I had a discussion with a group of friends this week and one of our talking points was "Our Careers". Now, I understand that this conversation is typical of the "Millennial" generation, of which I must admit I am a part, but something that came to my mind has caused me to think a bit deeper.
When I think of my life and what I spend it doing, I am immediately disheartened. Not because I dislike what I do, or because I have a bad job. My despondency is due to the amount of time I spend working. 40 hours a week. This is standard, this is accepted. One who complains or bemoans this fact is dismissed as a lazy hippie. But I can assure you this is not the case. I take pride in my work and am passionate about what I do. However, when I complete a day of work, I drive back home, feeling drained and exhausted. Some days are worse than others. By the time I am home I have roughly 5 hours until I need to get to bed so that I can have a full 8 hours of sleep for tomorrow. Weeks pass. Months pass. Years pass. When I turn around I realize that those days went by...and nothing happened. I did nothing nothing with them! I can't remember 90% of what happened. My 5 hours a day vanished into thin air. During my discussion my friends spoke of how this realization brings with it the inevitable truth that life is so very short. That we spend so much of our short lives working for something other than ourselves, is what is offensive.
Why do I think this way? This isn't positive, right? I beg to differ. The world is changing and luckily we get to be a part of what's coming. A job that brings six figures is no longer the grand prize. Rather, a job that brings fulfillment and less time working is something that is not just a ridiculous dream. I'd rather make nothing doing something I love. One who has the drive and determination can see this through to fruition.
I am not saying that I am mad with my job or that I think hard work is stupid. I am offended by a concept. I simply want to point out that it is not unreasonable to want more than the typical 8 to 5. Whoever thought it was OK to say "Yes, 40 hours a week of their lives is worth it" doesn't have to be proved right. And more to the point, what are you getting out of those 40 hours? Is paying your bills enough for you? Or are you bothered that the completion of one task leads only to another task. When you die, someone else will pick up where you left off. "Giving your all", "Success", and "Fulfillment" do not have to be defined as a 40 hour a week job. What can you do in 40 hours?
So what am I doing about it? I am not entitled to anything better, I must work to see it happen. So I am taking control of my 5 hours. Because that is what I have. I am learning new concepts, staying up late, playing guitar, making big plans with my wife, and working towards an alternative. I don't know what it will look like exactly. It might include working for someone, but it will be different, and wonderful.
Thanks for taking time out of your day to read this!
I have several web-development-related posts I'm working on, so look for those in the coming days!