will find a puppet master pulling the strings, and that puppet master is fear, competitiveness, power etc.


So this is why I do not always believe what people on these forums tell me about themselves.

I have often, on these same forums, been told that I am ‘deluded’, or lying, or am away in cloud-cuckoo land, or am trolling.  Why do YOU not believe me when I tell you what I think?


#2    Ryu

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Posted 05 July 2013 - 01:00 PM

I think the concept of "work" these days has evolved into something than what it used to be.
Now days work means stress that you might not even have a job the next day or the next hour. It means jumping through all sorts of circus hoops just to get a janitorial job.

"Work" is just another "I have to activity" in order to pay for the high costs of living anywhere. It used to be, it seems, that work was just that..work. It did not take up the entire day or consume all of our energy and attention, so much so that people are unable to pursue anything else because the fear of job loss is so great and the task of finding even menial work has become a major chore.

All education is geared towards that almighty job that you may or may not find (usually the latter) and few pursue education for self furtherment.
Anyways..I think some people start out liking their jobs but soon it becomes so oppressive and all consuming that it sucks any modicum of happiness or neutrality from it...

Quote

When people tell me they like writing/the internet/science/their job/painting/sports ………..I do not believe them because they are telling me they like doing things that it is not humanly possible to like.

I have to admit I do not understand this statement. Why is it not "humanely" possible to like? Could you clarify that?

At any rate I think I understand what you are getting at...what are the real reasons, if any, that a person likes what they do and are the reasons they give authentic or just a response they feel they must give because it is expected.

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#3    Beany

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Posted 05 July 2013 - 01:58 PM

I like my job. I have a lot of autonomy, some challenges that require creativity to overcome, and I can measure my effectiveness on a monthly basis. I work at a university, and the program I run, by myself, is the best among the 23 campuses in the system. Customer services is key to my success, I love building new & sustainable relationships, and being part of building a team based on mutual respect & trust. While there is no leadership conferred by my job title, I've discovered that I can be a leader in looking for solutions, innovation, and partnering. Being proactive has worked very well for me.

So, Panto, this post isn't for you. Your response is pretty much predetermined. It's for other readers who have more open minds, who might share with me some satisfaction about their jobs. And the pleasure of being self-supporting.


#4    pantodragon

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 03:22 PM

View PostBeany, on 05 July 2013 - 01:58 PM, said:

I like my job. I have a lot of autonomy, some challenges that require creativity to overcome, and I can measure my effectiveness on a monthly basis. I work at a university, and the program I run, by myself, is the best among the 23 campuses in the system. Customer services is key to my success, I love building new & sustainable relationships, and being part of building a team based on mutual respect & trust. While there is no leadership conferred by my job title, I've discovered that I can be a leader in looking for solutions, innovation, and partnering. Being proactive has worked very well for me.

So, Panto, this post isn't for you. Your response is pretty much predetermined. It's for other readers who have more open minds, who might share with me some satisfaction about their jobs. And the pleasure of being self-supporting.

I might have believed you if this didn't sound like the job description advert had gone in your ear and come out your mouth.  How about some authentic detail?  How about forget "building new & sustainable relationships", "being part of building a team based on mutual respect & trust", "looking for solutions, innovation, and partnering", and "being proactive" ---- that really is all advertising guff and says nothing about you or your job except that you've read the advertising guff.


#5    pantodragon

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 03:25 PM

View PostRyu, on 05 July 2013 - 01:00 PM, said:





I have to admit I do not understand this statement. Why is it not "humanely" possible to like? Could you clarify that?



To answer your question would take too long, a complete post in itself.  So sorry.  Nevertheless, my posts generally draw distinction between the needs of humans and the requirements of machines.  Therein can be found the beginning of a reply.


#6    Ryu

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 11:54 PM

Sounds like a cop out to me.
Since you are so skilled with words I am sure you can summarize it for intellectual clods like me.

Anyways..I can't say I "love or like" or dislike my current "job". I act as a caregiver to an elderly neighbor three times a week. I do some cooking, cleaning and shopping for her. I do it because for one we know each other, I needed a job and she can stay -for the time being- in her own home.
I do it also because there is really no one else nearby that can come and help her; her kids are quite busy with their own families and one has a business to run.

Personally I do not get much out of it except the work experience and a small check but at the same time I keep an eye on her health and I know that because she is home bound she gets lonely and not many people can come to visit.

At another job I had, years ago, I was simply a worker assembling power cords.fuses for medical devices. I only did it because I needed the work and got a paycheck. I was not interested in making friends or engaging in mind-killing small talk; listening to others brag about how soused they got on the weekend or how blitzed they plan on getting was enough to slowly kill my brain.

For me I never really viewed work as something to actually like, to me it was another "I have to" activity I had to do in order to get money and experience. It is something that takes up nearly all my energy and attention.
The very act of trying to accumulate money just to pay for the high costs of living...it ideally should not consume our entire day or deplete all of our energy so we are unable to do much more than choke down some food then do it all over again for the next several decades.

