When I was growing up it was always made clear what success meant. It meant working long hours, taking second jobs if need be, regardless of what toll it might take on you personally, regardless of whether you like what you do. One goal, work hard and make money to support your family. I learned my lesson well and by that I mean I looked around, saw how miserable everyone was and learned the exact opposite lesson that I was supposed to learn.
This meant that I determined at a pretty young age that I wanted to do a job I liked. And more importantly I needed to get an education. As a young man I lost my way, became a drunk and an addict and got booted out of college. This put me right back where I didn’t want to be. So I did a lot of jobs, I worked at the supermarket, worked as a maintenance worker in the state park system, did grounds-keeping work and some construction projects along the way. I spent some time helping out roofing in the summer and it was miserable work. The day I fell off a roof, luckily on to some unfortunately prickly bushes, I had relearned my lesson. Over the next year I got my life together, and eventually finished my education, ok, really eventually like 15 year later. But finishing my education allowed me to never have to work a job I hated.ever again. Sure I have frustrations with my job, but while stressful, it’s not incredibly hard and I’m paid incredibly well. I also have a great retirement system that will allow me to retire at a reasonable age.
As I’ve talked about many times, over the last twenty years I’ve left my job and traveled once just about every three years, usually traveling a year and once, for two years. I’ve written, talked about and proselytized work/life balance for about a decade now. I’ve pushed people to do what they love, to keep things in perspective and make changes if need be. At times, I’ve referred to myself as the world’s oldest millennial because my attitudes reflect more of a millennial mindset than that of a Boomer or Gen X person as I could be categorized.
The other day I heard one of my coordinators say the following while I was in a meeting, “We are not the generation that works ourselves into the ground and not take care of ourselves.” I was so happy to hear that because I’ve preached this attitude for the last three years as the leader of my academic division.
The thing to remember friends is to focus on what truly matters. Yes, work can be, and in my case is important, educating people is an incredibly important thing for our students and our society. But even a job with purpose isn’t the most important thing in most people’s lives. It’s time with family, friends, being kind and giving and taking the time to learn and laugh with them. So focus on what’s important and spend your time where it matters most. That’s a strategy that will certainly lead to happier days my friends. ~ Rev Kane