Monday, January 19, 2009

Be Willing To Do The Work

Years ago, I worked for a holding company for supermarket chains. Every summer the company hired interns. And every year, the interns were different. My two favorites were a woman who boldly bossed me around and told me that she intended to be a vice president before she was 28 and a woman who was so eager to learn that she took every project thrown her way and actually taught us a thing or two she'd learned in other internships.

How could two diametrically opposed interns be my favorites? Well, you know the saying. You're either a wonderful example or a dire warning. These two interns embodied that. LOL

I don't even have to follow up on them to realize that the woman who was so happy learning, so interested in our company, so eager to probably successful. Not that I believe she makes tons of money and is president of a company somewhere. This woman didn't need to be a company president to be happy. And what is real success other than being happy in your job, your marriage, your life?

Somehow or another over the decades the theory has wormed its way into our society that success is all about money and titles. But I'd be willing to bet that lots of us know a few unhappy wealthy people. And we probably know even more people with titles like manager, president, owner...even published author... who aren't happy. Lots of published authors don't earn out their advances. Lots of managers are people caught between management and employees. And just because a guy owns a company, that doesn't make him (or his company) successful. He could be a blooming failure!

On the flip side, even someone caught between management and employees could be happy (and therefore a success) if she loves negotiating. If being diplomatic is her forte, then solving the kinds of problems a manager must solve would make this woman's day. She would be happy in her work and, to me, a true success.

To me, finding what you're good at and matching yourself to a job that allows you to do that is the real secret to success. The girl who wanted to be a Vice President by the time she was twenty-eight had absolutely no idea what a vice president did. How could she? Different companies require different things from VPs.

She was after a title and, lured by that, she could have ended up in a job she hated. Worse, in a job she couldn't do. Unless she got lucky, I envision this woman as a failure. Not just because she wasn't clear about her abilities and what she wanted, but because she rarely worked and most often got others to do her work for her.

I titled this blog entry BE WILLING TO DO THE WORK for two reasons. First, before you can be willing to do something you have to know what it is! Before you set a goal to write a novel, start a company, seek a promotion, even raise a child, you should investigate what that job entails!

Second, work can be fun. I love to write. I love to analyze, which makes me a good plotter! (LOL) I also enjoyed being a secretary. I worked many years ago for a female attorney who was fresh out of law school. I had been a legal secretary for many years, so I quickly realized that I could help her become successful. I didn't get any more money. I got a great deal of satisfaction. That job more than any other taught me that if you love what you do, money doesn't matter.

If you choose your job well, it can be your motivation to get up in the morning.

I sometimes wonder if our current fixation with bigger and better houses and cars, boats, luxury vacations, designer labels in our suits, isn't a sign that we're dissatisfied with our job choices. With our daily lives.

I'm not just talking about our jobs. Marriage takes work, parenting takes work, yet the only time we think we should work is at our job. And then we have a negative connotation of the word work.

To me work can be fun, but I'd rather it were rewarding -- satisfying. The same is true with marriage and parenting. Giving up my choice of restaurant so my husband can have his isn't "fun" but it can be satisfying. Tolerating a child who is grounded and deliberately trying to get on my last nerve so I will lose patience and end his or her punishment isn't fun. (Ye Gawds! It certainly isn't fun.) But it can be satisfying...rewarding. Especially if the child learns his/her lesson!

Like the girl who wanted to be a VP (without a clue as to what a VP did) lots of us seek the happiness without understanding the concepts of sacrifice and service. Good parents don't merely keep their kids happy. They spend time with them, punish when necessary (and without flinching) and they teach them concepts...especially about respect and work. Happily married couples defer to each other, respect each other. They don't always demand.

In the end, those of us who do the work are happier. Our lives are fuller. And some of us even get the "rewards" of those who chase only money or status. In fact,I'd be willing to bet that in the end MORE of us who understand the concepts of service and sacrifice, who do the work, enjoy the both the financial rewards and the emotional rewards of a job well done!


No comments: