What do I Work for?

Choose your work carefully. 

No matter how much you work is nothing more than money, your work makes you is where you put your time. 

We are what we do, and the more we do it, the more we become it.

By giving a job your time, you are giving it your consciousness. Eventually it will fill your life with the reality that it presents. 

Consider what it will require you to do on a day-to-day, hour-to-hour, minute-to-minute basis. See if that is how you want to spend your time. 

If it is not, your job will become your prison rather than the vehicle for your dreams. And a person without dreams is only half alive. 

You should think of work as vocation, which comes from the Latin word for calling, which comes from the word for voice. In those meanings it touches on what work really should be — something that calls to you, that gives voice to who you are and what you want to say in the world. 

If you find a vocation, embrace it. You have found a way to contribute to the world with love. 

Finding a vocation is not always easy. 

You can’t really know what it is you want to do by thinking about it. You have to do it and see how it fits. You have to let the work take you over until it becomes you and you become it. Then you have to decide whether to embrace it or to abandon it. 

There is no reason why a person can’t abandon a job that does not fit and strike out into the unknown for something that lies closer to the heart. There is no reason why a person cannot have two, three, or more careers in the course of a life. No amount of security is worth the suffering of a life lived chained to a routine that has killed your dreams. 

I once had a professor who had dreamed of being a concert pianist. Fearing the possibility of failure, he went into academics, where the work was secure and the money predictable. One day, when I was talking to him about my unhappiness in my graduate studies, he walked over and sat down at his piano. He played a beautiful glissando and then abruptly stopped. “Do what is in your heart,” he said. “I really wanted to be a concert pianist. Now I spend every day wondering how good I might have been.” 

Find what it is that burns in your heart and do it. Choose a vocation, not a job, and your life will have meaning and your days will have peace. 

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