Tuesday, May 10, 2011

They're almost right...

If you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life.

What a lovely phrase and a wonderful reminder about the importance of personal satisfaction with a career choice.

And what complete and utter drivel.

The person who came up with that quote was obviously high, and I reserve the right to get squinty-eyed at anyone who dares spout that nonsense at me.

I don’t care how much you love your job or how much personal satisfaction you get from it, there are some days when it’s not only work, you wonder why you thought you wanted to do it in the first place.

I love being a writer. I think it’s beyond cool. I get to write books, and that’s just nifty. Look at all the people with cool jobs – like rock stars and astronauts – who also want to write books. That’s how cool this job is: it the dream job of folks who already have dream jobs.

And it’s also a lot of work. Like any other job, it has its ups and its downs. You’ll win an award on the same day a reviewer rips you apart. You’ll have books that fly off your fingers and books that are the writing equivalent of giving birth to a pineapple. Sometimes every word on the screen feels like a little golden drop of goodness, but there are times when you feel like you’re the biggest hack on the planet. There are days when you want to beat the computer with a hammer and days when you feel like Barbra Cartland, pink boa, bonbons and all.

And I wouldn’t trade any of the days for a job doing anything else.

Yes, I get a lot of personal satisfaction out of my job. I love it and I hope to have a long career – even if that career includes days of shouting obscenities at my computer screen and feeding my hero to the sharks with evil glee. It’s extremely satisfying – but it’s still work. Hard work.

And it only gets harder, because you do love it and so you keep pushing yourself to be better at it. Which is more hard work.

And that’s one of the reasons it’s so satisfying. I think there’s a real sense of accomplishment that comes from hard work. Yeah, it’s nice when things come easy, but it also feels really good to wrestle the bear and win. (And then you stuff and mount the bear on the wall to remind you of that satisfied feeling – and remind you that you did it once and can do it again.)

So I’m going to amend that old platitude: If you love your job, you’ll work every day of your life, and you’ll work harder than you ever thought possible. But at the end of the day, you’ll still love your job.


Cheryl said...

I know what you mean. When I was working, I busted my rear end - being a lawyer meant you had to work with other lawyers (a definite negative - lol). I hated it but when I kicked butt in court there was no high like it. I loved that. So I understand, sort of, what you are saying.

As an aside, I hope one day to get the thrill of having at least one book published. I hope I love it too, hard work and all.

Playground Monitor said...

Motherhood is much the same -- ups and downs, good days and bad, kids doing wonderful things one day and chopping down the neighbor's tree the next. But when your kids (and grandkids) tell you they love you and hug your neck, you forget the labor pains and the two o'clock feedings.

Smarty Pants said...

As someone who spent their birthday sitting through the agony of CMMI upgrade training, I have to agree. Writing is hard, the industry is turbulent, but it beats the hell out of a lot of other things.

Verif word: mines. As in, writing for a living is a heck of a lot better than a job like mines.

robertsonreads said...

Amen Sister! I enjoy working for my different professors 8, 1 part timer, & 1 external director, who keep me on my toes both mentally & physically. They have different personalities, needs and generally they all want their work NOW! Between them and the college kids I do not feel the 50 that I just turned (unless it has been a very long day) but in my late 30s. I know some who would not have a desk job for anything but for me, it's wonderful.

Have a great afternoon everyone.

Angel said...

I think that's a very apt (revised) description, PC! Even more so because I'm one of those writers that enjoys "having written", but not necessarily "writing". :) I used to think that made me not a writer, but as I've gotten to know other authors for whom that is true, I've revised that opinion. As JR Ward said in a recent article, writing is "a joyful grind." I have to agree.