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When the Job Starts to Drag

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It happens even in the best of careers: after all the struggle, the self-doubts, the striving, the mitigating with bosses and the problems of finding a place, we finally settle in and get comfortable. At first it’s quite nice: what feels more wholesome than getting situated and laying roots? But soon enough we might find a pain worse than uncertainty: complacency.

In parallel to the loss of challenge on the job might be the tepid fact of an established marriage, where the once heated romance has cooled into the partnership of a tranquil marriage.

It may be that the Greeks of all peoples most appreciated the dangers of boredom and curiosity. After all, Pandora was made to unleash all human terrors–greed, cruelty, gossip, adultery–from sheer curiosity as to what the crafty gods had hidden in her jar. The morale of the story, one would suppose, is that curiosity can lead to disaster. This, at least, is the meaning behind the old saw, curiosity killed the cat.

But if you are starting to wonder where the adventure of life went, and how to get a sense of romance back in life, you don’t necessarily have to quit your job (or your wife or husband for that matter), but there is the mature approach to life one could even call philosophical.

Children, after all, want things to be extraordinary and miraculous. Children want Christmas to be about Santa and elves and reindeer. Adults appreciate Christmas to be an excuse for generosity and a chance to see distant relatives. Maturity means appreciating things for what they are in themselves.

What this means for us, as we get used to our jobs, and settle in, is that we can start to develop a more sophisticated approach to our jobs — not always striving for novelties and fresh experiences, but getting to know our career for what it is, in the day-to-day.

Ultimately, this means befriending those who enjoy their work, and talking about, and appreciating the higher art of job performance.  This is how to stay happy. You can always challenge yourself to do your job better, and to do the same things with fresh eyes. Keeping an eye for fresh opportunities is always smart, if only because it tickles the fancy, but appreciating what we have going for us is essential for happiness.

Take time, then, at the end of the day, to reflect on your job, to get a sense of control over it, to be calculating with it, to discern what you’ve learned, what it means, and try to connect it to your other values, your friends, your religion, your hobbies, to life in general. By taking the time to reflect on the meaning of your job, rather than simply doing it and, in a way, letting habit do your job for you, you can develop a more intimate relationship with your job, and love it for what it is.

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When the Job Starts to Drag by
Authored by: Harrison Barnes