Don’t Seek Less Work, Seek Better WorkJuly 31st, 2012 by Michael Kwan
It’s a mantra that is becoming increasingly common among the working population. People are tired of working long hours for little pay and that’s perfectly understandable. That’s part of the reason why entrepreneurship is on the rise, as these same people are looking to gain more control over their career paths. And then they discover that entrepreneurs tend to work even longer hours.
What’s the Real Goal?
A big part of the problem is that many of these people are approaching the situation the wrong way. They’re starting their own businesses, because they think it will give them greater freedom and more time to do the things they want to do. It’s not so much that we really want to have more free time as much as it is about spending the time doing what we love. As cliche as it sounds, if you enjoy doing what you do, it starts to feel less and less like work.
Don’t get me wrong. Even if you’re in a business, doing what you love to do, you’re still going to encounter your fair share of frustrations. There are still going to be bad moments and tasks that you really would rather not do. At the same time, when you shift your perspective to consider whether you are doing satisfying work and how that work fits into the bigger picture, you can gain a better appreciation for what you do and why you do it.
We like to think that we’d like to work less. With that free time, we can relax and travel the world… but eventually, you will likely start to feel like something is missing. We don’t want to work less; we want our work to gratify us and to mean something.
What About Retirement?
They say that retirement can be simultaneously one of the happiest and one of the most troubling times in someone’s life. On the one hand, you finally have that “free time” you wanted. On the other hand, the absence of work leaves behind an empty void of nothingness. You have to do something to fill that time. You still want to have both happiness and meaning. You still want to feel fulfilled. Even if it doesn’t pay directly, you somehow still want to seek better work.
And that’s what happened to my high school chemistry teacher. I stay in contact with him through Facebook and since his retirement, he’s become a licensed Zumba instructor. He’s also a chemistry tutor and a musician. He didn’t want a “boring” retirement. He wanted an enjoyable and fulfilling one.
Society Needs You
We all need to “work” in some capacity. If everyone stopped working, society would fall apart at the seams. There would be no butcher to sell you meat, no tailor to mend your clothes, and no author to give you something to read. But this doesn’t mean that work has to be a torturous chore; it can be better. And it starts with you wanting it to be better.