“Nice work if you can get it”

Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.
~ Confucius

These are certainly words of wisdom from a wise philosopher of the past.  However, they are not the most practical.  Most of us are unable to “choose” a job we love.  We go to work because it is part of our survival mechanism.  We must work to make a living, and we are likely to accept any reasonable job that opportunity will allow. Sure, we dream of a “job we love”, and contemplate ways of finding one.  “Nice work if you can get it”.  We get up in the morning and go to our job; not our dream job, but a job that allows some time for dreaming.

Then, before we realize what has happened, we’ve married, started a family, purchased an auto, a house, and we are suddenly indebted to our job because we are indebted to an unexceptional reality.  John Lennon was quoted as having once said: “Life is what happens to you while you are busy making plans.”  We sigh and complacently remind ourselves that at least we have a job; get up at 5:00 AM, shower, shave, look into the mirror with a motivational smile, dress and make the drive, the same drive as always, to work.

I wonder how many of the other commuters at rush hour are going to a perfect job.  Not very many, but if the economy will allow, they are at least going to work.  And that is acceptable.  It will be a good day.  I’m sure of it.  The prefect job, the one we love, is surely just around the corner, and we will have a few minutes this evening to dream of it.

What did Confucius do for a living?  Well, in part he was a philosopher, thinker, political figure, educator, and founder of the Ru School of Chinese thought.  He was exceptional, and exceptional people often find exceptional careers.  Most of us are ordinary (though I expect that most of us could never be exceptional enough to admit it) and we live ordinary lives; work ordinary jobs. So, Heigh ho, heigh ho, it’s off to work we go.  We make a living, dream of paradise, and, if we receive dignity and respect at work then things are tolerable.

Of course, if one already has nice work, dignity and respect, and looks forward to the workday, then I congratulate them on their good fortune!  Otherwise, don’t give up. As Albert Einstein once said, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

M.

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