January 02, 2003

What, Indeed, Should I Do With My Life?

The blogosphere is all abuzz about What Should I Do With My Life?, a new book that's just been excerpted in Fast Company. What excellent timing to raise this question at the first of the year when we're all looking back, looking ahead, and have a little time to actually think about such things. Here's a snippet I liked:

"In the past decade, the work world has become a battleground for the struggle between the boring and the stimulating. The emphasis on intensity has seeped into our value system. We still cling to the idea that work should not only be challenging and meaningful -- but also invigorating and entertaining. But really, work should be like life: sometimes fun, sometimes moving, often frustrating, and defined by meaningful events. Those who have found their place don't talk about how exciting and challenging and stimulating their work is. Their language invokes a different troika: meaningful, significant, fulfilling. And they rarely ever talk about work without weaving in their personal history. "


I've always felt that way; the line between work and the rest of life has always been blurry for me...and I've married a woman and sired a son who are exactly the same way. To some, it probably looks as though I'm always working. To others, I probably seem like a slacker who doesn't apply himself enough to be fully productive. But mostly I'm having a good time. Wish you were here.

Coincidentally, I recently came upon Frost's poem Two Tramps in Mudtime on the web. It's also about that blur. I might stick the last stanza up on one of my pages as a kind of long signature:

"But yield who will to their separation,
My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.
Only where love and need are one,
And the work is play for mortal stakes,
Is the deed ever really done
For Heaven and the future's sakes."

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