Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Work-Life Assimilation

It only just occurred to me a couple days ago that perhaps my workplace should be where I feel the most belonging. Up to this point, I had actually tried to ensure just the opposite. I tried to keep work at work and life outside of work. My career merely enabled me to live my life and had little to do with life itself. I needed money to survive and to pursue all my hopes and dreams which clearly had nothing to do with my work.

I am interested in many things outside of work. I am interested in writing, science, psychology, gaming, and everything else under the sun which has nothing to do with car manufacturing. I constantly feel as if I do not have enough time and energy to pursue the things I love and I am constantly frustrated that I have no dedicated friends or family that I feel a strong belonging to or that truly care about my extracurricular endeavors. Some people have churches or other organizations where they have an integral part of something bigger than themselves and I have nothing. And yet, where can I feel more connected than at work?

I dream about being the next Einstein, Hawking, or Stephen King, and yet I have no dreams about what I do for a living. Perhaps it is time that I dream about being the best I can be wherever I am and utilizing my skills where I find myself rather than wishing I could use my skills elsewhere. I see the people I work with nearly every day--who better to feel connected to? Why should they not be my life? Why not share with them my hopes and dreams and extracurricular endeavors?

I am somewhat torn on this thought, however. I have purposefully tried to keep friendship out of the workplace (while still being wholly kind and supportive, of course). The intent was to prevent personal feelings and interactions from influencing decisions--mine or otherwise. I would not want to be ostracized due to my political or religious beliefs and I would not wish to give someone preferential treatment who shares my opinions. I would not want raises to go to the best of friends, but rather to those who do the best work. And if I find a new place to work, I would prefer to not have the difficulty of leaving friends--they might feel slighted and I might feel sad. Without belonging, I could simply keep it a professional relationship centered around money and benefits and simply up and leave whenever something else suits me better.

But what does this truly afford me? I presume it only lends me to loneliness and lack of great achievement. The main thing I want in life is to feel useful in the eyes of others. I want to know that I contributed to society in a meaningful way. I never considered my contributions to my workplace to be anywhere remotely close to contributions to society, but there it is. Cars really are pretty awesome. And it takes quite a few people to make them. As a society, we can make some pretty sweet things and indeed I am helping to do that. The only thing that bugs me is that the cars will continue to be made even if I went somewhere else. I am naught but a replaceable cog in a superbly giant machine. I would like to be an irreplaceable and priceless cog. A cog that supremely matters. But that is the rub in life, is it not? None of us truly matter. Even if Einstein had never been born, surely someone else would have come to take his place and bring us to the same developments over time. No one is truly irreplaceable. Each significant person merely appeared at the right place at the right time. Thus, if we wish to be special, we should probably focus on our place at our time and try to be special right here and now. It likely cannot be any other way.

It truly begs a question, however. If I am passionate about things that are not work-related and I cannot feel belonging with my passions through my friends and family, do I try to bring these passions to work? Perhaps if I build strong relationships at work, my passions can be shared and become more fulfilling. Or do I simply give them up and let work become my passion? As a third option, do I simply find a new job which aligns with one of my passions so I can feel greater belonging in the things I care about most? This would certainly come with a pay cut, but perhaps it would accompany significant life satisfaction. Perhaps I will try the first and begin to share myself more at work. I will try to make some friends. The worst that could happen is that I am forced into the third option of finding a new career. The best that could happen is a sincere feeling of belong. The moderate affect might be that I decide it is a bad idea and perhaps trying out option two.

What do you think is best?

1. Befriend collegues and share passions at work.
2. Make work one's passion.
3. Make passions one's work.
4. Keep work and passions entirely separate.
5. Something else?

No comments:

Post a Comment