Is work just work?

  • A few years ago I was stuck working a retail job. We noticed that almost every day a truck pulled into the parking lot around 9, with the driver sitting in it till about 12. Then he'd walk to the buffet restaurant next door, go back to his truck an hour later, and leave after sitting for several more hours. We were curious- was he a private detective? waiting to serve someone a warrant? casing a store for a robbery? Finally one of the guys walked out and asked him. He was retired and had absolutely no interests. His wife pushed him out of the house in the morning because she couldn't stand his moping around. It's rather shocking when you see someone who has nothing outside of work, and then that's gone.

    That said, working a retail job for a while gives you a lot of perspective on how enjoyable database work can be.

  • SQLMac - Thursday, March 30, 2017 4:23 AM

    Work is work. It's a just a job that enables me to do the other things I love to do like ride my motorcycles, go hiking, go camping, etc. After 25 years in the work force, and close to 20 of it in IT, I'm over it. I do my job to the best of my ability, I strive to learn more to become better but I do it for me not the organization. I have learned that pouring yourself into your job is a waste of energy. You end up short changing your family, yourself, and the employer doesn't appreciate it or care much past how it affects the bottomline. Cynical? Probably, but true.

    I think that length of time in the job may have some impact on how we feel about it. I agree - work is work. When I leave work I leave it behind and do the things I enjoy in life. I'm lucky that I have a job that lets me do something I do enjoy, learn, grow, and generally keep me interested. But I don't love it. I don't put my passion into it. I save those for things that ARE my life.

  • So is our work not a chance to show the world what best we can achieve with our efforts; or fulfill our role on this planet to help and serve others? Or am I just one of those lucky ones, to be working in jobs they love?

    This isn't a binary thing. I love my job; if I won the lottery tomorrow I would keep coming to work 5 days a week just so I had something to do, at least until I figured out something else worthwhile to spend my time on.

    However, Work is just work. You can't place it above your personal well being, family time, or even your friends. If you do that you make yourself one dimensional. At my first job my boss asked why I was staying late once, and when I told him I was close to fixing a bug he sent me home. He told me there is always another bug, and he was right; fixing one more thing or finishing one more project doesn't add any more value to you as a person. Give a fair day's work for a fair day's pay and strive to have a balanced life.

  • paul.kemner - Thursday, March 30, 2017 7:21 AM

    A few years ago I was stuck working a retail job. We noticed that almost every day a truck pulled into the parking lot around 9, with the driver sitting in it till about 12. Then he'd walk to the buffet restaurant next door, go back to his truck an hour later, and leave after sitting for several more hours. ...

    Funny story... one guy in our department retired a few years ago. One morning he had to mail something important and went to the post office, but it wasn't open yet. Several other old men were sitting around also waiting for the post office to open. At that point, he decided to come back to work (part time)..

    ...

    -- FORTRAN manual for Xerox Computers --

  • jay-h - Thursday, March 30, 2017 7:05 AM

    Jason Mirsky - Wednesday, March 29, 2017 11:33 PM

    Sage advice I gave to my nephew when he graduated high school :  Find something you really enjoy doing, get good at it, and find a way to make a living doing it.     ...

    Actually, I've often advised people not to do that.

    I agree. If you care about quality in that thing you love, it's a horrible trap. Your quality standards will be higher than your customers, and you'll be undercut by the competition doing 'good enough' work. "Find something you love, turn it into a business, and learn to hate it as all the joy is sucked away" is more often what happens. I remember a book about starting your own cabinetmaking business that listed "Throw all your attitudes about quality out the window." as the first step to success.

  • If I won the lottery I would start a software company.

  • I'm currently happy in my work, broadly speaking, but I know a lot of folks aren't. But don't just play the cards you're initially given; whether or not you're happy or unhappy isn't entirely the result of a lucky draw or societal bias (unless you let it). Real professionals make their own luck by being proactive about managing their career. That's the big point I'll teach my daughters when they come of age to start their own careers.

