Wednesday, February 9, 2011


I’m already depressed and I’ve only typed nine words. I’m on the fence of taking away some of my sarcasm here to really drive the point home…because this one, is a real humdinger in my books. I shalln’t though...to keep the humor going and the smiles perking about. People often listen better when they’re feelin’ nice. Sorry in advance that this isn't funnier. Wait, maybe it is. I don't know. 

a true office legend dies at their desk

So, here it goes. Bold statement time. Time to loosen up the necktie (gents) and take off the heels (ladies)…bite down a bit and suck it up. If this is you, listen close. PLEASE. 

If your job is your life, stop. Just stop. Eat this big juicy stop sandwich. It's low in carbs, saturated fat and preservatives. Haha...ok, on topic.

If your job is your life, stop.

That is absolute sadness. If work is the most important thing in the world to you…then that is absolute sadness. This is obviously an opinion, but that is the pinnacle of sadness to me. You have reached the epicenter of sadness. The world is a storm, and you are at the eye of sadness. What a cool place. Cool as in, not warm. Here are lots of reasons why, that is barely living.

Before someone calls me a slouch or accuses me of not being motivated, I must confess that I have not found my dream job yet. I’m pretty sure that it’s writing for a living, but that’s a toughie. I have yet to wake up on a daily basis burning in flames ready to go to work. That’s okay though. I’m okay with that. My time will come…I have patience for that, because this way, I am urged to find the beauty in the parts of my day that really do please me. I’m sure so many of us are there together, and that’s just fine. Besides, it’s good in a way. You win either way. That’s neither here nor there…

Moment of truth.

Am I the best at my job? Definitely not. I am still fairly new, but I may never be. Do I want to be good at my job? Yes. Will I be good at my job? Yes.

Will I give up nearly everything else in the world to be great at what I do? If it involves building relationships with people or God, yes. If it involves being good at skillset X, Y or Z…then never. No way. That sucks the life out of me. That sucks my pulse out of me. That idea sucks my heart out of my chest and throws it into the office paper shredder…which jams for a second considering there’s a human organ in it, but eventually it goes down. It’s an ugly scene. It sucks. That is simply heart breaking. Here is why…or wait,

I should caveat all of this a bit with I too want to be great at something. I do. I would love to be a great writer…a great professor at an elite school. That would be incredible. I mean, truly one of “the greats”. That would be such a blessing. But NOT at the cost of being a great friend, father, husband. Never that. How can you even think for a second that the trade off there makes sense? How can you justify bragging about being the best doctor in northwest state X when you barely know your wife? How can you justify being the most decorated soldier in the world when your own child/”bestfriend”/mother doesn’t know you? How can you rationalize eighty hour weeks at your private practice when each of your friends forgets what it’s even like to hang out with you? Let me slow down. I always get ahead of myself. 

Slowing down…

“But I need money.” Oh don’t we all? Pay your bills…great. Stay on top of your finances and be responsible with your purchases…great. Got that. Provide a slightly “nicer” (relative) house/lifestyle/car for you and yours…great. Get the Landrover. Woo. Buy an $8,000 sofa…woo. Get the ridiculous $4,000 rug and “accidentally” let everyone know how much it cost…woo. 

Possessions suck. Besides, a person focused on possessions is usually just a person who isn’t getting what they actually want/need from PEOPLE. That’s a whole ‘nother topic. So true…but let me not get stuck in my own tangents. 

Am I saying don’t buy nice things? No. I’m just beginning to say that those things are luxury items. A relationship however, at any cost…is never a “luxury item”. A relationship is invaluable. A true friend, is hard to find. A true friend, is there for you. A true friend, cannot be purchased. Same goes for family member, spouse…blah blah blah. You get the point. After a terrible day, does your $50,000 car give you a hug? Does is make it all go away?...or do you have just this fancy piece of metal? Here stubborn person, I’ll do the math. You have a machine. 

Before I keep on prying at this subject…I hope that everyone reading this knows at least one person like this. That way, you can relate. That way, you can walk into their face, bite it and say…”hey you, listen…what are you doing? Stop.” 

I should also say why I’m writing this. It hits way too close to home, that’s why. In the past couple of years, I have lost great friends, a girlfriend, and nearly a parent to this mess. Each scenario slightly different…but regardless, all due to work related/obsessive issues. Work is important yes. We need it to survive yes. But do we need it so bad that it takes our “life” away? No way. Nothing is more frustrating than wanting to have a deep connection with another person…thinking, you know, maybe I can help them live a more positive life…and then never being able to see them because they never have the time. Always something dealing with work. Their pager/Blackberry owns them. Boo that. So, this is from experience…in short.

You won more cases than anyone in the history of the world…but you get home every night after eight…your kids are going to bed and your better half is tired. Congratulations on that. You’re good at your job but how well-nourished, or I should say malnourished is your marriage because of that “success”? How many friends have you lost touch with? Would you even consider yourself a “parent” anymore? Does your baby-sitter know your children ten times better than you do? When is the last time your mom was awake enough for you to call her at the end of the day and say “hello”? See what I’m getting at? I’m sure you do. Afterall, NASA didn’t put me onto this topic. I just see it too much. I see it everyday. 

I’m in the Army. We are encouraged to give up quite a bit to better serve and be more efficient at our job. Fair enough. I love serving the country…no problem there. I give some here and there…when I feel it’s for the better cause…no problem there. I don’t mind sacrificing a bit for my job. What I won’t do though, is BECOME MY JOB. Sometimes, I feel like people forget that they’re people in this career. It can very much feel like that. People are so caught up in getting promoted that they forget to be social. They forget that marriage/friendships/relationships of any sort…also require extra effort sometimes. Imagine this wild concept. What if, we stopped throwing our entire God-given-souls at our jobs and started giving a little bit back to being actual persons. What if, we were able to spare a marriage instead of getting that award. Wow…that’d be nice. 

Is it then surprising that suicide rates amongst soldiers, doctors, lawyers are some of the highest of all professions? Hmm…

I should be wrapping this up. I think my point is becoming more clear by the sentence...or at least I hope! 

Here’s an example of what I don’t think anybody with two lungs, kidneys and eyeballs wants. As follows…

I don’t want to be the supervisor who dies and then some employee goes and puts a clipboard on my gravestone...because that was my best friend. Because that piece of particle board, with the small metal accent on the top was always closer to me than any person. Literally, and figuratively. Is that what you want? I hate to use the military again, but because I know the culture…I mean, is it more important for you to die with the fancy medal collection, or the fancy family that loved you to your death? If it’s that hard to decide, then contact me personally, and I’ll honestly pray with you. I will. Because you know…your contribution to society as a loving person will always weigh more than your contribution to society as a hard-working employee. I don’t care what you do. 

So maybe think about this the next time you want to give up the family vacay for a better shot at that raise…because, you can ALWAYS “create a better future” for your family. Making more money does NOT mean a better future. Having people around who care for you and love you is a better future. 

So take a break. Relax a bit. Get your stuff done. Bust your butt when you’re supposed to be on the clock and rest well when the day is done. Go home when the others do and make someone happy that you’re simply “around”. If work is all you have, do something about that. You can’t go about your whole life without friends/family/love you maniac! Work doesn’t love you. It pays your bills, and appreciates your ethic, but it doesn’t love you. Let me play genius once more. Work will never care about you half as much as your mother will when she finally gets to hear from you. Ta-dah…brilliance. Not really, but c’mon people. 

For those of you who dislike this…I’m sorry, it’s probably because it feels too true. Either that, or you’re sitting there justifying your obsession line by line. Whatever…it’s your life. All I’m saying is that I’m no genius…but putting work before relationships is an unappreciated life. People need people. 

If this isn’t you, but you know someone like this…let them have it. It is for their best interest I bet you a million dollars. And I’ll pay! It might take me 17 lives, and I might have to become a beetle or some goat or something to get back here, but hey…I’m a man of my word.

Now go be fruitful little lovers and social butterflies. Nothing is more upsetting than watching someone whittle their years away without the love of others. Help each other out. Do stuff. 

Breathe, relax…work is your job. Don’t let work be your life too. Because then what…are you even “living” anymore? 

Live for others. Live for you. DO NOT however, live for the “clipboard”.

Life is simply too good to waste on work alone. Don't do that.

Do not be THAT person.