Being sixty-eight years old and semi-retired presents numerous opportunities to see life from different angles, to revisit notions I accepted as true without a thought and re-examine ideas that came with being part of the rat race.   I’m no longer part of the rat race. Or any race.  I’ve got time to think about things I wouldn’t have considered twenty years ago.   Almost daily, I have Reflections from an Older Perspective, as the slug line at the top pf the page says.  This morning, I told Muri, This is going to be a work day.  She asked, What do you mean?  I said, Work-Work, meaning paying consulting work.  Twenty years ago, there’d have been no question … I’d be getting into my car to commute to Hughes Aircraft Company.   Gardening and being a handyman around the house were Chores.  They were Work but not Work-Work.  Playing the guitar and drawing were Hobbies.   If I gave my kids a job and they said, This is boring, or This isn’t any fun, I’d say,  That’s why they call it Work.  If it was fun, they’d call it a Hobby.  I had a lot of stock answers back then.  That was also before the advent of notions like Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow.  Somehow, I doubt that book would have done well during the depression.   Somehow, I think there are lot of people with Younger Eyes starting to realize it’s not always true.

So, back to today.  After a week in Arizona, being a Papa to my grandkids, it’s time to make some progress on our company’s one job.  Work-Work.  If you’ve been following along for a while, you  know that this job requires programming in a scientific language called MATLAB.  I’m good at it.  I also find it interesting.  You  might say I enjoy it.  Do I love it?  Hmmm.   I also have taken on a small task for a former client analyzing a circuit, something I haven’t done since I was an undergraduate (shortly after the wheel was invented).   I’m doing it because I want to see if I can, because it might be fun.  But love?  I chose to be an engineer because I was good at science and engineers were making a lot of money at the time.   My Dad had always regretted choosing to join the Army instead of going to engineering school … there is no doubt that influenced me.  Perhaps I Did What Makes Money and the Like Followed.  It’s hard for me to say I love programming in MATLAB or using Laplace transforms to analyze circuits.   It sounds extraordinarily geeky.  Now, writing I love and that’s why I’m doing it today before I start my Work-Work.  I’m beginning to doubt the money will ever follow.   But that’s OK.

I sometimes wonder if these perspectives were available to me when I had Younger Eyes.  I think I’d been happier if I’d taken some time to know what I liked and loved, even when it was Work-Work.  If you still have Younger Eyes, give it a try and get back to me, OK?

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3 Comments on “Work-Work”

  1. cherperz Says:

    You’re right about the perspective from older eyes being different especially from the viewpoint of work. Now I pretty much work when I want and the things I work at such as gardening, sewing, don’t feel like work…more like fun.

    But with that being said, I never had younger eyes. I always looked at things from the vantage point of what needed to be done, had to be done, like it or not…just do it. When I hear people talk about the foolish things they did when they were young, I have nothing to contribute. I never chose to do the fun stuff over the work or study stuff.

    Now that I am older, I am doing some of what I think is the fun stuff.

  2. I’d like to think I still have YOUNGER EYES, and I really like getting the perspective from your OLDER EYES.

  3. As you know, I’m 35. I went into a field I loved, and though I graduated from college at age 22, I started doing what I loved at 20. I worked my a$$ off for it, but I was very lucky to have that opportunity. But my business has a tendency to turn on those who give to it the most. Fifteen years later, I ain’t lovin’ it. There are a lot of reasons for that, and for me, the question is: Will that have been the only work I ever loved? My first decade in my business was wonderful because I was passionate, but though my business lauds passion, it is mere lip service when it comes to the way things really shake out. It is not a high-paying field, and I am at a place in my life when I need more money in order to invest in my future. My income is squarely in the territory of Too Little To Buy Real Estate, Too Much To Find A First Job In A New Career That Pays More (or even as much). Older Eyes may say “It’s a job. You get paid. No one owes you more than that.” Having been raised the right way, I agree in theory. I realize that I’m fortunate to have a job and be able to support myself. But what I do tends to exhaust without reward (other than that highly-appreciated paycheck) and intrude on life outside of work – more so now that I don’t like it. Is doing what makes the money the better approach? I took the job I currently have for the money at significant personal “life” expense. Less than a year later, the money was taken back and I had sacrificed a great deal for a job that took even more. With professional loyalty (on both sides), pensions, job security and other things now in the past, Younger Eyes have to struggle with a new reality: not knowing what might happen next.

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