November 28, 2007

Horse 833 - Work

Work equals a force applied over a displacement... er...

The Prawny Bard in his blog writes these words:
I’ve felt for ages now that if you’re going to spend 80% of your week at work, you need to be doing a job that you like and can find some satisfaction. I personally can’t understand how people can get up and go to a job that they really don’t like. And I must add that that is a very personal though, and a genuine non-understanding of how people can think like that - simply because that’s not who I am.
- Prawn 27-11-07
This is the answer from the other side of the fence.

Work, that vicious nasty "four letter" word. Some would have you believe that it's a necessary evil but still an evil. This quite frankly is a load of crap. Work is not only a good thing in an of itself, it's also something which we were created to do.
Cast your minds back to Genesis 1... what? No seriously. Genesis 1:26-31. What do we find? Work. Specifically the oldest profession in the world (which by the way isn't prostitution) - farming. The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. (2:15)
So then, if work is a good thing, why do I hate my job?

Actually if you really want to know the truth, the main reason why I don't like my job is mainly due to the effects of the curse. Work is now cursed by difficulties, frustration and unintended consequences. You pay bills, and there's new ones to pay tomorrow. You spend days preparing a set of accounts, and you still stumble over the critical points when talking to the customer. You take on an easy job, and it takes three times as long as you thought. This doesn’t mean we should avoid work. Instead, it means we must work harder!

As someone who works in an Accountancy office, I can tell you that there is absolutely no way to make numbers fun. After sitting through 12 years of schooling and then 4 more in tertiary institutions (and afterwards, I should be put into one) you'd wonder why anyone would sign up for this job in the first place.
My first problem is that I happen to be quite brilliant at what I do. I know not only what it is to do a job well but also to acheive perfection. The thing with maths is that in some cases it's an exacting science, a pure world. There are no greys, only right and wrong. Virtually most of the "normal" tasks I do have a set of figures and only one way to plug them in. From the outset, having no creativity with what you can do with the information isn't condusive to fun at all.

Working in the environment that I do means that apart from the clacking of keys, there is otherwise very little noise. There is the drone of the air-con and the occasional rumble of traffic outside; again there's not a whole heap of interaction with anything. Since I am essentially an indentured servant, what the boss says goes and I have no problem with that, since that's a proper and decent situation (and since business risk rests on his shoulders, by looking out for my boss I also by inference am looking out for myself). If I can do the best job for my boss that I can and he's happy, then my function is fulfilled.

One reason why I don't like work is mainly due to my character, yet there is a paradox wrapped up in this. Dylan Thomas once wrote about "raging against the dying of the light" - I need to rage against things. If I actively dislike my work, I find that I want to do a better, squarer and more exact job of it; that in itself is a challenge which is worthy.

The way I see it, work can be described with the words said of Manfred von Richthofen, that is, he was a "gallant and worthy foe". One always finds a satisfaction from beating one's foes; if work is one of them, then even disliking it and beating it can provide enough satisfaction to go back and fight it yet again.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Numbers are fun.
Creativity can be torture.

No creativity means being able to look at a problem, devise a solution and be done. Creativity means looking at a problem, rejecting hundreds of ideas, hating yourself, tearing out your hair, and finally choosing the least awful solution, and using your remaining time to put together a half-arsed piece of work that will only be evaluated subjectively anyway.

You can't say, "Actually, I'm right because you forgot to carry the one." Nope. They only have to think you're wrong for you to be wrong.