‘I had a reservation ’bout every occupation, I was ever on the brink of.

This is a line from the excellent song Leaving Winslow on Jackson Browne’s recent release Standing in the Breech. Funny how music gets you thinking about whatever is going on. Life, love – the abundance of or lack of either is usually at the core.

But occupation is something quite different and having a reservation about your occupation is healthy, I believe. I thought about this for a while and listened to the song several times before I picked up my iPad.

You should be questioning the work you are doing and why, all day, every day! 

business

Who cares who you work for and what the politics are. There are any number of “commodity” jobs out there that haven’t been replaced by technology that you can punch in and out of.

Try the USPS which loses billions of dollars year after year. It will be there forever or until the last mailed letter gets delivered, whichever comes first. 

business

I’d be more interested in reinventing the property based lemonade stand than being in a commoditized business. It is just not interesting to always focus on the cost side of the ledger.

So why do we do what we do?

We need money, is an answer, though not a good one.

I am good at it, therefore I should do it. That’s not a good one either.

It’s what my family has always done. Yo, not so good.

Society needs me to do what I do. Ohhhhh, that’s a good one.

It’s what I love to do. That is the answer. 

Ideally, we should spring out of bed in the morning and run over our partner to shower as quickly and hygienically as possible then drive at the legal speed limit to work so we get there quickly and safely.

Then the lovin’ starts?  Nah, doesn’t work that way.

Likely there is a cue for the shower, then scrubbing bubbles stuff to deal with, then you get in your 2000 pound rubber based missile that you pilot to work. Here in Jersey we celebrate arriving at work in this order:

1. Alive

2. Before noon

3. With minor injuries

4. In good spirits

5. At all

gists

Ironically, sometimes not arriving at all ensures you the best day possible. You retrace your steps to work remotely or work from home. On the other hand, if you don’t arrive at work, back at home, or somewhere else to do it you are, unfortunately, at the other end of number 1 above.

That happens frequently on the NJ Turnpike.

I remember a time about 10 years ago when I was so in tune with my career and what I was doing, and why. While driving the hour to work I would think about how I just couldn’t wait to get there. I actually didn’t know how much money I was making, however, what was crystal clear to me was what we were trying to accomplish.  Our technology was having a dramatic impact on hundreds of thousands of users and a whole slice of the financial services market.

market

I would still question what I was doing every day and I remember coming up with the same conclusions, which is a good sign and confirms I was heading in the right direction.

Work consumes most of your time and has a heavy impact on the kind of life we lead. Constantly check in with yourself and confirm you love what you do and how you consider it. The answers, and how you are approaching work should be consistent.  If they are not, it is likely time to consider a different job in your company or finding a new place to hang your hat altogether.

My best, Chris

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