Career Satisfaction: Be present

“You shouldn’t think so much.” So said Joe a seasoned hand on the assembly line.  I was 18.  It was the summer before I headed to college.   I was fortunate to get a high paying union job.  But the actual day was dreary.  I would either load boxes onto a pallet, until the pallet was full and then start again.  Or, if I was lucky and one of the regular employees was absent, I could work on a less physically demanding part of the assembly line.  

Joe had seen my brow furrowed.  I was thinking about something in my “real life”.  Whatever it was, I wasn’t present.  “Just do your work,” he continued after reminding me not to think so much.  “You’ll be happier.”

Joe was wise.  Recent science has confirmed what spiritualists of all types have suggested throughout the ages: being present is the key to happiness.

This helps explain why good work is so invigorating and why bad work is so depleting.  Those who are engaged in their work live life in the present.  Their work life is part of their “real life”. They are focused on the task at hand. They are not clock watching.  They are immersed in building something.  

Those who not engaged are somewhere else other than the present. Their “real life” is outside of work.

There is no dichotomy between work life and real life.  Time is life.  If you are spending a lot of time at work somewhere other than the present, you are not living. 

Let me also add: there is hope.  Your well matched career might be just a meeting away.