The quote “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”, is well know to be wrong. I can’t find where the quote ever came from. Work is work and whether you like the job or not is really not the issue. Any job of substance can and will wear you down. What do you do when that happens? What do you do when the occupation you love isn’t hiring, fires you, or lays you off? The closest answer I heard came from Alan Watts.
I’ve heard much from Alan Watts that doesn’t make sense to me. I try to understand “Zen”, but it eludes me. Mr. Watts died of alcoholism, so I’m not so sure that he knew how best to live life anyhow. I do find his suggestion to make work fun somewhat helpful. There are limits. Nazis had the slogan, “Work is Joy!”, so it’s not really a perfect solution.
Alan Watts gave the example of a dishwasher making his job fun. If he made it more interesting by stacking things in a certain way, timing himself in tasks, singing songs, etc. he could get through the day much easier.
I’ve done many different jobs. I can tell you that I didn’t like them. Some it took an overwhelming amount of creativity to learn to endure the days. Let’s get into more detail about how I did this and maybe it will help you endure difficult parts of your work.
My first job was detasseling corn. The tops of corn need to be removed for the seed corn process. I never understood the entire process as it wasn’t required. You were to take a row and walk down it pulling the tassels off. It was monotonous, hot, and laborious work. Sometimes the fields were muddy. In the morning, the dew would soak you. Long sleeves were required because the corn would cut you. Ohio summers were humid and hot. There was little fun to be had.
- Coworkers were great. We’d tell stories and jokes as we walked.
- Counting would tick off time. Counting footsteps or the number of tassels pulled would work for a while.
- Day dreaming about what you would spend your paycheck on and what that was going to be like was fun. At 14 your imagination runs wild.
- Observing. Just watching the clouds, insects, rhythms of the other workers, and the patterns of the fields.
Some of this helped me get by later in the Army.
I remember feeling so good at the end of a day. The sun, sweat, and work made me feel…