Half of my legal career was similar. In quick summary, I enjoyed my public service jobs and did not like my private sector jobs. In each case, work was mostly a mood deflator. I was far happier in my non-working time. And, that is the way of life for most people.
I remember reading Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. I had one of those “click” experiences. The book described the state of flow that some people derive at work. Flow could be simply described as having a satisfying experience. Picture a craftsman at his trade.
But, the concept of flow could apply to anyone at work. The “click” for me was that work could be source of enjoyment. I didn’t have to toil away in misery. If I found work I liked, then I would go to work happily.
I was in law school at the time. Just a short while before, I had relished my undergraduate education where I experienced flow continually in my psychology, philosophy, theology, history, and English classes. I loved reading and writing. I loved learning new concepts in class. School was a mood enhancer. During law school, I was beginning to clock watch and school was becoming a mood deflator.
Now, on most days, my mood is uplifted due to work. I’m in a flow state quite often. While I still prefer to spend time with my wife and children than working, I prefer my work to many other activities.
I’m often reluctant to tell friends about how much I love my work because I worry that I’ll create some negative self-reflection. If you are reading this blog, I don’t want that to be the case. But, I do want you to know that there is hope. You can like your work.
Your work can be a mood enhancer.