Welcome to Ask April, a no-nonsense advice column focusing on what it is you can do to correct things that need correcting. While we all know much in life is out of our control, and sometimes, our reaction is all we CAN control- we really do have a lot of personal power, thankfully. Our will is just as important as the wills of others around us, and while we need to be considerate, we also need to make sure others are equally considerate of us. It is my hope that when you write in to me, asking advice, that I can help you make a good decision that somehow improves whatever situation you’ve found yourself in. As with anything I share, I recommend people don’t automatically take my word for anything, but include my advice in with the rest of the things that help them make a decision. I wish you well. Read on.
Every other week, I answer a call for advice, and every other week, I share my views on something I observed- I call this Observational Wisdom.
Today’s column is observational wisdom.
Our society has created the expectation that our jobs be what give us life fulfillment. The reality is, sometimes, we do jobs that are a four letter word, WORK, and we have to pursue our interests in our spare time. Think that is too much to ask? Let’s think about it.
If you work eight hours a day, and sleep eight hours a day, that leaves eight hours free. Let’s say it takes an hour or less to get ready to go in the a.m. If it takes longer than that, and you are just getting yourself ready, you can simplify your routine. Do not count showering as getting ready for work, because you would do that anyways- I hope. And is getting up and getting dressed such a chore? Then it is time for a wardrobe change, perhaps. I worked in business directly with corporate and went from wearing dry clean only clothes to wearing clothes I washed at home, and wrinkle free was just as acceptable. To cut down on laundry, unless you work in a dirty job or a germy job, wear today’s slacks again tomorrow if they have not stained, and just change your top.
Do you go to the gym every day before work? Don’t count that as your before work regime because you would do that anyways.
You would do all you do to get ready in the morning anyways, even if your job entailed following your bliss, so that does not even count. Your commute to and from work is the only thing it is fair to count as another thing eating into your hours. Let’s say it is one hour to work and one hour back home, which I think we all agree is a haul! However, that still leaves six hours free.
So roughly, you have six free hours a day to do something you like. That is 30 hours through the week, and then you almost always have two whole days off as well for whatever you see fit. That is more than the hours that you work. What is your excuse for not using those hours to follow your bliss?
Now if you don’t think earning the money to pay bills is important, that is up to you.
Unfortunately, the reality is, nobody is going to pay you so that you can be happy. You get paid for doing a service that is valuable to others, and it makes THEM happy. When you go someplace to do business, are you thinking if your transaction adds to the personal satisfaction of the person waiting on you, or are you there to get some good or service? Do you care what the person’s background and their hopes and aspirations is or do you care if they can deliver some good or service the way you want it?
Each and every person who we do business with is an individual who has both realized certain dreams and is working towards others. They are working to pay bills and their job may or may not be a reflection of their personality and current and future plans. All of us earn money by doing something that contributes to our community, and the community thus gives us money that contributes to our lives. That is what working is. Making the customer happy.
The two ladies who operate the business where I do tarot readings have worked regular jobs for years. One works at a bank, and the other as a professional contractor. They talked about their dream of opening this place of business for many years before they actually did it. They saved money, and waited until the right house came available at the perfect location for them to do it. They both also still work their day jobs and do this on the side. Neither has been seen crying about the injustice of life because they have to earn money to pay bills and did not get their dream business the minute they decided they wanted it. They dreamed of it, made a plan, stuck to it, worked hard, and they got what they wanted. I have so much respect for these two ladies, and I am not saying that to suck up because they are my bosses.
I respect the fact they were practical and put in the work to get what they wanted instead of being whiney little bitches and expecting the world to just GIVE it to them.
I am tired of all the bellyaching and boo hooing I hear from people about how the world crushed their dreams. The world has never crushed a dream. The world is the place that has the resources we need to collect to make those dreams happen.
