FRANK TALK ABOUT WHAT WE DO WITH OUR LIVES

Gather ‘Round, Chime In

In Notes on January 25, 2014 at 6:34 pm

1044314_615519871799168_1800749998_nIn between the new essays and interviews that are posted here, Work Stew hosts daily discussions about all manner of work-related issues over on Facebook. Picture it as a virtual water cooler, where everyone’s welcome to think out loud. We’ve had some intense talks over there, but they’ve always been civil, much as I imagine the best chats around a real water cooler might be.

Today, we’re weighing in on Miya Tokumitsu’s recent article in Slate, “In the Name of Love,” in which she argues that the omnipresent mantra ‘Do What You Love’ actually devalues work and hurts workers. Below is my brief take on the article…what are your thoughts? Join us if you have a sec, and chime in.

I agree with [Tokumitsu]. Absolutely—the aim and pursuit of making a living is meaningful enough, and as a society we desperately need policies that enable us ALL to make a living in a manner that preserves our humanity and our dignity (read that warehouse article I posted for an example of a workplace that in my opinion falls far short on this front).

At the same time, on an individual level, to achieve a higher degree of personal satisfaction, I think we all—every last one of us, not just the ‘elites’—need to think more broadly about the notion of ‘work,’ i.e. that we might pursue different kinds of work for different reasons, some because it yields an income, some because it feeds the soul.

To sum up: I would never tell someone ‘Do What You Love’—it’s far too pat—but I would say (mainly to myself): find a way to make a living and then find something that you genuinely love doing—whether it pays or not—and do as much of it as you can. A few lucky folks will get to do what they love full-time; most of us will need to jam in the work we love after a long workday spent elsewhere—but all of us will be better off for having some pursuit in our lives (even if it’s just for an hour a week) that is simply about doing Our Thing.

What other topics are simmering over at Work Stew’s Facebook pageHere’s a selection of the tidbits we’ve chatted about lately:

  • A CEO is more likely than, say, a nurse to be a psychopath.
  • Buckyballs—”the world’s best selling desk toys”—are being discontinued.
  • Career re-entry after taking time to be a stay-at-home parent is in fact really, really hard.
  • Aspiring to be a wide achiever may be more satisfying than aiming to be a high achiever.
  • And Cal Newport says we shouldn’t sweat so much about following our passions.

These types of stories are posted (almost) every day on Work Stew’s Facebook page and via Twitter. I seek them out, because reading about other people’s work lives—no matter how distant they are from mine—helps me to ponder my own career conundrums in more creative ways.

Please feel free to chime in with your own finds and thoughts at any time. I stir the stew, but it’s the many morsels from far and wide that make it rich.

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