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Excerpted from How to Find the Work You Love by Laurence Boldt. Copyright 1996 by Laurence Boldt. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Putnam, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.
 


"Somewhere along the line, we may have gotten the idea that life is for getting."

Laurence Boldt, How to Find the Work You Love, Part 5

Work and the Time of Your Life

My employer uses twenty-six years of my life for every year I get to keep. And what do I get in return for my life? Michael Ventura

Have you ever stopped to consider how much of your life is going into work? If you are like most people, nothing will occupy more of your waking adult life. Consider what becomes of the 168 hours you have each week. Today in, America, a typical adult works 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. In addition, we average another 1 1/2 hours daily in preparation and travel time. American adults sleep an average of 7 1/2 hours each night. If you add the work, preparation, and sleep time, you get 103 out of 168 hours. That leaves just 65 waking hours per week for anything other than work. Thirty-three, or more than half, of the remaining hours are on the weekend. That means that on weekdays, the typical person has little over 6 hours a day for anything other than work. An hour per meal leaves less than 3 1/2 remaining hours.

Since the great majority of people find neither deep meaning nor real joy in their work, it is hardly surprising that we have developed a popular fantasy called "living for the weekends." Weekends are the only time most people feel free to do what they want. Yet weekends and vacations comprise only a tiny fraction of the hours we invest in work. Spending most of your life doing something you don't enjoy or believe in to buy a little freedom on the weekends seems a terrible bargain indeed. As Joseph Campbell put it, "I think the person who takes a job in order to live--that is to say, [just] for the money--has turned himself into a slave."

On the other hand, in the words of R. G. Collingwood: "Perfect freedom is reserved for the man who lives by his own work and in that work does what he wants to do." Since you probably spend more waking hours working than doing anything else, your work must be something that you can be proud of, be creative in, and enjoy--if you are to have a happy and fulfilling life.

Work and the Meaning of Life

The only ones among you who will he really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve. Albert Schweitzer

Somewhere along the line, we may have gotten the idea that life is for getting. We think that if we could just get more money or approval, more fame or love, everything would be terrific. As corny as it may sound, giving really is what it is all about. Tapping into your desire to give is the key to unlocking, your own sense of purpose and to releasing your talents. It is the key, in other words, to finding the work you love.

Everyone wants to feel that they are making a constructive difference in the lives of others. Even the most jaded, selfish, or greedy person will offer a rationalization for how what he or she is doing is really helping people. In a sense, we are all already giving in some way. Yet, by focusing on our desire to serve, we increase our capacity to make a difference and grow into the best use of our lives. As Mahatma Gandhi put it, "Consciously or unconsciously, every one of us does render some service or other. If we cultivate the habit of doing this service deliberately, our desire for service will steadily grow stronger, and will make, not only for our own happiness, but that of the world at large."

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