Friday, January 17, 2014

Who Do You Work For?

So Jonas asked Mommy yesterday, "how many jobs has Dad had?" She asked him how many he thought I'd had and he said 3-- high school teacher, wrestling coach and Realtor. Interestingly, those aren't even the only jobs I've had while he's been alive! In my still relatively short life, I've had a LOT of different jobs. I've helped build houses, mowed yards, worked in restaurants, delivered pizza for 2 different companies, worked in a gas station, interned at the Small Business Development Center, helped open a retail store (stock and set up), washed dishes at the MTSU Grille, was grunt labor in a warehouse, worked in HR, was a shift lead in a warehouse, managed inventory in a warehouse, worked at the Boys and Girls Club, taught at 2 different high schools, coached wrestling, sold fireworks, been officially "unemployed" (and got paid for it), sold real estate and, most importantly, been a daddy and a husband.

So many people hate their jobs. They say "Thank God its Friday" and then "Dear God its Monday." They are miserable and think there is no way out. I've discovered that often, not always, but often, the change you need is you, not necessarily the job. I have found at least something fulfilling and even "fun" in every one of those jobs I listed above. Granted, there were parts of each that I found repulsive, annoying and "quit-worthy", but I can usually find a level of contentment in whatever I do. I think the main reason is that I try to see who I am really working for.  Most people, in their minds, work for their companies. They wake up and say, off to earn XYZ company some more money. Some may decide to work for their bosses (if it is someone they like). This may last a while but even that will fade as the boss loses his or her luster or moves away. A few people will switch their minds a little and work for their own wallets. These folks look at their jobs simply as a way to get money so they can do the things they actually enjoy. They are working for a hobby, a vacation, a new car, to pay off the house, etc. A very few people look at work as service to their family. They wake up and say, time to go earn tomorrow night's dinner for junior and the missus.

It is my opinion that the later two categories are the people that see work as it should be--selling your one true natural resource--your time--to someone else so you can have a different resource to help you achieve your goals. I believe that when you make that slight shift in your thought processes, you can find contentment in almost any job. You can stick around if it isn't fun one day because you are motivated outside of your actual job. If you can't, you have the "gumption" to move on, make yourself better (improve the resource you are selling by gaining more skills--i.e.- make yourself more marketable).

One conundrum sometimes presents itself, however. Sometimes people realize this too late and they have a mess to clear up first. Sometimes, people will put themselves in a position where they can't work for anyone but Visa or Mastercard or Toyota Credit. Those people say, "WOW!! I am stuck in this horrible job because I can't afford to leave. I have to stay here so I can continue to pay for my car, the big screen, the vacation, whatever." You learn who your master is very quickly and, hopefully, take drastic steps to right the ship. Buy your way out of that position so you can work for someone you want to work for--your family, yourself, whatever, just NOT for the Creditors!!

Please understand, this is not an "anti-debt" blog entry. This is a self awareness blog. Figure out who you are working for. Some of you may not get "paid" in the traditional sense (stay at home mom or dad, volunteer). You still work. Who do you work for? Identify who you work for and it will hopefully change your entire outlook on things. For me, it gives me a sense of purpose, almost ministry. Here is my list of "employers":

1) I work for God. I try to include him in everything I do so that the love he has given me will be poured out on the people I come in contact with. I am richly blessed and I want to be a blessing on my community, on other people, on my clients, on my church, etc.
2) My family--I work so they are comfortable, safe and without worry
3) My clients--I work for them so they can make their lives better--whether it is by selling a home that they have outgrown, buying a first home so they can start to feel that security that comes with "home" or relocating here for a better life.
4) I work for my community--Homes comprise the community. Families make up the community. Thus, my job directly impacts the community. I want to help the community. I try to give back to my community whenever possible.
5) I work for my reputation--I try to always act with integrity so as not to mess up any of the other 4 above.
6) I work to afford the things I want to do.

Give it some thought. Who do you work for?

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