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The Real World

Somewhere between adolescence and our mid-20’s we get the message — life isn’t easy.

We aren’t kids any more.  School ends and we have bills to pay. We gradually get the message that we are finally in “the real world”, and we don’t expect things to always go our way.

The vital thing that we don’t realize until years later, and this is so subtle that it is practically evil, is the gradual erosion of what we tolerate.

We get into some situation at work and things get a little difficult. Perhaps there are some budget cuts that affect you.

You were counting on more tools to do your job, a new computer this year (finally) to replace the 5-year old model now on your desk.  You tighten the belt and continue on.

You get used to it.

This is the new normal.  Things are inconvenient but doable.

Then things at work get a little tighter.  One of your co-workers leaves for greener pastures and the company decides not to rehire.

That workload now gets shared between the remaining people in your department, including you.

You work a little harder and continue on.

You get used to it.

This is the new normal.  This is the way of things, isn’t it?   Companies are always looking for ways to be more efficient.  Work isn’t supposed to get easier, is it?  It’s supposed to get more productive.

Slowly, over time, you notice that any joy that you had for your work is slowly being squeezed away into the push to churn out more units.  Something inside seems wrong, but we can’t quite put our finger on it.

You Notice the Tension

You start to develop this groaning sense that work should be different some how.  You remember when you used to have time to do quality work, something that you were proud of.

Now, because of workload you just are not comfortable with half of what you have to pass off as “done”.  You want things to be just a little bit, and I struggle to find the right word here, better.

Secretly you wish that you just had more time, or more budget. You want the freedom to create. You don’t want to feel like a cog in a machine. You start to feel that life happens to you instead of the other way around.

There has to be a better way somewhere, somehow, right?

Yet, and here is where the tension starts, you feel that sharing these thoughts with your coworkers is dangerous, that you would be derided for being too idealistic, too Pollyanna.

You get visions of some old-school boss saying, “We don’t always get what we want.  Work is hard.  That’s just the way things are! By the way, the department is going to be working Saturdays for the next few months.”

Choose to Shine!

Some part of us needs to be reminded that you were not created to trudge through life, living small.

You were created to shine.

That tension you are feeling between the work you are doing and the work that you wish you could do probably won’t go away any time soon.

Press into it.  See where that desire takes you.

This doesn’t mean that you should quit your job tomorrow, but you should start paying attention to those desires.  You were not created to be continually pushed and pressed into a more efficient human machine.