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#7    mysticwerewolf

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 12:14 AM

Once upon a time ( the last job) I was a cook in a critical care  rehab, for over 17 years  and I have been cooking sinse I  could reach the top of the stove.  I Used to like cooking. and I am fairly good at it. but now days I hate cooking
I have been unemployed, for fifteen months now  and I will admit I walked away from the job because I didn't like the job or my new boss ( eleventh boss in five years at the same job)  I finally had enough of the bull droppings  she fed everyone during the 5 weeks we worked together. ( she went on vacation for two weeks  only three days after she was hired and they had to hire a temp so she could go. )
I absolutely hated working for a living, But you know what.  I liked the paycheck I got every two weeks. and I will admit I should have put up with her for a few more weeks because as I understand it she was fired for drug use only a couple weeks after I walked out and in the fifteen months since I walked out I understand that she has been fired a half dozen different times ( it's like she is following me around ) either I interview just after she leaves the company I am talking to about employment or  I interview the day before she starts the new job and in at least  one case she is the reason I didn't get the job.
  But that is all off topic   Yes I hated the job and I hate working for a living , But I like having money coming in   You do what You need to do to get what is needed in this new world society ( money=s comfort )

edited for spelling

Edited by mysticwerewolf, 07 July 2013 - 12:25 AM.


#8    Odd Requiem

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 01:20 AM

I'm in limbo with my job. I don't hate it, I don't love it. I'm great at it, but I'm not passionate about it.

-I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.//

#9    LostSouls7

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 05:59 AM

I never liked any of my old jobs. They were all boring.
My last office job I had was easy boring and paid good money.
But was I happy No!
It was the most boring thing over and over everyday.
Sometimes there was exciting moments..

but now i am self empowered
and work for myself. I studied and learned the wisdom
of the big guys.
And let's just say I love my "job" and "work".

I don't have a boss... that's the best feeling of freedom in the world.
I also drink on the job as well. :)

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#10    DKO

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 06:33 AM

I hate my job on Mondays. But the rest of the week is not too bad. A lot of freedom in my job and decent pay.

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#11    pantodragon

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 03:36 PM

View PostRyu, on 06 July 2013 - 11:54 PM, said:

Sounds like a cop out to me.
Since you are so skilled with words I am sure you can summarize it for intellectual clods like me.


Ok, I'll have a go: if a person were to be living in a land of giants and they were trying to fit in, trying to use giants' tools and furniture and living in giants' houses, I would tell them that they are trying to do something that it is not humanly possible to do.  If I were to encounter Mowgli while he was still in the jungle living with the wolves and trying to be a wolf, I would tell him that it is not humanly possible to live like that.  If we lived in a high-tech society such as in I, Robot, and I saw someone trying to emulate the robots, trying to do what they do in the way they do it, I would tell them it is not humanly possible.  In other words, if I see somebody behaving in ways which the human mind and body are not designed for, then I say they are behaving in a way that is not humanly possible --- which does not mean they could not do it, but if they did, it would cause or require such changes to their mind and body that they coulod no longer be called human.

As to "cop out", yes.  How much energy do I think it is worth devoting to answering questions?  Sometimes the cost would be just too high --- after all, I'm not quoting from any books.  Every sentence is original, every explanation so the energy can be very high.


#12    Ryu

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 05:59 PM

Humans adapt to nearly any environment and situation so it is hardly "impossible".
We created our world so therefore it is very much possible to like the things we have developed.

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#13    little_dreamer

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 06:06 PM

All I have to say right now is - any job that makes you work significant UNPAID overtime hours per week (because they pay you a flat rate per year) - is something you need to walk away from.  Better to punch a clock at an hourly rate than put up with that nonsense.

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#14    JMPD1

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 07:22 PM

I enjoy my work.  Believe it or don't, but I do.  It provides income for my family; allows me to interact with people; makes me feel like a useful and productive member of society;  and presents some small challenges.  Of course, being human, there are days when I wonder why I keep this job, but they are few and far between.   And I honestly cannot think of any "dream job" that I would like to have.


Of all the jobs that I have had (and there are many), my current employment is definately in the top 3.  First place, hands down, is my job as a Dad.

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#15    pantodragon

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 01:38 PM

View PostJMPD1, on 10 July 2013 - 07:22 PM, said:

I enjoy my work.  Believe it or don't, but I do.  It provides income for my family; allows me to interact with people; makes me feel like a useful and productive member of society;  and presents some small challenges.  Of course, being human, there are days when I wonder why I keep this job, but they are few and far between.   And I honestly cannot think of any "dream job" that I would like to have.


Of all the jobs that I have had (and there are many), my current employment is definately in the top 3.  First place, hands down, is my job as a Dad.

As to providing an income for your family, well, one has to question the "need" im[posed on us to make an income.    As to "allows me to interact with people": are you telling me that you need employment to be able to interact with other people??!!??  I don't.  In fact, employment actually hinders and prevents me from interacting in any meaningful way with people.  And as to the dream job: to quote a slave owner responding to requests for advice from other slave owners about good slave management "keep the slave physically strong but psychologically weak" --- it is part of psychological weakness, and a part that serves slave owners well, if the slaves cannot conceive of anything better, have lost the ability to dream.





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