Jun 3, 2006

Let's Hang On To What We Got

I was listening to an old lecture by Alan Watts on my Ipod yesterday and it got me to thinking about my job. Mr. Watts was one of the preeminent 20th century philosophers and teachers of religious thought. He died in the 1970's but his work is still available through the Alan Watts Foundation. In this lecture Mr. Watts gave an introduction to Buddhism. With respect to work, he said that a Buddhist believes in doing his job well, but not clinging in to it. I spent some time thinking about what that means to me. On Thursday of this week I attended a meeting at work where the new boss of our department filled our stomachs with a free lunch and our heads with his vision for the organization. Trust me when I say that neither was satisfying. This exercise was designed to convey his expectations for performance on the job and to rally us to the cause. The latter gets to Mr. Watts' point. A job is a job, it is not a crusade..unless you make it one. Survey after survey tells us that most people hate their job. I would suggest that what they really hate is the powerlessness and loss of control they feel because they have to desperately cling to a job out of financial necessity. So how do I avoid becoming a reluctant soldier in the corporate wars? I think by not putting myself in a place where I have to cling to my job. The only power a job has over you is your dependence on it. If you make yourself fireproof by living simply, then you don't cling to the job. If you fill your life with a bunch of stuff and a bunch of payments, you put yourself in the position taking what is dished out. We all have basic survival needs, food, shelter, clothing, transpotation, etc. But we also have great latitude in how we choose to fill those needs. In thinking about clinging, it occurred to me that no matter how much money my job pays, my life stays pretty much the same. Some people have accused me of being a cheapskate, but I would rather be able to walk away from a job, than have to cling to it because of a giant mortgage or a truck payment. But maybe that's just me. Tag:

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