By Fareeha Qay­oom


e spend most of our lives work­ing. There is no choice involved. Most adults have to work. The lucky ones get paid. The unlucky ones don’t. (For exam­ple, par­ent­ing is one of the hard­est jobs in the world — you never get paid even if you signed up vol­un­tar­ily. Major­ity of us have to do it no mat­ter what, 24/7, 365 days a year! There is no time off for good behav­ior. Fun­nily enough, there is no right way to do it. You are always wrong in ret­ro­spect and in your kids’ eyes!).

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There are appar­ently three kinds of jobs accord­ing to experts–

  • Jobs that involve your pas­sion – in other words, they are a vir­tual labor of love, you would do them even if you never got paid a dime (hob­bies come in this cat­e­gory);

  • Jobs that offer you a degree of auton­omy, vari­ety, learn­ing and a chal­lenge, not to men­tion sta­tus and money and a chance to move up and for­ward as your skills develop,  and

  • Mori­bund or Dead end jobs.

Unfor­tu­nately, most jobs are dead end jobs. There is no escape, there is no end and you don’t even get paid or appre­ci­ated. There is no career cor­po­rate lad­der to climb…for exam­ple, if you are a mom, you will always remain a mom. You don’t start from front­line mom to mid­dle man­ager mom to senior man­ager mom to sud­denly end up as CEO mom. You are thrown in at the deep end from day one and you remain there till you die. Also, Peter Prin­ci­ple applies. You are stuck at your cur­rent level of incom­pe­tence. Same goes for your other major roles in life – sib­ling, spouse, par­ent, rel­a­tive, friend, Co-worker, busi­ness asso­ciate, professional…this is all very sub­jec­tive and you can never win.

You can choose your spouse (in some coun­tries) and friends; how­ever, you can’t choose your par­ents or sib­lings or indeed your rel­a­tives. Mostly, you don’t even get to choose your career/job. It chooses you. In other words, there is no such thing as per­sonal free­dom (of choice). It’s a delu­sion.

So what can you do? You can choose your atti­tude. Happy peo­ple cope bet­ter with bor­ing, demean­ing or stul­ti­fy­ing jobs. They make even bor­ing jobs look inter­est­ing. They have fun. They learn. They develop their mind and their skills. They also find the near­est exit as soon as pos­si­ble. Unhappy peo­ple get stuck in a rut and switch off. They might go through the motions and turn in accept­able degree of work but the essen­tial spark is miss­ing. They never excel. They can never escape. They are stuck like a nee­dle in a groove. Not going back­wards, for­wards or side­ways.

In case you are won­der­ing why I felt com­pelled to hold forth on this subject…well, a col­league of mine was com­plain­ing the other day in an idle moment about the gen­eral nature of jobs avail­able, our mate­r­ial world and the fam­ily val­ues being cur­rently taught at pri­vate schools, not to men­tion, infla­tion and high school fees and the lifestyle that’s being demanded by the cur­rent crop of kids because of these so called posh pri­vate schools’ expectations…his con­clu­sion: life is tough – what makes it bear­able?- Hav­ing a sense of humor.

I couldn’t agree more. Our atti­tude makes all the dif­fer­ence. ■

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