    "Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Instead, seek what they sought." - Matsuo Basho

  • GeorgeCopeland - Thursday, March 30, 2017 7:37 AM

    If I won the lottery I would start a software company.

    If I won the lottery, something like the $200 million lottery, I would maybe go back to the small town where I was raised and start a cloud hosting data center; something that would employ local people. There actually is a technical college nearby, but once graduated folks tend to quickly move away because there just isn't any IT job market there.

    "Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Instead, seek what they sought." - Matsuo Basho

  • Interesting article, Nitin. I'd say that over the course of my career, so far, I've had jobs that are interesting and exciting. And I've had jobs that aren't. Currently I don't have a job that's either interesting nor exciting. I've mentioned this before because a couple of years ago my situation changed when I took on this job after being laid off of a previous job. I've asked back then in these forums if the situation changes between large IT groups vs. small. I've come to the conclusion that it does, or at least is likely to. Well, I won't rehash what I said back then. Bottom line, at this time for me my job is basically just a job. I'm thankful to have it.

    Kindest Regards, Rod Connect with me on LinkedIn.

  • JustMarie - Thursday, March 30, 2017 7:23 AM

    SQLMac - Thursday, March 30, 2017 4:23 AM

    Work is work. It's a just a job that enables me to do the other things I love to do like ride my motorcycles, go hiking, go camping, etc. After 25 years in the work force, and close to 20 of it in IT, I'm over it. I do my job to the best of my ability, I strive to learn more to become better but I do it for me not the organization. I have learned that pouring yourself into your job is a waste of energy. You end up short changing your family, yourself, and the employer doesn't appreciate it or care much past how it affects the bottomline. Cynical? Probably, but true.

    I think that length of time in the job may have some impact on how we feel about it. I agree - work is work. When I leave work I leave it behind and do the things I enjoy in life. I'm lucky that I have a job that lets me do something I do enjoy, learn, grow, and generally keep me interested. But I don't love it. I don't put my passion into it. I save those for things that ARE my life.

    I guess I should have clarified a bit. I love what I do, but these days I do it more for my sake than just a paycheck. I like learning, and I like the challenge, so it makes it easy for me to keep coming back. I just choose to leave the politics, drudgery, and other unpleasant stuff at work. I still like to go home and play with new stuff, learn to code. I just don't make as a big of a priority as I use to.

  • GeorgeCopeland - Thursday, March 30, 2017 7:37 AM

    If I won the lottery I would start a software company.

    If I won the lottery I would fund some scholarships for my alma mater and then do whatever the heck I wanted. Going into work would not fall into that category.

  • JustMarie - Thursday, March 30, 2017 8:27 AM

    GeorgeCopeland - Thursday, March 30, 2017 7:37 AM

    If I won the lottery I would start a software company.

    If I won the lottery I would fund some scholarships for my alma mater and then do whatever the heck I wanted. Going into work would not fall into that category.

    Yep, same. I imagine my first few years would involve a lot of plane tickets and hotel bookings!

  • I would have to say that I have enjoyed my work more in the past, but I still derive a great deal of satisfaction from what I do for a living.  I work with a great team of people and that helps quite a bit.

  • I'm good at figuring out weird problems and making computers do things, as long as people are paying me I'm relatively happy doing that.  There's inevitably going to be some give and take between doing what you want all the time and doing what you want to do but then that's pretty much the nature of work, even if you own your own company you won't own it for long if you just do whatever you want all the time.

  • I've worked in toxic environments before but that still didn't stop me from loving the kind of work I do.  Currently, I've been at the same company for over 10 years.  I work with great people who appreciate what all of us in IT do for them (I've worked in places where IT was considered the "necessary evil.")  It's amazing that I get paid to query data, make the computer do what I want it to do, problem solve.  How lucky we are to be in this field?  🙂

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