The Nature of Work

I’ve been talking about, and have been focused on, a spiritual journey for the past several weeks. Now I want to focus on work, or Work, in Life Area terms.

I’ve had a love/hate affair with work. Over the years, I’ve realized I’ve been confused about what work is, what it means to me, and how to best utilize myself. Productivity, improvement, and industriousness are values that are passed around, commonly accepted, but seldom questioned. Maybe some people have their work figured out, but I’m still “working” on this puzzle.

Work vs. a job
I’ve had various jobs which I’ve hated, jobs which I didn’t hate quite as much, and jobs which I kind of loved. Maybe it’s easiest to think of a job as something you do for money, or work you do for someone else, irregardless of how you feel about it. If you happen to like the job, that’s a bonus. When it comes to a job, I keep the saying “do what you love, love what you do” in mind.

Work vs. a career
Technically, I’m supposed to be a computer animator, but that didn’t quite work out. I’ve been attempting to be a sci-fi/fantasy illustrator, comics artist, and writer for years, with varying levels of success and setbacks. The thing I seem to excel at is being kind of good at several things, but not an expert at any of them.

I imagine a career can be built upon whether you’re competent, an expert, or a master at something. If you’re competent, people will be willing to pay you, but you won’t stand out from the crowd of other competent workers. If you’re an expert, people will actively seek out your work, and you can demand a higher price. If you’re a master, people will recognize your work as being among the greatest examples of what can be accomplished.

Skill level doesn’t necessarily equate to money or fame. Someone whose work is great may not be as rich and famous as someone who is mediocre. Marketing, promoting, and luck plays a big part in how much money you make.

Work vs. a calling
A calling is a strange and powerful thing, and it may not have anything to do with a job or career at all. I feel a calling to draw, paint, write, and pursue other creative endeavors. On a deeper level, I feel a calling to inspire people the way I’ve been inspired by great works of art. I suppose my calling is to be an artist, but pursuing a calling isn’t something that’s just handed to you. You need to commit and devote yourself to your calling as you would someone you love.

Work is work
I’m realizing that much of what I do is work. Work can take on different forms, from being a job, to a career, or a calling. It seems like as long as we inhabit a human body we need to work. Figuring out the best way to do it, and making peace with the work we do, can go a long way in creating a better world. That’s my take on it, anyway.

~ ST


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Artist | Writer | Musician

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