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Nine To Five

Posted on April 28th, 2011

When people ask me, “What do you do?” or “How was your day?”, my responses often deal with my occupation. “I am a product developer at Bloomberg” or “It was a pretty busy day at work.” Why do I answer like that? My life is not dominated by my career, nor is it defined by it. I don’t spend the majority of my life with it (and, indeed, it would be a sad day if that were to ever change). Yet, my conversation suggests that it is a central component of my day-to-day.

It’s true that I have spend many years training to be well-qualified for a good job. It’s also true that I am able to live the way I do because of what I do at work. But that’s all that it should be: a means to an end. What I do between the hours of nine (or so) and six or so (rarely five) just enables me to do what I want to do for all of the other hours in the day.

I am truly envious of those who have jobs that have a tremendous, positive influence on the world. Those who have such professions can be completely passionate about their jobs and can find greater meaning in them. Teachers, doctors, firefighters, artists, scientists, and the like can improve the quality of the human condition, and that’s something worth doing. Those of us who just push bits and bytes on a computer and make rich people more wealthy have less of a compelling story.

This, of course, is not to suggest that I am not happy with where I work or that I am ungrateful. But I should learn to put it in its place; what I do with my family, friends, colleagues, and in the community around me is more important. So, the next time you catch me babbling too much about work, feel free to stop me 🙂

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