Good morning fellow salaried citizens,
As I ride the train to work, between the impossible squeeze and torrid weather, I ask myself, what drags me out of bed every morning at 6.30am?
Is it the endless bills and debts I've accrued, or the nagging worry that I might not have enough for my old age? Or is it my aging parents whom I have to support, or the pride in being part of the "working force"?
What keeps us going?
I have long doubted the career I'm in, and I thought I was alone. And then I spoke to many of my peers and many don't seem to know what they are going about either. We seem to bumble along, finding the next opportunity to skip and hop, until we finally find the sweet spot we could then finally settle - if we're lucky.
Many of my peers express a reluctance to go to work in the morning, and display a similar degree of joy when there's a public holiday or when a long leave break is coming up.
We work for survival, we work to keep ourselves financially afloat - our eyes shine when we see the monthly paycheck come in, only to also have it shine in tears when it flows down the drain within the same month.
So back to my question, what keeps us going?
For some, it's their family and children, the exchange of money to bring their families comfort gives them a sense of pride and responsibility. The insurmountable fulfilment you can give. Yet others are content with the material pleasures their money brings, the occasional pamperings and having freedom to be able to buy almost anything they'll like. Those that work for peanuts, and also asked to perform like monkeys who see themselvew work for a higher cause. They plough through the dirty and demeaning because they know their work holds purpose. It is duty that carries them through.
What do I work for? Honestly I don't know. Most times, it's auto-pilot that I wake up 6.30am, collect my paycheck on the 23 of every month, and pay my bills shortly a week after. Other times I relish in the warm companionship of my colleagues, and think "life isn't so bad". Some times I walk down the CBD feeling lucky to have a full time position here where it all happens. On rare instances, when shit hits the fan and there's no cover, I am filled with doubts if this brittle façade is really something that brings me joy and happiness.
A job, in all intents and purposes, does not bring joy. What does bring us fulfilment, is knowing who we are working for, who we are working with, and ultimately it's all about the people you meet and care for. I find it exceedingly idealistic when someone said "find a job you're passionate in". Yes, nonetheless it's true, we should find a job we are at least somewhat passionate in, but not because the job will make you happy, but because you'll join a community of like-minded individuals. People who speak and listen like you, they may even dress like you, or see things the same way. You will never have to work another day, if your work is surrounded by supportive individuals who make the workplace home as much as your own family does. It is a feeling of belonging we crave when we work in an industry that we're passionate in.
I wake up every morning because there's something to solve, a goal to work towards to. I push through the fog of sleep because I know there are people at work who understands the difficulties I'm facing, who have the same wavelength as I. Some days are harder than most, and until the day when most days are harder than some, I see myself keeping calm and carrying on.
It's the little things that get to you, the alarm in in the morning, the tough times in the office. But hang in there, and soldier on, you are not alone. We are all in this huge foreign world together.