28 August 2011

This is supposed to be fun, right?

There is an old, hackneyed saying that if you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life. Other versions include "Do what you LOVE what you do" or "When you have a job you love, your vocation becomes your vacation."

Being the fan of cliches that I am, I've been thinking about this one recently. Why? Well, if you follow the BlazeBlog, you'll know that I recently relocated to the Central Valley of California (which is a nice way of saying "Fresno"). You'll also be quite aware that it hasn't gone as well it might have. If you're not a regular follower then we say "welcome", and suggest that you go back and read that story, as well as some of the other, older posts here.

Anyway, since I've been struggling a little bit with the transition to being the "new guy" again, I began thinking about work, and pleasure. And by "began thinking about" I mean, bitched and complained to my wife. Again, for those of you just getting caught up on my saga, she's the main reason I've relocated. Naturally, I've harbored some bitterness towards her when I've been sad and/or angry. Normally, she's pretty receptive to my concerns, and feels bad when I have a hard day, since she feels more than a little responsible for my pain and suffering.

So, anyway, I was bitching to her that I wasn't having fun at work, what with the being in other people's rooms, the lack of being familiar with anything, the classes I didn't like, so on and so forth. She eventually got tired of hearing me whine about it and told me, basically "it's work, it's not supposed to be fun." Now, the irony in this is of course that I've told basically 10,000 (approximately) students to stop complaining because school isn't meant to be fun.

I've been pondering this question since the Mrs. felt the need to point out that work isn't supposed to be fun: "Should work be fun?"

I have certainly pondered work before . However, I've never really thought about the entertainment value of work before. I have been lucky (or perhaps I have an attitude that permits) to have had jobs that I found fun. Sure, mounting tires was hard work, but we had fun at it. Likewise, putting up tents and hauling trash and luggage don't seem like fun, but I've always found a way to smile while I'm at it. In fact, teaching has often been fun as well, but most of that fun has come once I knew people.

This job is getting better, and I'm sure it will be fun soon, but for right now it seems an awful lot like work. So, to have a fulfilled life, does your work need to be fun?

I'm not sure, but I do think that it helps. I know that if you work in a field where you put in massive time, or work at it very hard mentally, you'll be crushed if it's not fun. I suppose that isn't totally true. Perhaps if you can see that you're having an impact on people, then it's worth it without needing to be fun. I think that so many teachers quit so soon in their teaching careers because they aren't having fun. When you're not having fun, it's too hard to let the suffering overwhelm you.

How do we make it fun? I don't know, but I intend to check back in soon and let you know what I come up with.

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