Saturday, November 5, 2011

Working for a living

Minds can easily get views that are out of proportion.  We all have to make a living.  Making a living can easily change to making all the money possible.  Attempting that can be an obsession.  

Theorists and observers have long noted that we tend to develop all sorts of obsessions.  There is no easy yardstick to measure a drive or interest to see if it has grown into an obsession.  Those people who are concerned with the subject have a tendency to quickly apply the label "addiction".  So, modern Americans are said to have this addiction or that.  Addictions are often said to be in place when continuing the practice seems to interfere with living a good life.  

Prof. Grant Hardy spoke of an ancient Hindu holy man who so wanted to avoid killing any living thing that he decided he could not allow himself to eat any animal or plant or anything derived from either.  That man starved to death.  I would rather eat an apple or a hamburger than starve to death but I can't really say whether the holy man would have lived a better life if he had my tastes instead of his devotion.

Similarly, with earning a living or making maximum amounts of money.  I can be said to be too lazy to working for more money if I have enough.  I can be said to keep a balanced perspective if I decline to work for more when I feel I have enough.  I find I enjoy life and am motivated to live if I have some money but once I have reached enough, more earning is not satisfying.  But, I can't really say whether the clever stock manipulator who earns millions and billions is living as well as possible.  

I think it is also wise to examine jobs and projects for their interest and fun levels as activities in themselves.  Brian Christian mentions a woman friend who worked as a coffee bar barista while in college.  She was a veritable ballerina behind the bar, chatting, smiling, brewing and pouring with grace and enthusiasm.  Then, she graduated and used her major of computer science to land a beginning job of data entry.  It was quite boring and dreary and she often thought about her barista job.  

It is not easy to find a job that pays a satisfactory amount and also is a satisfactory activity.  But it is worth mustering the energy to try every now and then since finding, or making, or lucking into one can be very worthwhile.

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