A job is not the answer to everything, and needing a job to survive is not an injustice, nor is it something the world is required to take off your plate. In today’s work world, the reality is, few stay at companies all their lives. There was a time when people did, but these days, it just does not happen that often. It is typical to change jobs every five years or less, even if you stay in the same field, and usually, a job is not the ONLY job we will have. If you hate your job, it might take time to find another, but there will be another to be had.
The time when it is an emergency is if the job does not pay enough, or if the job is a toxic environment. Just because a job is hard or is not fun does not make it toxic. If the only struggle at your job is that you would rather be at home playing video games, watching TV, sleeping, or pursuing a hobby that you cannot earn money doing, then shut up your whining, get over yourself, and accept the fact that you have to work to earn money and support yourself like the rest of us poor bastards. Nobody is going to go work and pay your bills so you can NOT work because you don’t want to.
There was a time we took pride in our jobs and supporting our families, and now it seems PC to brag that you get out of working and have no responsibilities. I can’t help but notice this is supported by the big advertisers that sell expensive products. They encourage us to think of only desires as opposed to working towards our goals.
For example, there is a Porche ad that says, “Small penis? Have I got a car for you.” So having this expensive car can get you laid? This completely disregards the fact most women make fun of small, expensive cars , calling them midlife crisis cars. It also completely disregards the emotional intimacy that goes into relationships and sex in general. What to get laid? Be a good person and you are more likely to draw a mate.
Another ad shows a retirement apartment community, and claims that living there will fulfill the dreams of complete peace of mind and allowing buyers to live life to the fullest. Last I checked, living life to the fullest cannot be done INSIDE an apartment necessarily, and if said retiree is in poor health, this is just an apartment with NO nursing or staff onsite. Neighbors will not necessarily befriend you or check on you. This hardly gives peace of mind.
Next is an ad for Marian Carey’s Dreams perfume. It says “Realize Your Dreams”. So, if I want to be an astronaut, all I have to put this perfume on, and it happens, right? The ad shows Carey in a very seductive pose looking very satisfied. Does this mean that if I wear this, it will give me a fabulous orgasm, or that all the men will want me and all I have to do is put this on to get sex? While I agree hygiene is VERY important, I have met plenty of good smellng people I would not fuck and I also realize that although I smell good, and have had plenty of lovers, there have been times I have been celibate, perfume or no.
The point I am trying to make is that we all dream of various things from being desired, to having good transportation, to having a safe, secure home. We live in a society where the things we buy are advertised to be more than what they are. They are supposedly the keys to make ALL of our dreams come true.
Product advertisers are not the only ones who manipulate us into thinking of nothing but desires. How many have been asked from the time they were a child, “What do you want to BE when you grow up?” Not, “What kinds of things do you like to do.” Or “What do you feel you are good at?” We are asked what we want to BE. The truth is we equate what we will BE with whatever job we will be doing. Folks, I have been a college student , a clown, a volunteer in many settings, a cavern tour guide, a Nursing Home Activity Professional, a retail cashier, a paid artist and crocheter, an MR/DD adult caretaker, a babysitter, and a tarot reader. I have always been the very same person despite all these jobs I have done. I will do other jobs before I pass on, but I will still be me. I have enjoyed some jobs more than others. Some jobs have paid better than others, but they all provided a service that was considered of value to other people, so they paid me to do so.
It is the same for everybody else.
We need to stop letting other people brainwash us into believing life is only about getting what we want and avoiding what we do not want. They do not want to make our dreams come true. They want to sell a product. They, and those who program us to believe our jobs make us who we are, have created an unrealistic expectation we lament when we are forced to accept that the job is just a part of our lives, and sometimes we have to take a job that pays the bills, and pursue our interests outside of work. This is not an injustice or the world crushing our spirits and dreams. It is reality, and we all face this at some point.
A lady once told me that they call it work for a reason and that it is indeed, a four letter word! We can handle it, and we can have our dreams too. Maybe not today, and maybe not to earn a living with, but we have the time, and thanks to working, we have the resources to make it happen!