miércoles, 22 de octubre de 2008

Just an illusion

Why is it that unemployed people go as far as attempting suicide, and people working, dream at 10am about walking barefoot in a lost beach in Thailand?
Well, my perception about jobs changed radically after my death.
At first, my career was my life, I wanted to be CEO of the company I was working for, I dreamed about a business magazine cover with some highlight about my brightness in sales or innovation, I feared nothing, just to come short on those huge expectations I had set, loved business traveling, having breakfast in one country and dinner in other, wanted speed to satisfy client needs, strategic planning, thinking out of the box, surprising competitors with new blue oceans in the industry, and so on. An MBA was an obvious next step, then I would get a regional position and begin to climb the corporate ladder from a higher step. If my job was my life what happened If I quitted or was fired? Well, I would get another life in another company, where a new industry would have different challenges and the game would begin again.
After all the thinking in the hospital, wondering about all the things I could have lost, when I got back to my office, a lot seemed different. Although everything was in the same place, something just didn’t match.
A lot of people get sick after working 14 or 16 hours a day, not eating healthy, not getting enough sleep, and living in a continuous rush, even got divorced. It was a decision: career or family. That didn’t make sense anymore. It did when life was filled with a job, but when working is just one way to get money to use it in what you really want on your free time or on holidays, other forgotten things become a priority. Health, family, friends, knowledge, intellectual growth, resting, admiring, feeling, become priceless and win over any job issue. As my ex boss sister stated: “Work takes a lot of time”
I tried to imagine working without any pay. What kind of job would I accept for free? Not many that I know. So I realized that a career was not what I wanted in life, it’s just the means to get the money we need in this world to pay for what we really want. That’s why many think about beaches and sports while working, because the best scenario would be getting your paycheck while traveling or playing, while really living. A job it’s necessary not just for the money, but for self-esteem, for feeling useful to humanity, for making good use of what we know and what we are good at, for making the best use of our potential, but is just a mean.
Some people work in something that they would do for free, just for the emotion, or for the knowledge they get or create, that’s great, and I think it’s just for a minority, other people work in whatever they can just to pay the bills, it’s a must for the responsibilities they have with kids or debts, that must be a very hard situation, and some other people are able to choose their positions, or at least have options to choose, that’s very nice. But it would be great if everybody understand that there are a lot of priorities before their jobs. Work as hard as you can in your schedule, be as efficient as possible, be creative, supportive, give everything but keep in mind it’s your job, not your life.
There might be cycles too. Workers want to be entrepreneurs, handle their own time and skip bosses, and some entrepreneurs would like the security of a monthly check.
I know a lot of people running their own business, smaller than a previous job, but happier, or ex-workaholics with newborns changing dippers without sleep, but satisfied. There are many reasons or situations that make people understand the role of their jobs in life, but there’s a lot of people killing themselves for raising the stock price for shareholders. Is it worth sacrificing health and family for someone else to change It’s yacht? Is you decision.

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