Do you see Your Work as your Calling or just a Chore?
The way we view our work can make all the difference between feeling like every day is drudgery, vs finding meaning and purpose in what we do. Every job contains an element of the mundane, or people that are difficult to get along with or who are rude and nasty, and tasks that are seemingly impossible or unpleasant. Many jobs are ingorious or humiliating. Not many of us can hold our hands up and say we love absolutely every thing we do.
I have worked in a range of different jobs, and in each there have been great and exciting parts as well as difficult and boring times. I have been in fulltime employment, I have freelanced, I have worked from home, and for a long time I have been a stay-at-home Mum, without any formal employment (but busier than I have ever been).
Before I had kids I worked full time and during those years when I had a stable income, I just couldn’t wait to start a family, to become a full-time mum. I enjoyed my job and the camaraderie of working in an office but I longed to become a mother too.
Just before I was expecting my eldest, I stopped full time work and freelanced from home. After I had four children, I certainly didn’t have many moments free to find the time for outside work. Working at being a Mum was enough, sometimes way too much to be honest. If I thought that working for a demanding boss was difficult, I had no idea what it would be like to work for four demanding little bosses, and there was no way I could just resign if I felt like it was all getting too much for me to cope with!
My struggle for the past number of years now that my kids are in school and I have free time in the mornings, is to feel like I’m spending that time productively. I also struggle to enjoy being at home and do the menial invisible stuff.
On the other hand, I battle with a lack of confidence over my abilities, I struggle to put myself out there, especially when I try to apply for jobs and don’t make it through the short listing or interview process.
Although there is always enough to keep me busy at home keeping the house clean, I don’t love housework (who does?) and the thought of this being all my life could consist of leaves me feeling depressed.
I go through patches where I feel that the life I’m living on the inside is preventing me from living the life I want to live on the outside. In other words, the way I feel about myself is affecting my outlook on life and the motivation to try new things.
This is a constant struggle for me, I have to keep reminding myself of that adage: to listen to myself less and talk to myself more, in order to overcome the negative and sometimes self pitying thoughts.
I recognise that a part of my struggle is the longing for the recognition that having a successful career brings. However, I also know without a doubt that raising a family is a valuable and irreplaceable job too.
I am discovering that the secret to being content in what ever role, whether it is working in a high prestige job, or a menial one, is finding meaning in what I am doing.
Discovering the purpose FOR what I do, is what creates the joy IN what I do. And then the contentment that follows leads to a place of peace.
There is no perfect situation but there is always something to be grateful for in whatever circumstances you may find yourself. Sometimes it may be hard to see these and I find that writing a list, even if it’s with the smallest things, is a great place to start.
These are seven points I try to adhere to that help my mind get back on track:
- Write lists of things that I am thankful for.
- Address and resolve the major issues that I am most immediately worried about.
- If I am feeling overwhelmed by a long to-do list, it helps to prioritse tasks to avoid overwhelm.
- Acknowledge my gifts and make the time to use them. This not only brings me enjoyment but can bless and serve others.
- Be proactive about setting aside time to do the things I love to do (whether it be reading a book, going for a walk by the sea or spending time with friends).
- Be diligent about spending time each day reading and meditating on inspirational scripture.
- Giving thanks and praise that I have been placed where I am for a reason (through prayer and worship).
If you are able to identify that you are called to do your work for a specific reason, then the work ceases to be a chore and becomes an opportunity for joy.
What about you, what work do you do and how do you deal with the difficult days?