What I want from a job

 I’m currently in the Basque Country where the weather has been crap for two weeks. However, thanks to Susana I can have three hours of computer-reading work every day, unless I need to collapse on my sofa for an hour or so before E. returns from the park full of energy and joy.

 Apart from getting back to writing, reading and doing some other admin work for the university, I’ve been thinking quite a lot about my job. This morning, navigating through my usual feminist blogs I found Rachel’s post “More than enough” in which she wonders “Do I need my paid work to be personally fulfilling?” Her answer is no, and that really made me think. Rachel says:

 “Right now my answer to this question is No. A couple of the gigs that are on the table for me at the moment do sound like creative, fun jobs — but do I need every job (or even most jobs) to be creative and fun? Right now, no. Right now my writing is personally fulfilling (OK, and agonizing, too), and taking care of my family is personally fulfilling, and that’s enough — more than enough, really. Meanwhile, all that I ask of my paid work is that it be satisfactory, worthwhile, and compensated decently.”

 You might think that I’m naïve, but I’ve never thought about my job from this point of view. I’m the type of person who needs my job to be personally fulfilling, otherwise I feel empty and depressed. Most of the time this translates into a not very satisfactory salary that makes me start thinking how I can get more money from my fulfilling job. As you can imagine, this ends up being not fulfilling at all because I get stressed and frustrated.

 I’m working as a part-time lecturer, writing this blog, studying for a PG in Coaching and still wondering whether or not I’m happy with my job. The reason is that I feel I’m not making enough money at the moment and not contributing in the way I would like to (for example, attending conferences and presenting papers, writing more articles in academic journals or writing more things in our blog, especially reviews). The outcome is that I don’t value what I’m doing very highly because I think it doesn’t have a big enough or successful enough impact.

 These thoughts hammer away at my brain and turn into an absolute killer, not allowing me to make the sort of compromise that Rachel talks about.

 My hope is that our second baby will blow everything out and my obsession for performing, doing well, succeeding and making more money will vanish along with the stupid idea that what I need to fulfill myself is a good job.

Natalia

2 responses to “What I want from a job

  1. I’ve struggled with the very thing my entire life. I’m sort of an “all-or-nothing” person. And by “all” I mean – either work that is fulfilling in a way that I can see that I am making positive contributions toward a greater good, and that is compensated fairly; or a personal life that is wildly fulfilling and purposeful such that compensation and seeing concrete results would only be an added bonus (thereby being OK with Rachel’s compromise). So far, I have found neither…may we both be blown away in the coming months!

  2. Best wishes to you in working it out for yourself, Natalia. And I should say that my compromise is a temporary one, suitable for this particular stage of my life. In future years, I’m going to be looking to teaching and writing to provide a greater share of my income. But will I be able to earn enough doing that sort of work? Depends on how we define enough, I suppose. And meanwhile, as it is, we’ve been cutting, cutting, cutting our budget….

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