>Bliss at work is like the Cake


When I first started looking for a different career path, I kept running into the phrase, find your bliss and turn it into a job. I’ve watched people try to turn a hobby they love into a cash cow and burn out. I’ve also seen people go broke trying to make money on a product they love and no one else does. But back to me…

I read many books on finding your bliss and marketing it – Four hour work week, 48 days to the job you love, What color is your parachute?, Strengths finder 2.0, You, Inc. They all had wonderful points and I learned a lot both about business and myself but still never had anything pop out and say – Bingo! People will pay you to do this thing that you love!

It may be that part of the problem is my AD..”Oh look at that thing over there!” or as one of the guys in my MBA program described me “she’s passionate about everything.” I’ll admit I reached the point where I was beating myself up and thinking I was in denial or having issues with the fear of success or failure. I was looking for that perfect job, when I got laid off from the job I hated in the fall of 2009. I was lucky in that I found a replacement temporary position quickly enough that I didn’t have to worry about losing the house and actually started saving a little. But a part of me knew it was temporary and I enjoyed it mainly because I knew it wouldn’t last.

Then I got another job and thought it would provide a career path. It took me a few months to realize there was no designated place to go from here and I saw people punished for wanting to do more than what they were hired to do. So I go to work and do what I do and come home and use the leftover energy to work on my hobbies or take care of my family. I do feel bored although there are many places where I could reach and do more, but what would be the point?

So with that background, I’m still out networking and connecting and learning what people do and why they enjoy it. Recently, I had a networking lunch with someone who intrigued me and whom I admire. During our conversation, work satisfaction came up along with the bliss topic. I’m still processing what she told me which is why this blog is still disjointed, but the basic gist was bliss at work is a lie. Sometimes people will find it and if I look at those who absolutely love their jobs all the time, they’re more likely to be men than women. I can only think of one or two women I know who love their jobs (excluding stay at home moms).

As I’ve processed this, I realized there is some truth to what she says. Bliss at work, like The Cake promised throughout Portal, is a lie. As my acquaintance put it, “Any job that you don’t go home at the end of the day wanting to slit your wrists is a good job. If you have moments of great joy in your week, then it’s a great job.” I realize too that women’s bliss tends to be things people will not value with cash. Most women find their bliss in things such as home, family, hobbies and charitable work. I’ve enjoyed stitching for cash in the past but it’s not as fun as stitching for my own enjoyment or for friends. How about cashing in on your family? Even typing that just sounds wrong and when it happens we talk about Munchausen’s syndrome or defrauding communities.

Now there have been some people that have turned things they did for their families into cash – Think “Signing Time” and “Baby Einstein” videos or hobby improvements like the Grace Quilting Frame and the Cricut. As one of my friends said, “I work because my family likes to eat and sleep indoors not because I want to save the world or create world peace.” The people I know who do work with their bliss do not like leaving work. As one businessman put it in his training video, “If it doesn’t make me money, I’m not doing it.” He then gave a story of paying a daughter’s boyfriend to build the costume case his daughter wanted. I couldn’t help thinking of a different businessman’s training program where he turned down a meeting with a prospective client’s board of directors in order to keep a promised day out with his daughter. I realize that there are intrinsic payments that cannot be measured in cash which have to be considered in the long run.

So in this age of high unemployment and instant layoffs, it doesn’t really matter that I’m bored at work yet busy with brain-dead tasks that someone has to do. They’re willing to pay me a higher wage than my last job did even if the work is more clerical. Just typing that gave me an epiphany. For many years, I was told that I was being overpaid for what I did. Now I’m being paid a greater wage and doing less thinking – maybe I should be grateful instead of wanting cake.